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To What Extent Was The Us Responsible For The Collapse Of The Grand Alliance At The End Of Ww2?

1398 words - 6 pages

To what extent was the United States responsible for the collapse of the Grand Alliance at the end of WWII?The role the United States played in the collapse of the Grand Alliance varies depending on who you ask; there are the Orthodox group who place the sole blame for the collapse on Soviet shoulders, or the Revisionists who believe that the Soviets actions were a legitimate response to the threat held by the USA's economic and strategic capitalist attack on Europe. And finally, in the middle are the Post-Revisionists whose interpretations reach the verdict that both world powers were to blame. The role the USA played in the collapse will be explored further in this essay, as well as the ...view middle of the document...

The Russian take on their role was that the USA's economic power would dominate these proposed new financial systems and establish them as a world power and oppose the economic interests of the USSR. The USA's reasons for this economic revival was to contain communist spread, through such programmes like Marshall Aid, and therefore protect their own system of capitalism.The decision by Truman to disclose to Stalin that he had "a new weapon of unusual destructive force" has been questioned thoroughly by many, however Stalin's reaction by even more. Secretary of State, James Byrne at the time stated, "Stalin's only reply was to say that he was glad to hear of the bomb and he hoped that we would use it [against the Japanese]. (…) Later I concluded that, because the Russians kept secret their developments in military weapons, they thought it improper to ask us about ours." Stalin may have simply just been putting on a face, however, as soon after he received this information he saw the devastation it could bring with the attack on Hiroshima on the 6th August and then Nagasaki 3 days later. By 1949, the Soviets had developed their own nuclear weapons. The USA's attempts at 'atomic diplomacy' and the decision to play a nuclear monopoly, as well as adopting such an aggressive tone towards the USSR, meant that the two world powers would have even more trouble finding an even footing for some form of peace.Nevertheless, the American's can't have been purely to blame as the Cold War had two major aggressors. The leader of the USSR, Joseph Stalin, was committed to protecting both Russia's land and people. It had been severely damaged during the war, and so sought out reparation payments from those who had caused the damage, Germany. He didn't want Germany to rebuild like the USA did; instead he wanted them to remain weak for the indefinite future while giving them the money he felt they deserved. As a result of the Potsdam conference, it was agreed that Russia would receive 25%, (15% would be in exchange for materials such as food, coal and timber, 10% without exchange), however this money could only be taken if it was "unnecessary for the German peace recovery". Later, the reparation payments from the USA's zone of Germany were stopped until an overall plan for the German economy was reached. The Soviet's saw this as an American ploy to strengthen Western European countries to prevent the spread of communism and instead restore Germany with a capitalist system.The supposed American ploy mentioned above angered Stalin especially because he was attempting to gradually spread communism throughout Western Europe. The USSR already had an established base in Poland, as this was the backdoor to Russia and all of their enemies had invaded them this way. Stalin believed that in order to fully protect Russia he had to have more than one sphere of influence and so attempted to install...

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