Was the Cold War Inevitable

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Was the Cold War Inevitable?
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ARTS1271 ESSAY
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16th September, 2011
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The orthodox view of the Cold War elucidates its inevitability due to the great ideological differences that existed between the Soviet Union and United States. On the other hand, the revisionists argued that it happened due to the actions that Soviets took and the consequential responses made by the United States as a result of their inflexible, single-sided interpretations of Soviet action. Yet, even with the backdrop of the early Bolshevik conflict in 1918 as well as the great ideological gulf between the Soviet Union and United states, the cold war could have been avoided in its initial stages under President Roosevelt. However, what really determined it was the series of events that occurred after Roosevelt was succeeded by Truman. The inevitability of the Cold War, at its roots, was due to Soviet aggression and attitudes felt by the United States which was exacerbated from the post war climate of the time. To be precise, it was a combination of the subsequent events that followed Truman’s accession that sealed the unavoidability of the Cold War. American diplomatic policies were dictated by their fears of communism as well as opportunities that arise from modern warfare which aided in the evolution of American foreign policies. In the end, the Cold War was inevitable as a result of the conflict of interest between nations, whether it be the ideological gulf between communism and capitalism or the determining the political future of Eastern Europe, which was ultimately fuelled by the unstable post World War II environment. Even though there were conflicts that had existed as early as 1918 in Western intervention of the Bolshevik regime as well as ideological differences between the two nations, Roosevelt managed to maintain a sound relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the early stages, the “cold war was neither accidental nor inevitable”, it took place because of the attitudes felt and position that the super powers decided to take. It resulted from American policies that were fuelled by their fears of communism and the need for global American intervention. If there had been a single point in time that allowed the avoidance of the Cold War, it was the period where President Roosevelt established and sought to maintain the sound relationship between the United States and Soviet Union. Yalta conference was proof of this as Roosevelt adopted and stood firm on a conciliatory policy. He accepted reality of Soviet power and acknowledged the “legitimacy of her post war involvement in Eastern Europe and Germany”.He believed that Soviet Union and United States could cooperate in building post war peace. However, Roosevelt’s death on April 12th, 1945, significantly changed the course of American diplomacy. In terms of avoiding the Cold War, Roosevelt had been the only strong standpoint which had kept the United States as well as Britain from a rapid undertaking of measures against beliefs of Soviet’s aggressive intentions. Consequently, Truman’s accession to presidency greatly changed the diplomatic setting as he was a rigid anti-Soviet who had no involvement in Roosevelt’s policymaking. As a result, he was more responsive to advisors whose recommendations had been ignored by Roosevelt in Yalta2. As a president new to his position, a sudden undertaking of responsibilities along with pressures from Britain made him easier to influence by his advisors. However, Truman had no commitment to uphold the previous policies made by Roosevelt at Yalta. His intensive policy re-examination in Washington displayed this, evident in the Truman administration’s policy toward the Yalta Far Eastern agreements. Without Roosevelt, United States...
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