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Why was the cold war in place by c.1946?

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Introduction

Why was the cold war in place by c.1946? By 1946 a time of great hostility and fear had developed between the USA and USSR, this was due to many reasons and events, some dating back to the beginning of the century. But by 1946 a cold war had begun, meaning no direct conflicts but a period of time filled with mistrust and suspicion. The USA and USSR shared very different ideologies. The USA were capitalist and were opposed the ideology of communism embraced by the USSR. This in itself was not enough to cause tension; it was the fear of one another's ideology that caused the tension. The USA were frighten of communist ideals spreading the USA, and 'corrupting' the country and its thriving economy. The USSR was fearful of US hostility towards communism. This hostility of the west towards communism was made clear in 1917 where the western 'whites' of the rest tried to quash the communist revolution. This fear of communism from the west has caused them to act in the past, why wouldn't they do this again? Before World War Two broke the mistrust and fear of one another grew. The USSR even tried to negotiate an alliance with the west, which was rejected and therefore obviously angered Stalin as he saw this as the west not trusting him. ...read more.

Middle

This act, combined with the Katyn Massacre made the west very suspicious of Stalin's policies in regards to Eastern Europe. Lend lease was also key to the suspicion shared. Throughout the war the USA had leant money and goods to the USSR to keep up their war effort. But before the war had ended it was mysteriously stopped. This backed up Russian ideas that the west was trying to 'starve' the Russian war effort, allowing them to be defeated. But in actual fact it was an accident. but nonetheless this event made the USSR even keener to secure defence in Eastern Europe, as mentioned above. The Yalta conference in February 1945 the big three of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met to discuss ending the war and how to rebuild Europe. At this conference the suspicions and mistrust shared between them started to show, as issues like Poland were very important to both agenda. The west saw the USSR trying to rule Poland through communism to spread communist ideals. Whilst from a Russian point of view it was merely a defence buffer zone to prevent a third invasion of Russia. They saw the western persistence of democracy in Eastern Europe an attempt to contain and destroy communism. ...read more.

Conclusion

This added to the lengthening list of suspicion of the powers. The defeat of Japan was very key to the start of the cold war. In Yalta the powers had agreed that the USSR would fight alongside the USA to defeat Japan. But through the using of the Atomic Bomb not only did America discard the offer of support by the Russians but show that they were in charge. This 'cowboy' attitude was very threatening to the Russians making the necessity to arm with nuclear weapons even more urgent. The suspicion felt by the west towards the USSR was made clear by the actions of two men. At the beginning of 1946 Winston Churchill delivered a speech to the American government telling of his fear, and the fear the USA should possess of the spread of communism. He wanted America to take action against this spread of communism to contain it. Stalin say this as threatening behaviour and referred to Churchill as a 'war monger'. But this idea of containment was backed up by Kennan's long telegram, which once more talked of containing the communist threat. The culmination of the long history of mistrust and the kick start of the Atom bomb and beginnings of the policy of containment led to the cold war taking place by 1946. Adam Baldwin ...read more.

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