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

Was the Cold War Inevitable?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Elias Chamoun 20th century topics R5 - Richardson 2/18/2004 WAS THE COLD WAR INEVITABLE? With the end of WWII, the Soviet Union and the United States confronted each other for dominance over a pile of, exhausted and chaotic countries. The historical magnitude and consequences of the Second World War were destined to cast the Soviet Union and US in the fatal role of antagonists with no third state powerful enough to balance and relieve the acute security dilemma (China was not as powerful as the US or USSR). The enormous destruction wrought upon the Soviet Union by the German war machine in WWII was bound to produce a quest for maximum security needs. The Soviets lost nearly 9 million soldiers and more than 27 million civilians; nearly 1,710 cities and settlements, 70,000 towns and villages, and over 6 million buildings of all kinds were devastated.1 The government of any nation suffering such staggering losses would be bound to seek to take measures against any such catastrophe ever occurring again. The Soviet Union engaged in a supreme wartime effort to conquer as much of the vital borderlands as possible. ...read more.

Middle

However, the United States still did not have the inclination or the incentive to challenge Soviet activities in Eastern Europe because it was obviously dependent on Soviet assistance in the Far East and was still hoping that nothing would interfere with a return to normalcy. Truman lacked Roosevelt's incentive to avoid a rupture with Stalin. Almost from the beginning he regarded Soviet breaches of agreement as just that--breaches of agreement. He did not need to ask whether the ideological terms and the political aims they proclaimed, meant the same in the East as in the West. Truman could see that the consequences of Soviet actions posed difficult problems for the United States, and he was personally convinced that further concessions would only worsen rather than improve the Western position. Consequently, without adopting any consistent or purposeful course of action, Truman nevertheless refused to make any more concessions for the sake of preserving amicable relations or to concede anything that was not already within the Soviet orbit of power. As cooperation between Soviet and Western powers weakened, the relationship inevitably turned into competition and rivalry. The Soviet Union was guided by a view of history that postulated the inevitability of a hostile international environment as long as capitalist states existed. ...read more.

Conclusion

Failure to consult with him adequately and with his apparently conciliatory attitude toward Russia in the course of the December Foreign Ministers Meeting in Moscow, Truman bluntly ordered Byrnes to adopt a ''tough line".5 Within six months after the war's end all pretense of friendship between the US and USSR was being dropped. Henceforth each side would interpret all moves as basically hostile and therefore would act accordingly. Had Germany and Japan not been reduced to impotence by unconditional surrender or had France, Britain, and China been able to maintain control of their traditional spheres of influence, the Soviet-American confrontation might have been somewhat less stark and threatening (Leffler).6 Nothing is inevitable, but the leaders of that period of time couldn't predict the future, and thus they didn't realize what consequences their actions would have. Judging from the way the two sides acted, the Cold War was inevitable. Both sides misunderstood each other and were equally uncompromising. Their actions dragged the world into the "Coldest" of all conflicts, the Cold War. 1 Martin McCauley. The origins of the Cold War 1941-1949. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 4 Primary documents packet (speeches). 5 Martin McCauley. The origins of the Cold War 1941-1949. 6 Ibid. ...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. The Cold War was a big rivalry that developed after World War II.

    Next an American Senator named Joseph R. McCarthy would lead a series of trials against communists in the United States.(19) Most of the people that Macarthy accused of being communist reached conviction. This happened despite the fact that many of the accused were not in fact communists.(20)

  2. The Origins of the Cold War.

    One prominent feature of the nuclear arms race, especially following the massed deployment of nuclear ICBMs due to the flawed assumption that the manned bomber was fatally vulnerable to SAMs, was the concept of deterrence via assured destruction, later, mutually assured destruction or "MAD".

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

    The Finns, meanwhile, were permitted to choose a noncommunist government and to practice Western-style democracy as long as their country maintained a friendly foreign policy toward their neighbor on the east. Indeed, to this day, Finland remains an example of what might have evolved had earlier wartime understandings on both sides been allowed to continue.

  2. The Prelude to the 1975 War and the Cairo Agreement.

    Also bourgeois idealists, youths from Europe, most of them die-hards of the New Left's militant 'peace-movements' of the late 1960s and now playing at revolution, and some of them neo-Nazis, were drawn here from the safe societies of the West to revel in the 'real thing'.

  1. UNIT 6: PAPER 6b: THE SOVIET UNION AFTER LENIN

    Anyway, it was essential to have some grain stored in case there was a bad harvest the next year. The debate about agricultural change * Some argued that the peasants should be encouraged to grow more and sell more grain by giving them fairer prices.

  2. Assess to what degree war was inevitable in France at the end of the ...

    Nevertheless the political tensions that emerged after the First World War had their impact on France too expanded by what has been called the crisis of global capitalism in the 1920s, as well as a particularly damaging economic crisis that hit France in 1924-1926.

  1. History of the United States

    George Washington was unanimously elected to be chief executive, the only president so honored. He was inaugurated in the temporary capital, New York City, on Apr. 30, 1789. The American experiment in republican self-government now began again. The unanimity expressed in Washington's election would prove short- lived.

  2. The origins of Anglo-American Radicalism - review

    With this aim in mind Margaret and James Jacob intended to edit nineteen essays by famous historians. Most of the essays in the book were written in early 1980s asking somewhat the similar questions such as what was radical at that time, what it meant to be radical and what

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