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Topics: Cold War, World War II, Soviet Union / Pages: 66 (16296 words) / Published: May 12th, 2013
The Cold War and the Nuclear Age
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Winning the peace can be more difficult than winning the war, as both the United States and the Soviet Union learned in the decade following V-E Day (Victory- Europe). “We may not get 100 percent of what we want in the postwar world, but I think we can get 85 percent,” President Harry Truman optimistically told his advisers. Yet the United States was not the only victor, and more importantly not the only superpower, to arise from the ashes. The Soviet Union had lost more than 20 million of its people, compared with American losses of less than half a million. The Soviet resolve to maintain a security zone in eastern Europe after the war clashed with American expectations, as well as with the wishes of most eastern Europeans. Some historians contend that the Cold War began with the initial American decision to keep the atomic bomb a secret from its Soviet ally, stirring Stalin’s suspicions. Others cite the influence of people like diplomat George Kennan, who saw no end to Soviet ambition and gave advice that helped to crystallize the policy called containment. Still other historians cite the actions of the Russian army, which made the Soviet Union thoroughly unpopular in the zones where the USSR hoped to maintain a sphere of influence. Whatever its causes, discord between the two most powerful members of the former Grand Alliance created a Cold War that lasted more than forty years. With the Truman Doctrine of 1947, the United States adopted the role of “global policeman.” With the Marshall Plan of 1948, the United States adopted the role of economic caretaker of Europe. Both actions originated as attempts to stop the perceived communist threat to world peace and stability. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, the Truman administration approved a policy drafted by the National Security Council (NSC), NSC-68. This policy drastically expanded American defense expenditures, placed the nation on

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