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

Who or what is to blame for the start of the cold war?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Kongpob Muangsiri ID.4306640428 America and the Cold War Aj. Amir Who or what is to blame for the start of the cold war? The fuel that kept the cold war burning for centuries was that the enemy acted just as their models predicted. The American distrust, and to some extent paranoia, of any system of government different than their own and the Soviet perception, and in some instances reality, of Western intervention set the stage for the Cold War. "The Soviet Union and the United States waged the Cold War in the belief that confrontation was unavoidable, that it was imposed by history. Soviet leaders were convinced that Communism would ultimately triumph in the world and that the Soviet Union was the vanguard Socialist-Communist State. They were also convinced that the Western imperialist powers were historically bound to pursue a hostile course against them. For their part, American and other Western leaders assumed that the Soviet Union was determined to enhance its power and to pursue expansionist policies by all expedient means to achieve a Soviet-led Communist world. Each side thought that it was compelled by the very existence of the other to engage in zero-sum competition, and each saw the unfolding history of the Cold War as confirming its views." The actions taken on all sides since the beginning of the 19th century continually reinforced that their beliefs were correct. But more importantly, it reinforced that the courses of action taken in response to those beliefs were correct. So the Cold War began not with a military battle, but with distrust and content of differing governments. In April 1945, Russian forces that had been triumphant at Stalingrad had pushed the German forces back into Germany and American and British forces that had been victorious in their invasion of Normandy did the same; they met at the Elbe River in central Germany (Westad: 1993). ...read more.

Middle

"National security had come to mean personal security, and Stalin saw so many threats to it that he had already resorted to murder on a mass scale in order to remove all conceivable challengers to his regime" (Maddox: 1988). Both Stalin and the Russian people felt vulnerable and especially weak on their western front from repeated surprise invasions launched against them. As a result, Stalin wanted to secure his country, to establish a 'buffer zone' against the poisonous capitalist countries to the west a crawl back into the sheltered nook that the Kremlin was. Therefore, one could deduce that Russian intensions caused the Cold War because Stalin was acting while well aware that his actions would contrast with those of America, which supports the Orthodox viewpoint. However, the United States and other western countries also had their own aims. These aims can be observed by analyzing 'The Atlantic Charter' and 'The Truman Doctrine.' Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt signed 'The Atlantic Charter' on August 14,1941. While still early in the war, it was later adopted by the United Nations and remains, to this day, a cornerstone of civilization. The western powers would "seek no aggrandizement... respect the rights of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live...bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations...and seek the abandonment of the use of force". The Charter was basically a statement that unified the Western democracies against any right-wing fascist government. It was a precursor to Truman's policy of containment because it set democracy liberty against fascist domination and this turned out to be a central theme during the Cold War. The Cold War resulted from the western countries accepting and embracing these principles and the Soviets and eastern bloc countries not doing this. Truman's speech, called his doctrine because it outlined his plan, addressed Congress on March 12, 1947. "One way of life is based upon the will of the majority...guarantees of individual liberty...and freedom from political oppression. ...read more.

Conclusion

When examining the pre-WWII and WWII circumstances of both the United States and the Soviet Union, it becomes evident that the elemental canon of each country conflicted. The three most prominent fundamental differences are bipolar outlooks, aspirations and dogmas. When examining documents, there is a plethora of evidence supporting both the Revisionist and the Orthodox viewpoints, and because of this evidence the Post-Revisionist position is the accurate assessment of blame. Both the Soviet Union and the United States purposely aggravated each other and prevented each other from obtaining any sort of secure standing both in the international and domestic sense. When examining these activities years after they happened, it is easy to conclude that both the United States and Soviet Russia were culpable for starting the Cold War. However, during the tense years, such as the Korean and Vietnam Wars, this inference was not as easily made. Thus, those belonging to the Revisionist and Orthodox tenets only need to look at the Cold War overall to gain the perspective necessary to gage an educated proposal for blame and not just focus on isolated events. Again referring back to the quotation by Eisenhower, we must always remember those immortal words and learn from past mistakes and realize that communication and diplomacy are the supreme exemplars of brotherhood and unity, more so that paranoia and arms races will ever be. We must never repeat the mistakes of the past and never again utter Churchill's famous words of the 'iron curtain' to report on international events: From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent....If the western democracies stand together in strict adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter, their influence for furthering these principles will be immense and no one is likely to molest them. If, however, they become divided or falter in their duty, and if these all-important years are allowed to slip away, then indeed catastrophe may overwhelm us all. ...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. What were the Main Causes of the Cold War? and Which of these Causes ...

    America dropped the first atom bomb on Hiroshima, thus showing its strength and becoming a major threat to Russian security. This definitely can be seen as a cause, as now the threatening could begin. However, in my opinion, it is difficult to say that this can be a cause of

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

    At the beginning of 1945, during February's Yalta Peace conference relations between America, Britain and Russia were good. The war had not at this stage been won in Europe but victory looked inevitable. However by the time the three nations next meet at Potsdam in August this situation had changed.

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

    Although all countries attempt to put the best face possible on their military and diplomatic actions, Americans have seemed more committed than most to describing their involvement in the world as pure and altruistic. Hence, even ventures like the Mexican War of 1846 - 48 - clearly provoked by the

  2. Which Country Was Most To Blame for WWII - Italy, Germany or Japan?

    In the 1920s, Hitler didn't do anything because he didn't have any power; the only thing he could do was to rally public support for his Nazi Party. This is exactly what he did, and in 1933 he was elected as German Chancellor.

  1. The Origins of the Cold War.

    and displaced persons, and an increase in the number of democratic states.[2] Arms race The B-52 Stratofortress intercontinental bomber, designed in the late 1940s, remains in operation in 2006. A major feature of the Cold War was the arms race between the member states of the Warsaw Pact and those of NATO.

  2. Why did the Cold War start

    The Western allies argued that these actions were those of dictator who tried to dominate the globe.3 However, the second and revionist strand of thought was that the cause of the Cold War was the American policies after the end of the war.

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

    Until then, the United States had been the only nation that knew how to make the atomic bomb. This made the world scared because two of the biggest superpowers both had their hands on nuclear bombs. In China, Mao Zedong's Communist troops fought the Nationalist armies of Chiang Kai-shek.

  2. Korean propaganda during the Second World War and the Korean War had a different ...

    separation as a country as a whole, and contact between the North and South. COMPARE AND CONTRAST It is quite evident that there are similar affects as well as a contrast in affects propaganda has brought upon the Korean people during World War Two, and the Korean War.

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