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‘A Cold War Between East And West Was Inevitable After 1945.’ Do You Agree?

2434 words - 10 pages

‘A cold war between East and West was inevitable after 1945.’ Do you agree?
Up until May 7th 1945 Germany had been Europe’s main defence against Russian hegemony. Once the Allied defeat of Nazi Germany was complete, this defence no longer existed and the USSR held onto the territorial gains it had made during its monumental war effort. Germany’s fate had not yet been decided but in the meantime it had been divided into four areas by the former Allies. The tension between the remaining post war Superpowers, the United States and The Soviet Union were ever increasing. Britain became economically and militarily dependant on the US as its empire floundered. British rhetoric and ‘scaremongering ...view middle of the document...

Woodrow Wilson’s vision of a world of democratic national self-determinism and free international trade were at logger heads with Marxism-Leninism. Therefore, a war of sorts between the two ideologies would exist, or a ‘Partial War’ as Lenin put it.’ America, Britain and Russia had split the post war world into two and a half spheres of influence. This had been predicted By Alexis Tocqueville in the 1930s. Tocqueville proposed that ‘democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.’ In the end he suggested America and Russia would reach the zenith of their powers and one would consume the other. It is difficult to imagine any way in which the US and the UK could come to terms with the Soviet agenda particularly given its brutal and uncompromising Stalinist slant. From Tocqueville’s prophetic point of view as well as Lenin’s stand point, the partial war was unavoidable prior to WWII and after the allied defeat of Germany in 1945, a Cold War would exist thereafter. Stalin’s 1946 speech in the Bolshoi Theatre alluded to Russia’s ‘return to being the Soviet Union, the capital of world Communism, not the great ally’ and that the ‘Party and its ideology were to be reinforced.’ This led the USSR’s Foreign Commissar Maxim Litvinov to predict that “The ideological conception prevailing here is that conflict between communist and capitalist worlds is inevitable.”
This clash of ideologies between US capitalism, British Imperialism and Soviet Communism was practically unstoppable. British Imperialism was by 1945 on its last legs. American distaste for colonialism was now being made obvious to the world and Britain had to change her policy in order to receive US aid and loans. A post war US had the means to ‘exercise her economic strength in Central and Eastern Europe, an area whose control by the Soviet Union was vital to its security.’ However, the United Europe being proposed by the US and the UK was viewed by the Soviets as a return to the Capitalist balance of power politics that had resulted in the last two wars with Germany. Woodrow Wilson had tried to end this old style diplomacy with the League of Nations and his 14 Point Plan in 1918. The West in turn pointed the same finger of suspicion at Soviet claims of defensive or protectionist measures to the East of Trieste.
Soviet mistrust of the West was one of the main reasons used by Stalin to keep control of territories the Soviets had occupied as they advanced on Germany. Stalin had suspected that the Allies had not opened up a second front in France against Germany, which would have taken some of the pressure off the Red Army in the East. Stalin and his Foreign Secretary Vyacheslav Molotov had been advocating a new front from 1942 until June 6th 1944. Their suspicion was that the United States and the United Kingdom were holding off whilst Germany and...

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