In addition, many historians believe that there were a number of things that could have served as a set off for the cold war. The three main events that historians point to as the triggers for this war were the coup d’tat in Czechoslovakia, the Berlin blockade and the 1 947 Greek conflict. However, it is quite difficult to clarify the exact turning point and the inevitability of this war simply because the conditions during that period of time were highly intricate. In this paper, will be examining a variety of diverse sources and arguments to answer the hard question of whether the cold war was inevitable or not.
We must first take a glance at the years and events prior to the war. First off, Russia and the United States had an extensive record of conflict, since the late 19th century Tsarist era (Labeler, 1980: 1-7) Moreover, the relationship between the U. S and the Soviet Union deteriorated when Stalin rose to power. Secondly, one widespread view amongst many historians is the fact that there were great uncertainties and rising misinterpretations between the East and West. It was obvious that during WI the U.
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S, the I-J, and the Soviet Union were in need of each others support and set up an alliance. However, according to Eric Hobgoblin’s opinion, “it is not surprising that the alliance broke down at the end of the war as even less heterogeneous coalitions so often do at the end of wars” (Hobnails, 1994: 231 ) In February 1 945, there was a conference in Yalta which was held to talk about agreements to be signed after the war. It was known that Stalin was a skilled actor who was able of portraying an image that he did not carry.
At the conference, Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt were enchanted y Stalin and fell for his act and truly believed that he was a good willed individual. After that, Stalin was able to take over Poland and this was proof that Stalin was not good willed. Friedman stated that just days before Roosevelt death, he “acknowledged the fact that Stalin had broken all the agreements made at Yalta” (Friedman, 2000: 43) Moving on, as soon as Harry S. Truman became president, he was told that Soviet spies had infiltrated the U.
S government. During the alliance that the KICK, the U. S and the USSR had, both the KICK and the U. S ended their spying on the Soviets. On the other hand, Stalin did not. Since alliances are built on mutual trust, Stalin clearly breached his alliance with the two countries. The doubts, accusations and finger pointing rose rapidly in a “domino effect” in 1946 and 1947. Stalin’s speech in the early months of 1 946 spoke about how capitalism and communism are not compatible. This speech aimed to clarify a warning of war.
Shortly after, Churchill decided to also have a speech and called upon the west to come together against Stalin. According to Labeler, although the United States did not have an eager reaction to Stalin’s speech, the two countries had a confrontation in Europe, Iran, Manchuria and Turkey in 1946 (Labeler, 1 980: 30) As Ball has shown, prior to Trauma’s talk to congress about the Marshall plan, the policy advisor to the American President, Bernard Branch, had a speech in which he stated that the U.
S was in the ‘midst of a cold war’ (Ball, 1998: 9) The next two points that will be mentioned are seen to be the main factors that contributed to the start of the cold war. To begin with; the Czech coup d’tat in 1948. Czechoslovakia underwent a unionism coup and that, amongst other factors increased the worries that the communists will gain control of Europe. Especially since countries such as Italy and France already had tough communist parties, this also added more fear to the possibility of losing Europe.
The second and more important point is that Germany was the centre of European industrialization and economy. Even though the Soviets were scared of Germany, they were well aware that Germany’s resources would aid them in reconstructing their country and the Soviets were not intending to allow Germany to recover from the devastation t was dealing with because of their loss in the Second World War. The IIS on the other hand required the German industry and economy to recover because only then would the rest of Europe recover.
Therefore, according to Charles F. Phoenicia, ” ‘the Soviet and German Communist persistence on complete control over East Germany’s economic and political systems seemed to be groundless and threatening to the West and the West’s demands for free elections and competing markets seemed to be equally needless and dangerous to Moscow (Pentateuch, 1995) 1 With regards to the Berlin Blockade, Stalin’s intention when he ordered for it was to get the Westerners out of Berlin. According to Labeler, however, the blockade made the West stronger because the U.
S began to send everything that Berlin was in need of via planes and shortly after that, the Soviets ended the blockade (Labeler, 1980: 76-77). When analyzing these incidents, it is understandable that many argue for the inevitability of the cold war. When two superpowers with different ideologies rise at the same period of time, it only makes sense that they will confront each other. However, the U. S and the USSR were aware of the fact that if there was a war with the United States; Europe, the USSR and possibly even America itself would be destroyed.
Hence, it is clear that a direct war did not occur but a long-lasting cold war did. However, I believe that the cold war was not inevitable and that it was a plan that was intentionally put in action. The following points support the above stated opinion. Stalin was a merciless dictator who avoided direct altercation that may have threatened his position. Power was his main objective. He wasn’t politically straight forward with the U. S; he aggravated, perplexed, and startled to achieve his objective.
In addition, Friedman showed that after retiring, the USER’S foreign minister Evasively Molotov, acknowledged the fact that there never was a set timing for the USER’S expansion and that all the schemes, dreams, and ideas were of a completely communist world and perhaps even having a socialist America (Friedman, 2000: 58) As Labeler shows in his book, after the speech held by Truman in March 1947, George Keenan, a diplomat who later became the United States ambassador to the Soviet Union, was resentfully against sending the U.
S army to the Mediterranean, stating that it would be too offensive and that it would “take containment one step too far” (Labeler, 1 980: 54-55) Moreover, both America and the USSR greatly decreased the number of their troops between the years 1945 and 1 948 and the Soviets were facing trouble against pro-self government guerrillas on their western borders. Also, the User’s population was becoming distrustful and skeptical of Stalin, regardless of the Soviet Union’s propaganda. This makes it quite difficult to believe that a country in such a state would actually want war.
Moreover, according to Hobnails, after the war, the User’s position was defensive and not aggressive (Hobnails, 1994: 233) Also, American foreign policy at the time was to uphold external surroundings, situations and affairs that contribute to the prosperity and survival of its home institutions. On the other hand, the USER’S policy was aimed at building a communist front all over Europe to serve as a shield for them.