Superpowers In The Initiation Of The Cold War

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					Superpowers In The Initiation Of The Cold War

The Cold War was a global conflict between the Capitalist East and the
Communist West predominantly the United States and the Soviet Union. The
threat of war came from tensions between the two superpower nations and
their allies. Both the United States and the Soviet Union played very
distinctive roles in the initiation of this war. Factors such as
America’s fear of communism attack, the enmity and lack of understanding
between capitalist East and Communism West and the Soviet Aggression
contributed to the initiation of the Cold War. The blame for the Cold War
cannot be placed on one nation - it developed as a series of chain
reactions and a struggle for supremacy. Thus, both of the superpowers
caused the conflict, known as the Cold War, though the extent to which
they played that role is arguable because of the differing roles each
superpower played in its initiation.
America’s fear of communism attack had an enormous effect in laying the
foundation of the Cold War. It regarded its outbreak as a result of their
hostility and diplomatic incompetence. The policy of “Containment” 1947-
also called the “Truman Doctrine”- ensured that Soviet expansion of
communism was limited and prevented. American leaders wanted to halt the
spread of communism by giving economic aid to nations that were
threatened by the Soviets or other dictatorial governments. Historian
George F Kennan supported this policy as he suggested a “long-term,
patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies
in the hope that the government would mellow or collapse”. Americans
tried to prevent the spread of communism by fighting it even to the
extent of the Vietnam War. However, despite the development of this
policy, Russia failed to comply. It developed the “Iron Curtain”, as
Winston Churchill called it, making sure that the territory came under
the control of people friendly to the Soviets. This thus led to Soviets
control of a greater extent of Eastern Europe. This reflects that
suspicion and greater tensions led to mutual distrust. Therefore, America
played a great role in the initiation of the cold war as their fear of
communism attack advocated their distrust to the Soviets.
The lack of understanding and mistrust between capitalist East and
communism West contributed immensely to the initiation of the Cold War.
Both the US and the USSR advocated to the Cold War due to their differing
ideologies. Open resentment and deliberate distrust were factors in which
aided in further separation. This is shown as the U.S. instituted high
altitude investigation flights over the Soviet Union using spy planes.
They believed that the USSR was in mischief in their build-up of nuclear
weapons. However, it was not mistrust alone but also just heavy
differences in ideologies and opinions that led to the Cold War. For
example, at the end of World War II- in 1948- the USSR controlled the
Eastern portion of Berlin; it stopped the westerners- USA- reaching
Berlin to provide it with supplies. The more the mistrust grew, the more
each side pointed out the difference of opinion. This is evident as the
lack of mutual understanding between US and USSR led the world down a
very dangerous path –Korea, Berlin, Cuba, Vietnam Wars. It also led to
the development of weapons of overwhelming destructive capability. Both
the US and the USSR were both just as guilty for the initiation of the
Cold War as the mistrust between them allowed them to comply with deeds
that were deceitful. This reflects that both superpowers had a major role
in the Cold War. It can be argued that the Cold War was thus inevitable,
and therefore not one specific nation was entirely at fault, due to the
differences in the capitalist and communist ideologies.
The Soviet aggression played a notable role to a certain extent in the
beginnings of the Cold War. The Yalta Conference held in 1945 was a
conference about how the defeated European countries would be governed
after the war. The Soviet aggression became evident in this conference as
they had a different view on the future of Poland. Stalin wanted Poland
to be under Soviet control and prohibit democracy in it. However, this
power caused great bitterness in the USA as they feared that if the USSR
established a communist government in Poland, this would give the USSR
permanent control over the Polish institution. Historian George Kennan
corroborates this concept as he deduces that the Cold War was a conflict
between two superpowers, caused by the Soviet aggression in the Yalta
Conference. It is argued that the breakdown of relations was a direct
result of Stalin’s interpretation of the agreements of the Yalta
Conference. W. Averell Harriman, the American ambassador supported this
saying: “We began to realise that Stalin’s language was somewhat
different from ours”. Stalin’s idea of democracy was a communist one, in
which the communist party represented the people and no opposition was
allowed. Therefore it can be deduced that the Soviets were to blame for
the Cold War as they were obsessed with their security rather than the
need for “democracy” in Poland. This event thus led to the deterioration
of the relations between the Soviet Union and USA.
Stalin’s influence and suspicions had a vast effect on the initiation of
the Cold War. The need for total control and protection against future
threats had its influence on the war’s commencement. This is evidently
shown through the use of network of spies and informers, not only against
the West, but also to hunt down the oppositions at home. An example of
this was the formation of the MVD later called the KGB (Komitet
Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti or Committee for State Security) which
controlled and co-ordinated activities such as catching enemy spies and
dealing with any internal political or social dissent. Evidently,
Stalin’s burden by the possibility of a strong West German state was the
reason behind crippling Germany. Stalin believed that all communist
