• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13

Would you agree with the view that conflict over Berlin in the period 1945-1990 was entirely the fault of the Soviet Union?

Extracts from this document...


Would you agree with the view that conflict over Berlin in the period 1945-1990 was entirely the fault of the Soviet Union? The Cold War was a political and strategic conflict between the West and Eastern Europe regarding fundamental values and ideals. Whereas the West believed in freedom of speech and democracy, the East believed in a one party state with much more restrictions on individual liberty and rights of expression. At the end of World War 2, a line was drawn through Europe separating democratic countries from communist countries. The USA and the USSR had become so powerful they became known as 'Superpowers'. The Cold War was characterized by extreme mutual distrust, suspicion, and misunderstandings by both the United States and the Soviet Union, and their allies. It was therefore a period of great uncertainty and at times, these conditions increased the likelihood of a third world war, which could easily have escalated to nuclear war. The United States accused the Soviet Union of seeking to expand its version of communism throughout the world. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, charged the United States with practising imperialism and attempting to stop revolutionary activity in other countries. There has been much debate about when the Cold War started, but most Historians agree it began soon after World War 2 ended. One of the defining events was the division of Germany and particularly the city of Berlin. Organising the occupation of Germany was agreed at the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences attended by the USA, USSR and Britain. ...read more.


West Berlin continued to remain an annoyance to the Soviet leaders as it was an advertisement for the economic success of Western Europe. Further East Germans could move freely in to West Berlin and then on to West Germany. This became a continual source of embarrassment as between 1949 and 1960 approximately three million people left East Germany. This was a major coup for the West as these people were leaving the communist system that supposedly looked after its workers and families to look for a better life in the capitalist West. Among these 3 million people were highly qualified men who were of little value to the West but were skilled workers that East Germany could not afford to lose. By 1961, the number of refugees fleeing to the West represented about one-sixth of East Germany's population. On August 12th 1961, a record 4,000 people made their way to West Berlin to start a new life in the West. This pushed the communist authorities into taking action. Berlin was to become the centre of the Cold War again in later years with the building of the Berlin Wall. Russia was determined that Berlin would never be the capital of a united Germany and would never regain their powerful status to start another world war. The border between East and West Berlin was closed in 1961 and a barbed wire fence was erected to prevent East Germans crossing the border to the West. ...read more.


In addition the Marshall Plan was also established, which was a programme offering economic aid to European states to help them recover from the war, although ultimately this was only given to Western democracies. Such policies were viewed as aggressive offering money and weapons to the enemies of the Soviet Union. The speeches made by Truman were also very confrontational particularly his speech to the US congress March 1947. "Force is the only thing the Russians understand" ... "It relies on terror and oppression ... I believe it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting subjugation by armed minorities or outside pressure". Clearly such an approach intensified an already delicate situation. Neither did the West help the situation with the creation of NATO, which was again seen as an aggressive move aimed at the USSR. It can be seen that there were many causes which led to the complex situation of the Cold War. Add to this the mistrust and suspicion common at the time and the misunderstandings of policies and it is clear the blame for the Cold War cannot be placed on any one person or country. Although many of the tensions that existed in the Cold War can be attributed to Stalin's policy of Soviet expansion, the argument cannot be sustained that they were entirely responsible. Rather it developed as a series of events, which occurred as the struggle for supremacy between the Superpowers escalated. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kieran Cooling Page 1 15/12/2008 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 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 AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the view that Stalins suspicions of his western allies between 1941 and 1945 ...

    4 star(s)

    In his writing, Fitzgerald says, "there was discussion over the boundaries of post-war Poland, in effect, Poland was moved westward"3 and that Poland would be, "compensated by receiving territory on her western border from Germany."4 Historians Jeremy Isaacs

  2. Why did Stalin Blockade Berlin in 1948?

    Stalin commented "No they will recover, and very quickly. It is a highly developed industrial country with an extremely talented/skilled and numerous working class technical intelligence". He thought it would take Germany twelve to fifteen years to get back on their feet. As the cold war developed the western powers became a lot more motivated and determined to make

  1. Hitlers Germany

    After 1947 came refugees from other Soviet-dominated countries who found Germany, by virtue of its geographical location and because of the absence of civil government, the most convenient place to find shelter. Added to these were some 8,000,000 soldiers of the invading armies of the major powers and the various

  2. The Wannsee Conference was entirely responsible for the Holocaust. How valid is this assessment ...

    The cartoon was published in August 1930. This early form of propaganda is significant when looking at the reasons why the final solution was implemented as it was how the NSDAP indoctrinated the German people before they came to power. This document is also one of the many examples of how Hitler and the Nazi party used

  1. Leni Riefenstahl The Propagandist or Artist? A Historiographical Debate.

    * Triumph of the Will- She admits that Triumph of the Will was commissioned by Hitler but has argued that how could she know then (1934) what horrors would follow. Riefenstahl displayed neither the intention nor the awareness to execute her works as propaganda for the Party.

  2. How far were the personalities of Truman and Stalin responsible for the increased tension ...

    Truman was politically inexperienced and relied heavily upon his advisers, stating in 1946 that, 'Unless Russia is faced with an iron fist and strong language, another war is in the making'. He was also na�ve and gullible, believing the George Kennan telegram which contained only the opinion of the American

  1. Decisions made in Berlin from 1900 determined the outbreak of war in Europe in ...

    As, the senior members to decide the fate of a possible war were on holiday and as he states sarcastically that they were ?in separate resorts? and so would relate to no discussions made to go through with a war as they were all too busy 'relaxing'.

  2. "The Wannsee Conference was entirely responsible for the Holocaust" How valid is this assessment ...

    of Germany, and also means that genocide had been amongst the Nazi Party's designs for a long time. With these answers comes another question, what was the purpose of the Wannsee Conference. To view the source from a functionalist's perspective, one could argue that with the newly acquired territory of

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