How far do you agree with the view that the origins of the Cold War in 1945 and 1946 owed much to ideological differences and little to personalities and conflicting national interests? (TOTAL 40 MARKS)
Use sources 7 and 8 to your own knowledge
The origins of the Cold War in 1945 and 1946 were due to a number of factors, and whether it was mainly due to ideological differences or personalities and conflicting national interests is still a major debate. However, after analysis of Sources 7 and 8, I do not agree that the origins of the Cold War was mainly caused by ideological differences, but instead owed to the equal yet unfortunate combination of the three factors.
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The same applied for Truman, who was inexperienced as a president and was extremely aggressive, as seen in his deliberate mentioning of the successful atomic tests in the Potsdam conference, hoping to deter Stalin from expanding his territory and contain communism, but instead instigated the arms race and encouraged further suspicion. Through these evidences from interpreting the sources, we can clearly see that personality differences had henceforth fundamentally shaped the direction and the origins of the Cold War in 1945 and 1946.
It is without doubt that the conflicting national interests between the West and USSR played a role in the origins of the Cold War in 1945 and 1946. Source 8 mentions “the atomic bombardment of Japan and the abrupt end of the War in the Pacific”, which was a significant factor in building up the tensions that lead to the Cold War. The US had a few reasons in deciding to abruptly, but there were two notable reasons. The first being that the US wanted to end the war as quickly as they possible could to minimise casualties and to showcase their strength on the international stage to strike fear and deter their opponents, one being the USSR. This directly conflicted with the USSR’s aim to expand their territory into Eastern China, which was agreed upon as one of the conditions in the Yalta Conference of 1945, as it abruptly ended the war, stopping the USSR’s invasion into Manchuria. This clearly increased tensions between the West and the USSR, as the US violated the conditions unannounced and foiling Russian plans.
Another factor that lead to the Cold War in 1945-46 was Churchill’s giving of the ‘Iron Curtain’ speech, which, I believe, falls into both categories of personalities and conflicting national interests. This speech was aimed to improve relations between the British and the Americans by forming an alliance, but it was built upon the denunciation of Russian communism and...