Cold War

Topics: Cold War, Soviet Union, World War II Pages: 11 (4276 words) Published: May 5, 2013
Cold War
In history, there is a disagreement among historians regarding to when the Cold War began. While most historians dated its origins to the period immediately following World War II, others dispute that it began towards the end of World War I, when tensions between the Russian Empire, the United States and other European countries had already demonstrated the mutual distrust and suspicion between the Western powers and the Soviet Union as a result of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. With these facts in mind, it is rather more agreeable now not to ask “When” the Cold War began, but instead focus on the reasons why, who, and what had cause the Cold War. Two Forces at its Peak: Political Divisions

Prior to the Cold War, the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union had already been aggressive. Although the United States embarked on a famine relief program in the Soviet Union in the early 1920s and American businessmen established commercial ties there during the period of the New Economic Policy (1921-29), the two countries did not establish diplomatic relations until 1933. The USSR and the USA were separated by a huge ideological gap.  So the only thing that held the allies together was the need to destroy Hitler’s Nazis.   Given their underlying differences – when Hitler was finally defeated in 1945 – a Cold War was perhaps unavoidable.   The USA was a capitalist democracy; the USSR was a communist dictatorship.   Both sides believed that they held the key to the future happiness of the human race.   Neither was conflict new to the two sides.   Stalin could not forgive Britain and America for helping the Whites against the Bolsheviks in the Civil Wars (1918-1921), and he believed that they had delayed D-Day in the hope that the Nazis would destroy Russia.   In the meantime, Britain and America blamed the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 for starting the Second World War.   Also, the two sides’ aims for Germany were different – Stalin wanted Germany to be ruined by reparations, and he wanted a buffer of friendly states round Russia to prevent a repeat of the Nazi invasion of 1941.   Britain and America wanted a democratic and capitalist Germany as a world trading partner, strong enough to stop the spread of Communism westwards. [1] By that time, the tyrannical, totalitarian nature of Joseph Stalin's regime presented an overwhelming obstacle to friendly relations with the West. The United States prides itself on its heritage of freedom, a refuge for persecuted religious groups, and as a land of liberty. Its guiding principles were the protection of the individual’s life and pursuit of happiness and the establishment of a constitution that embodied the best political idea of modern times, a system of checks and balances so that the president, Congress or parliament and judiciary or Supreme Court shared power, checking each other’s work to guard against dictatorship. From then the Americans have perceived themselves as the leader of the free world and villainous characters such as Stalin embodied all the United States is against off. In the other end, the Soviet government was brutal, outlawing all opposition, banned political parties opposed to the Communist Party, murdered millions and set up a vast prison camp system. In the years 1937-38 alone, Stalin ordered the execution of one million citizens of the Soviet Union. Still the Soviets saw the United States as the oppressor. Despite deep-rooted mistrust, hostility and not wanting to coexist under in one government dominion, in the 1940s, an alliance was forged among them to fight a common enemy, the Nazi Germany. The Nazis had invaded Russia. Eventually the alliance defeated Germany. However, the Soviet Union was not completely satisfied with how its Western Allies had conducted its approach. For instance, the Soviets complained that the Allies took so long to establish an offensive front on Germany’s west flank, leaving them to single-handedly face the...

References: 1. McCauley, Martin (2004). Russia, America and the Cold War. Pearson Education Limited.
2. John Gimbel, "On the Implementation of the Potsdam Agreement: An Essay on U.S. Postwar German Policy" Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 87, No. 2. (Jun., 1972), pp. 242-269.
3. Gaddis, John Lewis (1972), The United States and the Origins of the Cold War 1941–1947, Columbia University Press,
4. Klaus Larres and Elizabeth Meehan, 1945, Uneasy Allies,British-German Relations and European Integration Since
5. Roberts, Geoffrey (2006), Stalin 's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939–1953, Yale University Press
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