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

History Paper 3: Origins of the Cold War

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"An unnatural alliance that was bound to fall apart after the defeat of the common enemy." To what extent does this statement explain the origin of the Cold War? It was a Spring day in April 1945 when Soviet and American troops met at the river Elbe in Germany, both sides blissful at the prospects of the war's end. Indeed it was not only the symbol for the fall of the Third Reich, but also the "beginnings of a beautiful friendship", which alas, was not to last for long. As the war was drawing to rapid close in Europe, the Grand Alliance had triumphed, and led by the "Big Three" - Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin - the Allies had managed to overlook ideological differences in order to defeat the Nazi menace in Europe. Yet it was not long after Germany's official surrender on May 8, 1945 that the Allied relationship began to fall apart; indeed the fruits of discord were visible as early as Potsdam in July, and rapidly deteriorated, eventually culminating with the breakdown of the Grand Alliance by the autumn of 1947 and the effective beginning of the Cold War. Yet from the beginning the alliance was indeed "unnatural"; the Soviets and Western Allies were driven by different purposes, aims and initiatives, and their confrontational interactions over post-war settlements, economic aid and the German question proved the Grand Alliance to be essentially incompatible with the absence of the common enemy they saw in Hitler. ...read more.

Middle

With Bizonia created from the US and British occupation sectors, it was clear that the economic necessities of Germany were the Western Allies top priority. In the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers in March 1947, the Russians made an effort to destroy Bizonia, by demanding that a central German administration under the four-power control should be set up. Yet British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin realized that this would only delay the economic recovery of Bizonia and maneuvered the Americans to accept that political unity in Germany could only be realized after economic recovery. This new fundamental rift between the Americans and Soviets was not exclusively ideological; rather it more than anything, it was a practical discord over the future of a dual-aligned Europe. Britain, with prolonged war, had lost its influence upon the Mediterranean states by 1947, and the strength of Communist parties in Italy and France were increasing as Germany was stuck in economic paralysis. Firmly believing that poverty was the stepping stone to Communism, Truman proclaimed his famous doctrine, pledging to prevent the "subjugation of free peoples" everywhere. Indeed the crux of American foreign policy of the early Cold War was born here: Truman's goal was not to undermine the Soviet Union, but to contain it by establishing a chain of democratic (and US-aligned) states. The viable result of the Doctrine in post-war Europe was manifested in the form of the Marshall Plan, which aimed to provide aid to Europe in order to foster the aforementioned "economic integration". ...read more.

Conclusion

of one or the other: rather the entire scheme of post-war discord was a result of the misunderstanding and lack of cooperation. While neither side was ever willing to go to war with one another, it was the dogmatic judgment on both sides due to an ideological factor that caused Soviet-American relations to rapidly depreciate. By the end of 1947, it was almost unequivocally clear that the Grand Alliance was in its last stages. With no fascist threat to bond the Soviets and the Western Allies, the relationship between the two blocs rapidly disintegrated with Stalin determined to carve East Europe into satellite states under his iron fist. Similarly, the Western Allies were essentially concerned with ensuring that Communism did not spread further West, and through the Truman Doctrine of containment as well as the Marshall Plan, enormous economic aid was provided to nations such as Greece, Turkey, Italy, France and Britain. Inevitably these diverging interests soon melted into confrontation, clearly highlighted by Soviet-American tensions over the German question. The breakup of the London Conference of Foreign Ministers in December of 1947 marked the ultimate end of four-Power cooperation, with only the alternatives of a Western alliance as options. Indeed in a bit more than two years after defeating Germany and Japan, the once-powerful alignment broken apart amidst bitter recriminations, with Churchill's Iron Curtain firmly descended upon the river Elbe, where the Allies had once shook hands. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate History 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 International Baccalaureate History essays

  1. To what extent did the Prague spring weaken Moscow(TM)s hold over Czechoslovakia, and Eastern ...

    6.4% of its population). Soviet troops, after having liberated Eastern Europe from Nazi occupation, remained in the area. In February 1945 the allied leaders, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met at Yalta. Stalin suggested that Eastern Europe be under a 'Soviet sphere of influence'. This meant (technically speaking)

  2. To what extent can the origins of the cold war be linked to the ...

    the Cold War as both the USA and USSR were forced into confrontation which raised the tension between the nations so much. Yet these tensions would have never happened if the Bolshevik Revolution didn't occur in 1917. In fact the rise of communism through the Bolshevik Revolution can be compared to the Rise of Fascism in Italy and Germany.

  1. Investigation: The Cuban Missile Crisis as a Thaw in the Cold War

    This all came because Khrushchev feared the United States missiles in Turkey, and since he desired peace, as much as Kennedy, Khrushchev wrote, "You are disturbed over Cuba. You say that this disturbs you because it is 90 miles by sea from the coast of the United States of America.

  2. Assess the importance of ideological differences in the outbreak of the Cold War

    Historian Alprvoitz suggests that Japan was already defeated and that the new weapon was only used to intimidate the soviets. This perhaps suggests that the Soviets had reason to fear the USA. The fact that both countries feared one another shows that there were many reasons for the outbreak of

  1. To What Extent Did The Space Race Exacerbate Political Tensions Between The USA and ...

    the need to develop advanced missile technology to be paired with the Nuclear weaponry that had been developed in the West over a decade and a half earlier. August 1958 showed a movement within the West, with THOR IRBMs (Inter-Range Ballistic Missiles, with an effective range of 1,500 Nautical Miles)

  2. The Importance of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan in the Development of ...

    Western European states became more dependant on the Americans, which gave Truman immense power overseas. Both Stalin and Truman saw the expansionism of the opposite as hostile action and their antagonism became more determined. The territorial expansion and the ideological clash caused an arms race between the two, re-armament of

  1. For what reasons, and with what results, was Germany a centre of Cold War ...

    It cut off the basic food supplies and the people there had to face starvation. In response to this, the Allies instituted the Berlin Airlift on June 21, 1948, in order to provide West Berlin with food and fuel. Cargo planes dropped food, fuel, and other supplies into West Germany all day long.

  2. Notes on the History and Development of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

    Israel made border adjustments and water-sharing arrangements called for by Amman. Finishing Oslo - September 28 1995 at another White House ceremony Israelis and Palestmians signed the Oslo II Peace Accord 400-page pact which allowed for a second stage of autonomy for the Palestinians, giving them self-rule in the majority of Palestinian towns.

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