History Essay. Expansionism

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How far do you agree with the view that the development of the Cold War in the years 1945-48 owed more to soviet expansionism than to the USA’s economic interests?

Many historians argue that the development of the cold war in the years 1945-48 owed more to soviet expansionism than to the USA’s economic interests. Source 7 supports this view to an extent as it argues that the USSR ‘tightened its grip over the countries of central and eastern Europe’ and how the ‘western attitudes had hardened’ due to this. However source 8 disagrees with source 7 completely as it suggests that there were ‘important economic advantages for the USA in starting a cold war’. Source 9 rejects the view of both sources as it acknowledges the need for Stalin’s need for security and that there was a ‘wedge’ driven into ‘soviet security’. The orthodox school of historians would argue that the cold war developed due to soviet expansionism and this was clear in Stalin’s foreign policy. This was evident in the events that took place after 1945. One of the events that would side with this view would be the defeat of Germany in 1945 which gave Stalin the opportunity to spread communism through the use of Red Army. Source 7 would support this as it states ‘much of central and eastern Europe was within the soviet sphere of influence’. This was true because the Red Army controlled large areas of Eastern Europe and were in control of spreading communism. The view that Soviet policy was expansionist and aggressive was supported by George Kennan in the ‘Long Telegram’. China turning communist in 1949 was seen as a huge step towards expansionism, however the evidence that would suggest this isn’t true was the Greek Civil War, and Stalin did have a chance to take over Greece but never did. Source 8 disagrees with the view that the development of the cold war in the years 1945-48 was more due to expansion. It argues that there were ‘economic advantages’ for the USA in starting the war. The...
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