The Soviet Union developed its influence in Eastern Europe in the years 1945 1949 because it simply wanted to guarantee its security in the future. How valid is this assessment?

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‘The Soviet Union was aggressively expansionist and showed little enthusiasm for détente.’ How valid is this statement?

The Soviet Union had been known for being aggressively expansionist in the past, but in détente the Soviet Union acted more out of security reasons rather than expansionist such as in Afghanistan which was on the USSR’s border and could of possibly handed the USA a geostrategic position over them, also during détente they showed real enthusiasm for détente and more so than the USA, this spawns from the USSR having a much more serious view of the meaning of détente.

The statement isn’t valid because firstly in the Arab-Israeli and Angola conflicts although they did get involved with aiding one side, the acted second, after the USA which shows that they were acting less out of their ‘aggressive expansionist’ nature and more out of a response to their rival, the USA.  Within the Arab-Israeli and Angola conflicts the USSR never deployed troops and only aided one side within these conflicts compared to when they wanted to expand their sphere of influence into Eastern Europe, they installed the Red Army into the Eastern European states to occupy them.

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In Angola the USSR wasn’t acting aggressively due to Cuba having sent troops and aid to the FNLA party within Angola as they supported communism, the Soviets felt that because they were the arbiter of communism at that time or at least contesting to be they should help their fellow communist nations, also this action in Angola was not troops it was aid and again it was in reaction to the USA helping the MPLA party first but the severity of this situation was increased as China was dovetailed with the USA in contributing in Angola.

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There are many positive features of this response; the author writes analytically throughout and stays firmly focused on the precise question in each paragraph. Judgements are sound and usually supported by evidence, although this could be expanded in places. However, the lack of dates is a weakness and grammatical errors detract from the clarity of the argument. 4 stars .