governments should do as he commanded. Although Yugoslavia was a
communist country, it was not under direct influence of the USSR. When
Marshall Tito the Yugoslavian leader refused to do as Stalin ordered, all
diplomatic relations were broken off with Yugoslavia. Stalin was a
significant factor in the Cold War as his influences led to the
destruction of the Soviet Union’s relations and greater hatred towards
them. The USSR played a major role as their- especially Stalin’s- actions
unarguably started a string of chain-reactions within and against the US.
Therefore, a good deal of the blame of the Cold War must be placed on the
USSR and Stalin.
The Soviet Union’s plan for world domination was a contributing factor to
the initiation of the Cold War. Stalin planned for a communist take-over
the world. The domination of Europe was the first step to world control.
The Soviet’s played a major role as their aim was to block America’s
involvement in Eastern Europe in order to fulfil its plan for world
domination. This sequentially intensified the relations between the USSR
and USA as the USA wanted to control its area of influence and the USSR
wanted to stop the spread of American capitalist and business. The
British commentator Paul Johnson supported this as he wrote: “In effect
Stalin had polarized the earth… It was he who had built the Iron Curtain…
(he) hated “Westerners” in the same way Hitler hated the Jews.” The
Berlin Blockade 1948 was one of the consequences of the Soviet Union’s
plan in which they failed to succeed in. Stalin’s plan was to try to
starve the people of West Berlin hoping that the Western powers would do
nothing and leave him in control. This event was an example of the USSR’s
plan of world domination as it tried to block/stop American’s involvement
in Western Europe. This reflects that despite their failures, the Soviet
Union contributed greatly to the Cold War as their plan for world
domination was overpowering.
The Soviets belief of threat and insecurity from the US and the Western
world played a crucial part in encouraging a hostile attitude leading to
the Cold War. The USSR leaders were determined to destroy the Western
world in order to remove the “threat”. This is evident as the Soviets
“backfired” to the commencement of the Marshall Plan 1947 and the Cold
War. This can be supported as the USSR set up a Cominform (The Communist
Information Bureau) in September 1947, to strengthen the links between
communist parties in different countries to make sure they obey the
Soviet rule and attack the Marshall plan. Soviet leader A.A. Zhadanov
corroborates this saying: “...The Soviet Union will make every effort to
ensure that the Marshall Plan is doomed to failure...” However, the
Marshall plan remained more powerful than the Cominform and the Comecon
(The Council for Mutual Economic Aid) which was later established in
1949. Therefore it can be deduced that the Soviets played a greater role
in the initiation of the Cold War as their defensive actions and their
feel of “threat” led to the conflict.
Stalin’s foreign policy of Soviet expansion contributed enormously to the
tensions of the Cold War. It was known to be a catalyst in the war.
Stalin’s aims were to take advantage of the military situation in post-
war Europe, to spread world revolution and to ensure the survival of new
communist states against hostile neighbours. This in turn was to
strengthen the USSR influence. Although, the Soviet foreign policy was
established in 1917, it became provocative and expansionist in nature
after 1945. However, this policy and the USSR influence were perceived as
a threat to the Americans and the westerners as Soviet expansion meant a
method of smashing democracy and the spread of revolutionary ideas in the
Western World. This is evidently shown as the US was threatened when
Stalin became quite effective in his goal to gain territory. His
communism regime between 1945 and 1948 became successful with victories
in Poland, Romania and Finland. They felt the need to respond to try and
stop the USSR influence. This in turn led to the initiation of the Cold
War as the West refused to believe that the Soviet Union abandoned the
aim of world revolutions and believed it to be the cause of Stalin’s
The response of both US and USSR to the arms race played a major role in
the beginning of the Cold War. It was a competition between the two
superpowers to accumulate the most powerful and advanced nuclear weapons.
It was a physical demonstration of how the Cold War had begun and
escalated. The USSR was annoyed about not knowing about the creation of
America’s atomic bomb in 1945. The feel of insecurity from the USSR led
to the production of an atomic bomb that was later produced in 1949. The
blame of the Cold War in this case is directed to both the US and the
USSR as once they both gained the creation of an atomic bomb, both sides
began to stockpile arms. Due to the support of weapons, the US and USSR
were competing with each other creating greater hatred between them. Both
of the superpowers caused the Cold War as they both wanted to deter each
other and gain greater power.
Although both USA and the USSR contributed immensely to the slow
evolvement of the Cold War, each played distinctive roles in its
initiation. The USSR is more responsible of the two superpowers. Through
aspects such as America’s fear of communism attack, the enmity and lack
of understanding between capitalist East and Communism West, the feel of
threat from the Soviets and the Soviet Aggression, it is deduced that
there are conflicting explanations for the start of the Cold War but it
can be seen clearly to be instigated by the USSR. During the years 1945
to 1991, both of the superpowers- Soviet Unions and the Americans-
tightened their grip over the countries having extremely different
beliefs for the world. In the end, the use of force failed but the
hostility remained between the two superpowers creating the longest
global conflict between the capitalist east and communist west in the
20th century.

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