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The Origin of The Cold War Argumentative Essay

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The Origin of The Cold War Argumentative Essay essay
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The cold war was a rivalry between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States (US). During the World War II, the US and USSR were allies, with the plan to defeat the Nazi Germany. In 1945, there was a meeting held in Yalta (Soviet Union) of three of the main leaders of the allies during the war, Churchill (Prime Minister of Britain), Roosevelt (President of the United States) and Stalin (Leader of the USSR), forming what is called ‘The Grand Alliance’. The discussion between three leaders was based on the shape of post war world after the collapse of the areas controlled by the Nazi, which is when the disagreement joins in, leading to the start of Cold War in 1947.

After the World War II, the Soviets created a sphere of influence in eastern Europe, dominating the countries where the Nazi Germany has been pushed back. From the beginning, the US had the advantage, as they had more money and power that could provide Europe with protection, while the USSR had to rebuilt itself. Europe was the first battleground of the Cold War, especially Germany, which was divided into two parts with the former capital, Berlin, which was also divided into two part (East and West). In 1948, the Soviets tried to cut off West Berlin by closing the main road that led into the city, but, the Berlin airlift stopped them, however, the US response to the Soviets with a policy called ‘Containment’, to stop the growth of communism. The breakdown of the Grand Alliance in 1949 marked the beginning of the Cold War and laid the foundation of the stage on which the global conflict would take place influencing the lives of millions across the world.

The essay will be analyzed by looking at the biographies of the leader of US and USSR, resources from the DP History course, and various peer-edited websites that relates to the History of the Cold War. This essay indicates the emergence of Cold War and variety of perspectives on the reason behind the trigger of the conflict and which side are responsible for this. The traditionalist blame Stalin (Soviet Union) for the start of Cold War, while the Revisionist contradicts that it is the US fault and Post-revisionist, mention the ideology and condition is the main cause of the breakdown of the Grand Alliance, leading to the start of Cold War in 1947, as there are many different perspectives and it is arguably that neither the US or the USSR are the cause of Cold War, the Post-revisionist was certainly the most sensible perspective. Through inspection of the role of leaders and their ideology towards the post war involving Asia nations, such China, Vietnam, Korea and more to join the Cold War. These perspectives prompt the question that will be discussed in this essay: To what extent was the Soviet Union responsible for the breakdown of the Grand Alliance and the start of the Cold War (1943-1949)?

To what extent was the USSR responsible for the collapse of G.A and start the C.W (Traditionalist) The Traditionalist perspective of the Cold War emerged between the United States historians and other Western nations (Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr, Herbert Feis, Thomas A. Bailey and Louis J. Halle), it ascribes the outbreak of the Cold War to Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union (USSR). It was argued by many historians that the Soviet initiated the Cold War by their attempt to expand and exert control over Europe and Asia. After World War II ended, Stalin wanted to ensure the security of the Soviet Union, the expansion of communism, secure his position and create a Soviet empire. In order to achieve these objectives, Stalin broke the agreements at the Yalta and Potsdam Conference in 1945. The Soviet political leadership (Stalin) led to the collapse of the Grand Alliance and fired the first shot to start the Cold War.

Stalin took part in the Tehran Conference (1943), hosted by Franklin Roosevelt (president of the United States) and the British Prime Minister, Churchill. Stalin agreed to conduct eastern offensive operations and in return of that, he asked the western leaders to proceed with formal preparation for their invasion and regaining of German-occupied France. In addition, Stalin also demand on retaining the territories provided by the German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact of 1939. However, the western allies did not approve on what Stalin proposed but instead, opportunistic. They agreed to Stalin’s demands as they needed the USSR to defeat the Nazi Germany (Third Reich). The decisions made at the Tehran Conference in May 1944, led the UK and US to invade the France. It allowed the USSR to move across eastern Europe toward Germany. At this point, it was clear that the Nazi Germany was near defeat and that the ‘Big Three’ needed another conference to discuss about the future of Europe, Yalta Conference (February 1945).

The USSR was hoping to obtain more land and secure positions in their new zones of influence, while the US wanted to ensure that the Soviet will enter the Pacific war against Japan and discuss postwar settlement. Stalin made it clear that his demands on Poland were not negotiable, which is to gain ‘their territory’ from the eastern of Poland. In addition, Roosevelt’s (US) goal was to obtain a full commitment from Stalin (USSR) to be part of the United Nations (UN), in return of to secure peace and alliance. Surprisingly, Stalin has agreed to enter the Pacific war against Japan (1945) in exchange for more territories and join the UN, however, Roosevelt failed to realize Stalin’s true objectives. The two leaders (UK and US) secretly negotiated to have their power permitted to the permanent members on the UN, this allow themselves with control that could weakening the UN power in the oncoming disagreements.

