Was the Cold War Inevitable?

Topics: World War II, Soviet Union, United Nations Pages: 3 (1059 words) Published: April 4, 2012
1. The “Nature” of the Soviet Union (Gaddis)
>> Ideology: Marxism-Leninism view of history that capitalism is shot through with contradictions and will, eventually, fall. That capitalist nations, in competition with each other, will go to war with each other—that’s what they had done in WWI, that’s what they did in WWII. That the working class would become conscious of its exploitation, and rise up in revolution that would overthrow capitalism. It was more or less inevitable; it was also just. - Gave Soviet leaders faith in their country and their mission - Soviet leaders sought to encourage the development of this inevitability—theirs was an essentially expansionist world-view. >> Stalin, the personality. He was a megalomaniac and paranoid, set both on spreading communism and defending the motherland and himself from enemies, both within the USSR and without. 2. The “Nature” of the United States

>> Positive (Gaddis)
- American habits of democracy, compromise, and consensus-building led it to pursue a course that depended not on forcing allies, but putting power in their hands—letting the English, the French, the West Germans do their thing - Freedom, especially free market, which the US was willing to allow operate as it would - The U.S. had no choice but to confront Soviet aggression against these values and against America’s willing allies. >> Negative, cynical (William Appleman Williams, Walter LaFeber) - Continuation of America’s Open Door policy that it had started in the late 19th century—keeping European markets open - Long history of anti-communism (remember: Wilson sent troops out to Russia to try to reverse the Bolshevik revolution in 1918; Red Scare of 1919; US did not recognize USSR until 1933) - Search for leverage for particular type of post-war international order that would favor American interests 3. Realpolitik: US and USSR just doing what powerful countries do >> WWII had taken five major powers out of the game: UK, France,...
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