• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain and analyse the causes of The Cold War

Extracts from this document...


Explain and Analyse the Causes of the Cold War. The major world powers named the international confrontation that took place between 1941 and 1991 as the Cold War. The Cold War was so named as there was no military conflict that caused an actual engagement. The United States having military victory at the end of the Second World War ensured that they would lead the European and other States. Giving them foremost position in a world context and leaving the Soviet Union with the remaining sphere of influence in the global power vacuum caused by the Second World War. The Cold War was different and unlike any other hostile international confrontation that had occurred before. It had no clear instigators or open physical hostilities and each party claimed the other was the real provoker and they clearly exclaimed that they were only defending their national security interests from the instigators hostile actions. Because of the disagreements between the parties of who started the war it led to several schools of thought and explanations. There was no clear agreement on the causes of the Cold War in the early days of the historical analysis of the confrontation. Analysis fell into a number of defined groups these are their views are: The Orthodox Historians believe the conflict originated from the Soviet Union and was caused by Russian expansionism; this also coincides with Marxist/Leninist ideology, which encourages the world victory of Socialism over Capitalism. A lot of the evidence to support this view comes from the influence of George. ...read more.


This then left a huge power void in Europe and was quickly filled by the U.S who had been able to grow during the war, with it's economy being able to thrive under conflict compared to the devastation in Europe. Because of the United States' new found prosperity and growth in military power the American leaders were now eager to take centre stage in the World affairs, taking with them the mistakes they'd made and lessons they'd learnt during the Second World War. During World War Two the U.S had been very cautious regarding foreign policy and had not taken part in the League of Nations and hid behind the Monroe doctrine to avoid being involved with the tensions in Europe. The U.S wanted to prevent another wide set conflict and so set about distributing their hegemonic status so it could safeguard it's own national security and help maintain the peace in Europe. Directly after the Second World War the U.S initiated most of the International activity. They saw the unstableness of the balance of power in Europe and also open access to natural resources such as the oil in Persia and other mid-eastern states as paramount to it's national security and to help maintain global peace. The U.S were well aware of the vulnerability of prosperity and stability caused by the depression in World War Two so they approached foreign policy with the view that national security was vital. ...read more.


The intra-state theorists seem to hold a different view in that they believed that the domestic policies of each of the States determines their foreign policy and when there are changes to it, they relate to the movements in internal power relations, economic weakness and alterations in social composition. Finally the class conflict theory, based on Marxist ideology sees class conflict being the main the main instigator of change between the classes and the tensions between the communists and capitalists being expressed between the super powers. This view is similar to the north-south and west-west theorists again showing the main conflicts arising between the rich and the poor. Economics also seems to have been causal to the Cold War with conflicts arising between the rich and the poor States with the rich having all the power because of their economic strength. This again played a part in the capitalist and communist argument between the U.S and Soviets with the U.S want the rich elite to rule where as the Soviets wanted rule by the people for the people. Overall, none of the theories are adequately able to explain the emergence and escalations of the Cold War. However, by combining a lot of the theories together they tend to offer a more adequate explanation as each theory has only looked at a few factors rather than all of them. Evidence has shown that there were many factors that could have helped the development of problems with each fearing the worst from the other and so increasing their own securities that may not have been necessary if they had, had good communications between them. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Superpower Relations 1945-90

    * However, it did not end the arms race o Soviet military leaders were determined to catch up with the US. o The USSR increased their production of long-range missiles. * The Soviet Union were also determined not to suffer such humiliation as Cuba again.

  2. Who was responsible for the start of the Cold war?

    Although heavily biased, perhaps exaggerated in places Kennan's summary of 1940's Russia does highlight some valid points. Under Stalin the Russian people had undergone some of the most horrific abuses of human rights. Stalin's five year plans and his policy of collectivisation provide just two examples of the dictatorial like

  1. What were the Main Causes of the Cold War? and Which of these Causes ...

    President Woodrow Wilson, and the United States, offered an alternative to communism. Wilson had initially kept the United States neutral in the Great War but in 1917 he proclaimed, that the "world must be kept safe for democracy." Wilson set his fourteen points out which secured open markets, individual democracy, self-determination, individual freedom and national wealth.

  2. The Cold War was a big rivalry that developed after World War II.

    Western countries wanted the liberated states of Eastern Europe to be ruled with a democratic government and a capitalist economy. Joseph Stalin felt entitled to rule the Eastern European countries it occupied in World War II. Stalin wanted these countries to be used as a buffer to protect USSR boarders.

  1. What were the causes of the disintegration of the Soviet Union as a socialist ...

    and the capitalist west in terms of living standards and economic growth. Gorbachev espoused three general ideas in order to achieve this: perestroika, glasnost and uskorenie.20 The latter of these, meaning acceleration was introduced in 1985, but then gradually abandoned over the next 3 years, as it became increasingly unsuccessful.

  2. This graduation paper is about U.S. - Soviet relations in Cold War period. Our ...

    American attitudes toward the seemed encapsulated in the comments of one minister who called for the removal of communists in "ships of stone with sails of lead, with the wrath of God for a breeze and with hell for their first port."

  1. When and Why Did the Cold War Start? Was any Individual or Power the ...

    is holding to a course of the defeat of the USSR in order then to make an agreement with Germany...at our country's expense'. . [Leffler, M. 'Origins of the Cold War 2nd ed' 2005] In Churchill's defense it was noted in Lord Alanbrooke's diaries that the Second Front should have

  2. Superpower Relations and the Thaw in the Cold War

    between Israel and the Arab states threatened to draw the Superpowers into conflict as they both sought to exert their influence over the region. * Indochina * French control was broken by the bloody defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work