Who Is to Blame for the Cold War
The Cold War starting in 1945 was an escalation between two super powers that were threatened by each other and determined to prove their power. It was political conflict, hostile tensions and a series of miscommunications between the Communist World, the USSR and the capitalists, the United States that made the Cold War a reality. Although the Cold War was caused due to certain circumstances and miscommunications between the powers, the United States is largely to blame for the Cold War.
The Cold War was an inevitable situation due to the egos of the two nations and ultimately it was the world and its people that suffered the most.
The United States was a capitalist democracy and USSR was a communist dictatorship. Both sides strongly believed in a certain way of life and felt that they held the key to the future happiness of the human race. These ideologies were totally opposite to each other, which allowed suspicion and mistrust between the two sides to develop. A capitalist economy in which the USA stood by is based on the freedom of individuals and ability to express their opinions. Their own profits belong to the owner and the government is elected by the people. Communism was the ideology that Russia lived by and tried to enforce on the surrounding world. It was a system by which the government controls the future of the individuals as well as the work, the money earned is shared equally amongst society, so there are no social classes. As these ideologies are very different in contrast to each other, tension was unavoidable. It was the United States that took dramatic chances and announced the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan in 1947. The Truman Doctrine stated that the United States would help Europe and the rest of the world in an attempt to stop the spread of communism. As Greece struggled to bear the expense of their own civil war against communism, President Truman of the United States of America agreed to provide four hundred million dollars in aid. He did this in order to avoid the ‘domino theory’. This was the belief that if one country fell to communism those nearby would be at risk. The United States also declared the Marshall Plan. This program was a strategic initiative to build strong relationships with other allies but at the same time build the United State’s economic situation and it was also used as another form of expansionism. A series of clashes and misunderstandings meant that the ideological differences broadened more and more into open hostility and rivalry.
Although through the world’s eyes the relationship between the USSR and the USA was strong and secure, well before the Cold War the relationship had become hostile. Tension between the super powers began after the communist revolution in Russia. American’s saw themselves as the leaders of the democratic free world, they found it hard to communicate ideas with a dictator such as Stalin, who represented everything the United States opposed. At the same time, the Soviet Union, who believed that capitalism exploited the masses, saw the U.S as the oppressor. Following World War II, both powers were determined to earn superiority over the world. The two nations both used different forms of imperialism in an attempt to expand their dominance over the world. It was obvious that the alliance that had formed between the Soviet Union and the U.S during World War II was never going to be strong enough to over come past decades of uncertainty and unease between the two nations. Stalin had carried his attitude and bitterness about the number of Russian civilian deaths throughout World War II with him to the conferences in Yalta and Potsdam. In the Yalta conference held in February 1945, the allies agreed to divide Germany into four zones, which Britain, France, USSR and the USA would occupy. As Roosevelt was still the president of the USA, the negotiations went very much in Stalin’s favor. This was largely because Roosevelt was desperate to get Russia’s help in the Pacific and Stalin eventually agreed to go to war with Japan. For Stalin, this conference was very successful and brought Russia and the communist world a step further in their quest for more dominance in the world. The Potsdam conference was held four months later in July but did not go as successfully. This was due to several situations leading up to the conference. The relationships between the allies had worsened and the United States had a new egotistic president, Harry S Truman who was very determined to display the U.S’ power to the world, especially the USSR. After the conference was deemed unsuccessful, the allies went in different directions, more persistent than ever. With neither the USSR or the USA willing to compromise on their conflicting ideologies and postwar plans, tension and misunderstandings between the super powers was inevitable.
After Truman had gained the knowledge from Stalin about the dates in which Russia intended to invade Japan, he made the decision that the United States of America would drop the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on 6th of August 1945. This action was intended to conclude World War II, but in fact it largely contributed to the start of the Cold War. It is evident to the world that this act of violence committed by the U.S was primarily a desperate plea to show their power to the USSR and superiority towards all threats. It wasn’t necessary for the bomb to be detonated as Japan had already requested for a peace offering but were rejected by the United States because it wasn’t an unconditional surrender. Not only did the U.S drop the bomb on Hiroshima, they also decided to release a second atomic bomb on another innocent Japanese city, Nagasaki. These decisions made by the US place the blame largely on them for causing the Cold War. The bombs created more tension between the powers as Stalin was furious about the situation. He felt he was betrayed by Truman for not telling him about the development of the nuclear weapons and that the attacks on Japan were actually directed at Russia, “They are killing the Japanese and intimidating us”. Not only did Stalin’s attitude change but Truman also developed a more confrontational and aggressive attitude. The attack on Japan may have also been direct revenge at the Japanese for the events that took place at Pearl Harbor. It was a perfect situation for Truman and his country, as he was able to demonstrate the United States’ power to the world, especially Russia and at the same time gain revenge on Japan. These two events were crucial to the beginning of the Cold War and the responsibility the U.S played in its initiation. The United States’ pure determination to prove a point to the USSR started a war that was preventable and a whole new world of nuclear bombs.
The Cold War was a result of rising tensions throughout decades, and an outcome of two superpowers that obtained absolute determination and dedication to be the most powerful nation in the world. The egos of the two nations, especially the United States to prove their superiority over all other nations, got in the way of what should have been the real priorities of the world; rebuilding Europe after the trauma of World War II. Not only did the Cold War impact on the lives of millions during the period, it still has effects on society today. Although miscommunication and different circumstances are partly responsible for the Cold War, the real blame should be predominately placed on the United States. President Truman’s unnecessary and selfish actions that were preventable, started a whole new world of something bigger than ourselves and filled fear in the lives of all humans forever.