Soviet Union and Eastern Europe

Authors Avatar by designs95 (student)

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

The statement is valid due to the fact that the Soviet Union had previously been invaded twice by Germany in 1914 and 1941 and had legitimate security fears when the Western allies began supporting Germany. Consequently, Stalin may have thought that the Soviet union, needed extra security to prevent an invasion re occurring. Also, the USSR often made decisions in response to others around them, especially the USA, as Stalin always aimed to ‘match’ his rivals.

Firstly, one reason the statement is valid due to the USSR’S genuine fear of another invasion as it had happened twice before and this fear was not quelled with the USA and the Western Allies helping Germany recuperate after the war, increasing the possibility of a resurgent Germany which terrified the Russians. This is linked also with the USA's globalisation, Truman's Doctrine verified the USSR among the American people which gave Marshall aid a solid purpose, to save these countries from communist oppression.

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The Soviets claimed, that Stalin's motives were purely defensive. Stalin wished to create a buffer zone of Communist states around him to protect Soviet Russia from the capitalist West. In this sense, his moves were not aggressive at all -- they were truly defensive moves to protect the Soviet system. His suspicions of Western hostility were not unfounded: the British and U.S. intervention in the Russian Civil War were still fresh in Stalin's memory when he took power. Furthermore, Stalin was wary because he was not informed of U.S. nuclear capabilities, therefore a lack of trust between the major powers ...

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