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An Unnatural Alliance That Was Bound To Fall Apart After The Defeat Of The Common Enemy. To What Extent Does This Statement Explain The Origin Of The Cold War

1842 words - 8 pages

During the Second World War, the USSR and the USA, the two great nations in the 1940s united each other to defeat their common enemy, Nazi Germany. Their alliance was however ‘unnatural’ as both countries had conflicting ideologies, capitalism vs. communism and both wanted to spread their power and control in the world. Their incompatible ideologies from the start together with their troubled relationship since 1918 when the west intervened on the Russian civil war on behalf of the White Army, created an uneasy alliance in 1941 that that was most certainly ‘bound to fall apart’ when the common enemy was defeated in 1945. In order to come to a conclusion on the extent to which “An unnatural ...view middle of the document...

The West’s fear started to grow when in 1919 Lenin stated ‘we are living not merely in a state, but in a system of states: and it is inconceivable that the Soviet republic should continue to exist for a long period side by side with imperialist states’. (Phillips P 6). This gave a clear indication to the west, together with the set up of the Comintern, an organization dedicated to the spreading of communism, that the Russian Revolution was the beginning of a worldwide proletariat revolution. (Briggs, p5). World communist revolution as opposed to liberalised democracies promoted by Wilson was the origin of tensions between East and West.
The events between the Bolshevik revolution and 1945 furthermore added to the “unnaturalness” of the alliance. In 1918, during the Russian civil war the USA, threatened by Communism, along with the French and the British, backed the Whites against the Communist government and invaded North Russia hoping to end communism. (Briggs, p5). Their intervention initiated the mistrust of the USSR towards the West and confirmed Stalin’s feeling that the Western leaders wanted to see Communism been crushed. In 1935, Stalin’s rejected attempt at an anti-fascist alliance and his concern about France’s and Britain’s appeasement policies resulted in the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939 which in turn increased anti-soviet hostility in the West. Despite this, German’s invasion of Russia in 1941 and Japan’s bombardment of the US naval base opened an alliance known as the Grand Alliance between the Soviet Union, the USA and Britain who were allied against the axis powers. (Phillips, p8). Stalin turned to the allies after he had been betrayed by Germany which supports the point that Stalin never wished to assist the allies in the first place. Moreover, the West knew that the communists, as stated previously, believed that for their ideology to persist it meant the death of capitalism and democracies which furthermore implies that the alliance was “unnatural”. (Briggs, p6). Many historians would for these reasons agree that this alliance of the USSR and the USA was an alliance of desperation and convenience rather than one of trust. (Turning Points in World History, p10). In 1943, Stalin Churchill and Roosevelt met in Teheran to begin to map out the post-war world. Although some agreements were made a key issue, Poland, saw no decision to be made. (The Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam Conferences). The decision at the conference of delaying the creation of the second front to 1944 created tensions between the ‘Big Three’. To Stalin the need of opening a second front was pressing as the Soviet Union was suffering greatly in their fight against Germany. The refusal of Britain and USA to do so before 1944 made Stalin suspicious of the motives of USA and Britain who he believed wanted to see USSR defeated by Germany. (Phillips, p10). As one can see, the mistrust that had been evident before their alliance remained but was concealed.
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