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Which was the most important as a reason for the development of the Cold War in the years 1945-1955, Soviet expansion into Europe or the Formation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact?

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Perlie Mong Which was the most important as a reason for the development of the Cold War in the years 1945-1955, Soviet expansion into Europe or the Formation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact? Both the Soviet expansion into Europe and the Formation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact were important for the development of the Cold War, even though they contributed to its development in different ways. Therefore, which one was more important was open to discussion. Soviet expansion into Eastern Europe started very soon after the end of WWII. At the Yalta Conference, it was agreed that Eastern Europe should be seen as a ?Soviet Sphere of Influence?. However, by Potsdam Conference, Stalin had already set up a communist government in Poland against the wishes of the Poles and he refused to withdraw his troops in Eastern European states. This turned the Eastern European states into Soviet ?satellite states?, which was not what the West meant by ?sphere of influence?. Although Stalin claimed that it was merely a defensive policy to protect the USSR as he wanted a buffer zone on his western ...read more.


This made the USSR felt victimized even though members of NATO claimed that its purpose is defense not aggression, especially after they grew in number. They saw it as an act of aggression, as stated in the Soviet protest note ?NATO has an aggressive characteristic and is aimed against the USSR.? After West Germany joined it in 1955, it also meant that the Americans could build air bases in Western Germany, which made the USSR felt threatened as West Germany was right next to its western frontier. As a result, the USSR established the Warsaw Pact with its satellite states, including Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Albania. Like NATO, the Warsaw Pact was also a military alliance for mutual defense. It also allowed the USSR to build air bases in Cuba, which was very close to America. This time the Americans were very threatened. Consequentially, the split between the two blocs were widened, as the world was now divided into two rivalry alliances. If a war broke out, all the countries of NATO and Warsaw Pact would be involved. ...read more.


Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that the establishment of NATO (and later the Warsaw Pact) was an indirect consequence of Soviet expansion. Moreover, even though the establishments of NATO and Warsaw Pact encouraged nuclear arms race and involved many more countries other than the two superpowers, these would happen even without the two organizations. In a way, the nuclear arms race started when Truman told Stalin about American success in developing the atomic bomb in the Potsdam Conference, as the Soviets worked hard in the future four years and developed their own atomic bomb in 1949. The Cold War had always involved other nations other than the two superpowers since the beginning of it. Britain, France and other capitalist countries had always been pro-USA and many Eastern European countries had always been pro-USSR. The world was already in two blocs before NATO and Warsaw Pact were set up. Therefore, although the establishments of these two organizations were important to the development of the Cold War as it increased the opposition between the two blocs, it was not as crucial as the Soviet expansion into Europe which started the Cold War off and created a domino effect. ...read more.

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