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To what extent do you accept the view that the USA and the USSR were already divided by irreconcilable differences by the end of the fighting in Europe in May 1945?

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Introduction

To what extent do you accept the view that the USA and the USSR were already divided by irreconcilable differences by the end of the fighting in Europe in May 1945? I agree to some extent that the USA and USSR were already divided by irreconcilable differences by 1945 due to their ideological differences which contradicted the beliefs of the other nation. The USA believed in a democratic world which would benefit the economic interests of the USA with free open markets. However the USSR with its new position in the world aimed to improve its security by spreading its communist influence in neighbouring countries. Security was an important issue due to its past experiences of being attacked by the west through Eastern Europe such as the west's intervention in the Russian civil war of 1917-18. This experience therefore led the Soviet Union to have a mutual suspicion of the motives of the USA and the west during the war. Therefore the USA and USSR were already divided by 1945. However they were not completely divided as they managed to become allies in their fight against Nazi Germany. The fact that they were able to unite to fight a common cause which was to defeat Nazi Germany illustrates that they were not divided by irreconcilable differences by 1945. ...read more.

Middle

'The wish to establish a security buffer' (source 2) was reinforced further when the western allies delayed the opening of the second front. This led Stalin to believe that the west wanted to see the USSR destroyed before they defeated Nazi Germany. Source 2 an author of the revisionist school of thought therefore implies that the USA and USSR were not completely divided by irreconcilable differences as the two sides could have potentially remained as allies had Truman tried to understand the actions of the USSR to be in the best interest of the security of the Soviet Union. The power vacuum created in Eastern Europe exposed the differences between the two nations as both fought to compete in spreading their ideological influences that suited their interest as outlined in source 3 which is from the post-revisionist perspective. The USSR took Eastern Europe under its wing so that she could rebuild her economy using the resources of the eastern European states. SU was determined to improve its security by weakening countries around it especially Eastern Europe. However, Source 3 realises that this idea of Soviet 'friendly governments in eastern Europe clashed with Americas long-term interests.' The USA competed to spread its influence in Europe in order to keep an open market to sell American made goods. ...read more.

Conclusion

Moreover this suggests that the two countries were not completely divided due to their differences but it was rather down to the personalities of the leaders of both countries that led to a division. Change in power in US government meant SU and USA could not resolve their differences. Roosevelt wanted to continue the policy of containment which had helped the two countries come to agreement on the spheres of influence in Europe. However when Truman came to power following the death of Roosevelt the division between the two states deepened with Truman keen not to be seen as being soft on communism. Therefore he adopted a tougher stance on the USSR as he did not want to appease the Stalin as he the west did with Hitler which eventually led to the SWW. In conclusion the USA and USSR were not completely divided by irreconcilable differences because if they were they would have gone in conflict after the western allied intervention in the Russian civil war of 1917. However by 1945 due to their conflicting post war aims they began to show signs of hostility and division. But they could have remained as allies had the USA understood the USSR's insecurities. Moreover the USSR may have continued to cooperate with the USA as they had done throughout the war had Truman not decided to be openly anti-communist and difficult to get along with. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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4 star(s)

The author has a strong understanding of events and links source material well with own knowledge. Links to the question get clearer towards the end. 4 out of 5 stars.

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 17/09/2013

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