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

The Causes of the Cold War.

Extracts from this document...


THE CAUSES OF THE COLD WAR The Cold War is the name given to the period from 1945 to 1991 when a high level of distrust existed between two superpowers, the USA and the USSR (otherwise called the Soviet Union). The cold war dominated world events because each of the two superpowers tried to influence the world in ways that suited its own interests. These interests were based on very different ideas about the organisation of society, which led to each side fearing the other. The Cold War led to a series of conflicts in different parts of the word where the two superpowers found themselves in confrontation. In some of these situations, the state of mutual fear led to a dangerous level of tension because each superpower possessed many nuclear weapons. Despite tensions reaching a significantly heightened level, the conflict never developed into a state of direct-armed war between the USA and USSR. Such a direct war would have been a "hot" war and, because this never happened the opposition of the USA and the USSR continued to be called the Cold War. ...read more.


The USSR became suspicious of the USA when the details of the Marshall plan emerged. The Soviets pressured eastern European countries to create communist governments and in the case of Czechoslovakia, the communist party created enough disorder to scare its president into allowing a communist government to be formed. The USA responded by discussing with Britain the idea of a military alliance in Western Europe and this eventually led to the North Atlantic Treaty organisation (NATO) in 1949. Six years later the Soviet Union formed the Warsaw Pact, a similar military grouping based around the USSR and the eastern European states with communist governments. The Warsaw Pact shows that the USSR was worried about the strength of NATO. This helped bring around the cold war. After 1945, Stalin felt particularly vulnerable, as the Soviet Union had suffered great destruction during the war, whereas the USA was the world's richest power. Using rigged elections and other methods, Stalin ensured Communists came to power in Eastern European countries and that they would accept Soviet control. This would give the USSR a buffer zone in any future war. ...read more.


These relations were weak mainly because of ideology. This makes ideology a long-term cause and probably the most important cause of the Cold War. Ideology acts as a trigger. The leaders of both countries both believed that a country could only be run in one way the USSR thought this was using communism and USA using capitalism. This caused disagreement and conflict, which meant that all the above causes of the Cold War happened. If the two superpowers had been less suspicious of each other perhaps the cold war could have been prevented, Stalin could have accepted the Marshall Plan instead of viewing it as an American ploy to dominate Europe and threaten the USSR. The Truman administration could have tried to understand the soviet unions needs to defend itself against another invasion instead of act if as if the USSR was intent on taking over the world and threatening America. Perhaps the leaders of the two superpowers were too alike and too willing to see the world from only their points of view. Were the superpowers to quick to act in ways that were seen by the other side as threatening and too stubborn to make concessions and reach an agreement? Or were they acting in the best interests of their country. ...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. Peer reviewed

    How far do you agree that the Cold War broke out in Europe because ...

    4 star(s)

    This demonstrated a direct resistance of the USA towards the USSR. Many other small events also threatened the relationship between the USA and USSR. Stalin spoke in his election address to the Supreme Soviet in February 1946 about a future capitalist war.

  2. Why did tension increase in Europe between 1900 and 1914?

    * The Soviet Union agreed not to interfere when Germany attacked Poland and also would allow Hitler a free hand in western Europe. * In return, Germany would allow the Soviet Union to occupy eastern Poland and would not interfere if Stalin occupied the Baltic States and Finland.

  1. Short term and Long term Causes of the Cold War.

    The end of the war produced a difficult situation. Nazi power over Europe had been destroyed but what should replace it? In many countries there was no proper government. Decisions had to be made about the future of these countries.

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

    West was the way in which Stalin seemed to be getting away with communist revolution because he done in it in a way so gradually. The way in which he gently developed Eastern Europe into a Communist 'Sphere of influence' has come to be referred to as Stalin's 'Salami tactics'

  1. How far was the USSR responsible for the outbreak of the Cold War?

    posed a real threat to the buffer zone and thought that it is an attempt of taking over Eastern Europe (as Czechoslovakia was tempted to accept it) even though it had been declared a Soviet sphere of influence at Yalta.

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

    It is possible to say that the Cold War was a war of Communism versus Capitalism. However, Communism was prominent in China and towards the end of the Cold War U.S-Chinese relations were relatively good. So it is possible to say that, even though the U.S was anti-Communist; the war

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

    The USSR believed that the West was hostile towards them because of many incidents that occurred. To begin with, USA, Britain, and France sent troops across to help the USSR's opponents in 1919. In later years, Stalin believed that there was an indication of Western support to Hitler after the

  2. The Marshall Plan.

    thereafter to take over from James Byrnes as Secretary of State. Marshall's failure in China was not a result of his lack of negotiating skills but of the determination of both sides to seek a military solution to China's problems.

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