Truman & Cold War

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Using the sources and your own knowledge, assess to the extent to which the policies and attitudes of President Truman helped cause the Cold War.

The impact of the Second World War can be seen as the earliest cause of the Cold War. Germany and Japan had been defeated and had suffered considerable economic damage. France and Italy had also suffered economically and The British empire was in rapid decline as a world power. This left two superpowers; The US and The USSR, both with ideological differences.

What occurred in Eastern Europe certainly contributed to the causes of the Cold War. The Soviets had agreed to have free and fair elections run in East Europe, however they rigged the elections so they could set up friendly communist states on their border. This became known as the buffer zone, as Stalin wanted to protect the USSR from invasion. Truman was not at all pleased by this as Stalin had broken his promise. Source B is a speech by Winston Churchill and he describes the split between the East and West as the ‘Iron Curtain’. Source B goes on to explain that the Soviets are unpredictable and gives the impression that the USSR want world domination.

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The atomic bomb is another reason for the cause of the cold war. The USSR were meant to be an ally of the US, however the USSR felt that they could not trust the US anymore as Truman did not want to share the new technology of the nuclear weapons. Some historians also believe that Truman unnecessarily ordered the atomic bombings in Japan, not to win the war there, but to scare the Soviets and show them how powerful they really were.

The Berlin Blockade escalated the tensions between the east and west. Stalin blocked off West ...

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