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Why did the relations between superpowers worsen between 1945-1949?

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Introduction

Why did relations between the superpowers worsen between 1945 to 1949? The two superpowers, the USA and the USSR, had been united by a common enemy and so they had put aside their differences. They had fought Nazi Germany as allies and the US president Roosevelt and Stalin, the party leader and dictator of the Soviet Union, had got on well. However, as victory grew closer in 1945, old suspicions began to resurface between the two powers. The US President Roosevelt, who had built up a good relationship with Stalin, died in 1945. He was replaced by Truman who was strongly anti-Communist, therefore highly unlikely to get on with Stalin and, as the war came to an end, the relationship between America and Russia fell apart. The death of president Roosevelt was not the only cause of trouble and tension between the USA and the USSR. The wartime alliance between the Soviet Union and America was also wrecked by the huge differences in their political and economic systems, which they had previously put aside. America and Western Europe were capitalist, had freedom and a two-party democracy. Russia was communist, had secret police and a one-party state. The West feared the spread of Communism throughout the world. The Soviets believed the West wanted to destroy communism. The West wanted reconstruction - to make Germany a prosperous democracy and a trading partner, whereas Russia wanted to wreck Germany. ...read more.

Middle

By 1949, all the governments of Eastern Europe, except Yugoslavia, were hard line Stalinist regimes. The West became very suspicious and concerned about the spreading of communism and feared that it was moving West. In 1946, in a speech made in the USA, Churchill declared that an Iron Curtain had come down across Europe, and that Soviet power was growing and had to be stopped. Stalin regarded the speech as a threat and called it a "declaration of war". By 1947, Greece was one of the few countries in Eastern Europe that hadn't turned communist. The Communist rebels in Greece were prevented from taking over by the British Army. America was becoming increasingly alarmed by the growth of Soviet power. So, when the British told Truman they could no longer afford to keep their soldiers in Greece, Truman stepped in to take over. In March 1947, he told the American Congress it was America's job to contain communism and stop it growing any stronger. This was called the Truman Doctrine. Stalin sees this as yet another declaration of war upon the Soviets. In June 1947, The Marshall Plan was set up to help Europe recover, economically, from the war. Truman asked Congress for $17 billion to fund the European Recovery Programme nicknamed "The Marshall Plan" to get the economy of Europe going again. Congress at first hesitated, but agreed in March 1948 when Czechoslovakia turned Communist. ...read more.

Conclusion

and the Democratic Republic of Germany (East Germany) until 1990. The world's two strongest powers rarely get along well because each is the main threat to the other; they will always compete for security and power. The vast differences between the USSR and the USA probably sparked off the tension between them. Their political systems, lifestyles and aims opposed the other's; this would have obviously prevented any stable agreements being reached between the two powers. I believe that the difference of opinion was the root of all the problems they faced and triggered the gradual worsening of relations. Certainly that was not the factor that contributed towards the deterioration of their alliance; each side made mistakes to agitate the other. When Truman decided to drop the atomic bomb upon Japan without informing Stalin, it created an increased suspicion between the two countries. The methods used by Stalin to spread communism, which involved non-communists being beaten, murdered, executed and terrified out of power, were brutal and, accordingly, the West became suspicious of the USSR, became concerned that communism was spreading and therefore took action. All actions taken by each side were opposed by the other, but the only definate way to stop the others actions was to use military force - especially concerning the Berlin blockade and the airlift. However, using military force would have been classed as an act of war, and war was the last thing the USSR or the USA wanted; perhaps the sole thing they had in common. History Essay ...read more.

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