Why did the relationship between the Soviet Union and the USA deteriorate so rapidly between 1945 and 1950?

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Why did the relationship between the Soviet Union and the USA deteriorate so rapidly between 1945 and 1950?

  The breakdown of Superpower relations in this time can be described as rather rapid and sudden, however the myth that the ‘enemies’ that had emerged by 1950 had been great friends and allies but five years earlier is hardly correct, although tensions between the two countries had relaxed due to a common aim in bringing down Hitler, neither country had been on friendly terms. Ever since the USSR had been formed, deep-running ideological tensions existed between Russia and the USA, and the backdrop for broad conflict was in place. In many ways the only thing that prevented conflict was the mutual interest in World War Two. However, by 1945 interests were no longer mutual, and previous tensions quickly came to the fore with suspicions about one another rising.

  The mistrust, misunderstanding and suspicion that characterise the Cold War began many years before the Second World War, as early as American intervention on behalf of the Whites in the Russian Civil War, which showed that the USA were anything but pro-communist. The Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1941 also led the USA to be apprehensive when dealing with the USSR, and even as allies Stalin’s reluctance to open a second front further exposed the mismatch that existed. This rivalry would take on a more realised form after 1945, when tensions came to a head and it is widely believed the Cold War started. In retrospect, it is hardly surprising that this rivalry occurred. The sheer extent of the incompatibility between Soviet and American ideologies make that much clear, and it is this incompatibility that led to the misunderstandings and suspicion in a bipolar world where the Cold War almost seemed inevitable.

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   Up until 1947, what tensions there were remained in the most part under the surface, and the two powers were seen to co-operate, even so with increasing reluctance, at certain instances such as Yalta, Potsdam and in the running of Berlin and Germany.  However even at these meetings disagreements arose such as the agreement to hold free elections across the liberated countries would in itself mean different things to the American and Russian governments, particularly as the Russians had absolutely no experience of free, democratic elections. However it was clear that at this stage there was no direct ...

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