Overall, The US and UK were confident that the Yalta Conference was successful, that they could control Stalin from causing more trouble for them, nevertheless, the real winner in this case was once again, Joseph Stalin (USSR), as the USSR was able to install Communist regimes in central Europe. The USSR was pressing back against the German invasion, result with victory in the East, Stalin used that during the wartime conferences for his postwar Soviet empire expansion, approximately 15 million Soviets were killed or captured and more than 70,000 villages were destroyed. Furthermore, Stalin wanted ‘friendly governments’ around the USSR for protection from invasions, especially from former allies (UK and US). This is a smart move from Stalin, as it allows his nations to grow and become stronger in order to achieve his goals.

In 1944-1945, Stalin knew that the Red Army and its victories is an opportunity to expand communism. This led him to adopt the policy of supporting communist parties in the eastern Europe. In the years after the Soviet liberation of countries, Stalin thinks that the new governments were sympathetic to the Communism adopt by him. He made sure that the Communist government follow his objectives. His desire to expand communism was the trigger of Soviet policy in the aftermath of WW2. However, this warns the west to see the USSR as its enemy. Stalin desire to establish an empire from the countries that the Red Army had liberated, this is not only for political reasons but also for economic. Stalin wanted to establish puppet regimes in eastern Europe so they would provide the USSR with resources and markets for their goods. Stalin’s domination of eastern Europe is one of the main factors on starting the Cold War in 1947.

To what extent was the U.S responsible for the collapse of G.A and start the C.W (Revisionist) The Revisionist has argued that the actions of the United States were greatly responsible for the Grand Alliance collapse, that the foreign economic policy of the US after 1945 represented an attempt to expand its influence into the eastern Europe. The Marshall Plan refers to the economic initiative launched by the United States on (June 5th 1947), to help the European economies in recovering from the devastation of WW2. However, with a disagreement at the conferences, it broke down the allies and turn them into enemy, in this case, it was the US and the USSR that cause a further conflict between the two super powers, involving the most powerful weapon to be use at that time and started the Cold War.

The United States were open about their goal, which they stated that one of the goals was” the revival of working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institution can exist”-Marshall. The Soviets believed that the Americans intended to undermine the USSR’s attempts to construct an economic plan in eastern Europe. The American’s “open-door policy” of total free trade between nations, rather than offering the USSR a settlement. Therefore, if the Marshall Plan did increase the postwar tensions, which was only because of the actions that has already taken by the Soviet Union, the plan was a response to the Soviet aggression which had caused Cold War.

In July 16th 1945, the largest man-made explosion in history was experimented at the Alamogordo test site in New Mexico, and the US was immediately push themselves into a position of total military superiority. Stalin and the USSR feel threatened by the United States. Particularly after the atom bomb was created and used, it was tested in Japan (March, 9, 1945) it was argued that Truman could have warned the Japanese about the attack so that they could evacuated, perhaps a bomb could have been used on an area where there are no people, resulting in 80,000 death of civilians.it left the Soviets with one option, which is either become allies with the US or be confronted with American power and hostility.

At the Potsdam conference (1945), President Truman, who took over in 1945 after Roosevelt, Truman announced that the US was in possession of a “new weapon of unusual destructive force” or which is known as the deadliest weapon in the world at that time, however, the USSR also have an atomic weapon programmed, with spies passing nuclear secrets to Moscow’s scientists in 1945, allowing them to be able to caught up with the technologies from the US. The Berlin Blockade (June 1948-May 1949) took place before the Soviets successfully experimented their nuclear bomb in August 29th 1949. The USSR leaders knew that the US wanted to avoid a war with Soviet Union at almost any case, as they knew that the USSR may have a chance on defeating the US, only after August 1949 the US offer a new policy, which is the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), proving that the fear from the US towards the USSR is true.

At the Yalta conference (February 1945), only months away from the defeat of Nazi Germany, they discuss the fate of European nations which had been liberated from the German, controlled by the troops of USSR. The western leaders, Roosevelt (US) and Churchill (UK) wanted Stalin (USSR) to conduct free and fair elections, short of a full-scale war with the USSR, there was not much things Roosevelt (US) could have done to prevent Stalin from turning eastern European countries into communist. The violations of the USSR promise at the Yalta created a tension between the former allies (UK and US) and even before V-E Day, therefore it is he United States are the reason for the collapse of the Grand Alliance and the start of Cold War in 1947.

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