How far do you agree that the Cold War in Europe broke out because Soviet and Western leaders misinterpreted each other's words and actions?

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How far do you agree that the Cold War in Europe broke out because Soviet and Western leaders misinterpreted each other’s words and actions?

        The Cold War broke out in 1945 (although some have argued other years) with the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences. They were held to discuss what was to be done with the peace of Europe and how to rebuild the damage that had been caused. It was at these meetings that the Americans and Russians slowly began to mistrust one another, even though they were previously war-time allies.

        During the Potsdam Conference in July/August of 1945, America declared that they had tested the first Atomic Bomb (which President Harry Truman referred to as ‘the greatest thing in history’). Stalin was suspicious as to why America had not told him previously, and after this, relations spiraled down rapidly. But it was at this time that America’s suspicions of the USSR were beginning to settle in and it was Harry Truman who later said that ‘unless Russia is faced with an iron fist and strong language another war is in the making’

                Their first misinterpretation was over the issue of Poland and what was to happen to it now that the war was over. Russia had been attacked through this country on numerous occasions, including World War 1 and 2 and had lost approximately 25 million people, 700 towns destroyed and their steel industry cut by half. They were keen to dominate and occupy most of the land in order to prevent any further attacks through this country. On the other hand, Britain had gone to war over Poland and was keen for it to remain independent. Also, there was a Polish Government who had been forced into exile at the beginning of the war and Britain was now keen for them to return to power. As for America, they became extremely suspicious of Russia’s plans and believed that Russia merely wanted to spread Communism. Unlike at the end of World War 1, they were determined not to appease Stalin as Britain had done with Hitler. It should be remembered that they did have the right to believe that Stalin only had the intentions of spreading communism through the quotation of Karl Marx. He declared that ‘We are living not merely in a state, but in a system of states and it’s inconceivable that the Soviet Republic should continue to exist for a long period side-by-side with imperialist states’.

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        The Warsaw Pact and Marshall Aid are other examples of how the two great powers misunderstood each other, thus causing a start of the Cold War. Western suspicions rose to a height when Stalin refused to allow Marshall Aid to be distributed to Soviet-occupied countries. As a result, the Warsaw Pact was created in retaliation. It could have actually been an attack towards the West, or Stalin trying to hold together his ‘buffer states’ and prevent them from turning to Capitalism.

        There are some smaller matters that show that the Cold War was the result of misunderstandings. For example, the ...

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