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How far do you agree that the developmemt of the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union was primarly due to traditional great power rivalries?

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Introduction

´╗┐How far do you agree that the developmemt of the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union was primarly due to traditional great power rivalries? Great power rivalry can be defined as two nations with ?overwhelming power? (McMahon) competing to exert their influence on the wider international scene. Following the Second World War, the traditional great power rivalry was between the USA and the Soviet Union. Ideological differences over conflicting political, economic and social systems introduced a particular potency to the conflict as ?each side? saw their countries acting for much broader purposes than the mere advancement of national interests?. Whilst other factors such as the role of personality and domestic pressures on the superpowers can be seen to have a role in the development of the Cold War. Nevertheless, overall the development of the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union in the years 1945-53 was primarily due to traditional great power rivalries. In seeking to exert their influence in the post-war power vacuum left by the defeat of Nazi Germany, the superpowers inevitably came into conflict with one another regardless of opposing ideology, and therefore traditional great power rivalries can be seen as the primary cause for the development of the Cold War. ...read more.

Middle

These events clearly show the respective superpowers manoeuvring for power in the unstable post-war climate, and therefore traditional great power rivalries can be seen as the primary factor in developing the Cold War. The role of ideology was to increase the potency of the great power rivalries between Communist Russia and Capitalist America. McMahon argues ?Ideology imparted? a strong faith in the world-historical roles of their respective nations?, the United States ?viewed the establishment of a freer and more open international economic system as indispensable to the post-war order? seen with the Marshall Plan in 1948; although, it may be argued the plan also had a purely economic element as Communism threated the US?s economic access to the lucrative European market. Whilst the USSR ?assumed conflict between the socialist and capitalist world to be inevitable? and set up Comminform in 1947 to coordinate Communist movements worldwide to entice a worldwide Communist revolution, whilst Commecon in 1948 in response to Marshall Aid. However, the primary aim of Stalin?s Russia was ensuring the security of the regime rather than spreading Communism worldwide. The Berlin Blockade of 1948-49 can be seen as ideologically motivated: Stalin attempted to prise the prosperous West Berlin, which due to the economical depravity of East Berlin was highly embarrassing for Communism, from the Western sphere of influence. ...read more.

Conclusion

In addition, internal pressure within the superpowers can be seen to have contributed to the Cold War. Following the end of the Second World War both nations? economies were dominated by the military industrial sector. These groups had a vested interest to see arms orders continue, and the Cold War provided the opportunity to exaggerate the threat posed by their respective ?enemy? to see these lucrative orders continue. Nevertheless, despite the effect internal pressure had on the development of the Cold War, the argument that traditional great power rivalry was the primary cause for the development of the Cold War remains more persuasive. In conclusion, the development of the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union was primarily due to traditional great power rivalries. Hobsbawn and McMahon provide evidence to support this argument, despite the latter emphasising the role of ideology. Own knowledge and Hobsbawn?s insights into Kennan?s long telegram demonstrate the role of ideology was to introduce a ?more dangerous? (Hobsbawn) aspect to the Cold War. Personalities also played a role in the development of the Cold War as Gaddis argues, whilst internal pressure placed political pressure on the Superpowers to develop the Cold War. Nevertheless, traditional great power rivalries were the primary cause for the development of the Cold War. ...read more.

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