Essay Topic #2 - Using documents 1.1-1.6 and your wider knowledge, evaluate the assumptions underlying Soviet and US polices at the end of the Second World War.
Ali vs. Frazier – Communism vs. Democracy
The phrase “when one door closes, another door opens” applies to most cases throughout the history of our existence. World War II was no exception. With a world free of Nazi stronghold and the “Axis of Evil”, a lot of changes were being made. Before World War II there were six great powers: Great Britain, France, Germany, the Soviet Union, Japan, and the United States. By the end of the war, the United States stood alone. The end of World War II virtually left two of these superpowers, who helped end Hitler’s realm, at a crossroads. The rivalry between the Soviet Union the United States and for control over the post World War II world emerged before World War II had even ended. The two United States presidents who served their tenure during the war (Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S Truman) and disgruntled Soviet leader Joseph Stalin never actually trusted one another. Even through teaming up to bring down Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler, this mutual mistrust actually began as far back as 1917. In 1917, the United States was never on good terms with the Bolshevik government that formed after the Russian Revolution. Stalin also resented the relationship the United States had with Great Britain throughout the war. The United States and Great Britain did not share nuclear weapons research with the Soviet Union during the war in fear that a nuclear epidemic may one-day rise because of the mass abundance of nuclear warheads. Stalin was also very annoyed and seemingly somewhat jealous of Truman’s offering of postwar relief funds to Great Britain and not extending any help to the USSR. There were many other factors that contributed to the conflicts between the United States and Soviet Union policies but they can all be summed up by one word: Power.
United States foreign policy was given a very formidable window of opportunity post World War II. After playing a major role in the defeat of the Nazi Germany super power, post-war ramifications were essentially dictated by the United States. With the backing of Stalin and the Soviet Union, the United Nations was also formed to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. The United Nations aimed to facilitate cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace . Although together on the United Nations front, policy actions taken by the United States differed greatly from those of the Soviet Union. While under the microscope of the entire world, President Harry S. Truman saw this as an opportunity to spread democracy. United States foreign policy sought to promote a world rich full of capitalism and free of communism. Truman worked endlessly to clean up the huge mess left behind after World War II by establishing a number of international organizations that would promote democratic order and keep peace between nations. After the United Nations, he helped create the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) while also funding the rebuilding of a broken down and debt ridden Japan under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. After prosecuting Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials, Truman in 1947 also outlined the Marshall Plan, which set aside more than $10 billion for the rebuilding and reindustrialization of Germany. The Marshall plan was a direct result of the Soviets unwillingness to comply with international order in maintaining democracy, and it is one of the pinnacle moments that set the stage for the beginnings of the Cold War.
Soviet foreign policy differed greatly from the United States post World War II. The Soviet Union, under the rule of Stalin, had always been a communistic society. There were two main fundamentals that...
Cited: E.W. Pawley to the secretary of state, 27 July 1945, FRUS, 1945, vol. II, ‘the conference of Berlin’, Washington DC, 1960, pp 812 – 89
War Reparations < http://history.howstuffworks.com/world-war-ii/war-reparations2.htm >
Problems of Post-war construction in Soviet foreign policy during World War 2’ in F. Gori and A. Pons (eds.), The Soviet Union and Europe in the Cold War, 1943-53, London, 1996, pp 8-11
[ 3 ]. Working paper of the US delegation at the Potsdam conference and E.W. Pawley to the secretary of state, 27 July 1945, FRUS, 1945, vol. II, ‘the conference of Berlin’, Washington DC, 1960, pp 812 - 89
[ 4 ]
[ 5 ]. Extracts from J.L. Gaddis and T.H. Etzold (eds.), Containment: documents on American policy and strategy, 1945 – 1950, New York, 1978, pp. 61-63
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