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The Cold War is one of the biggest conflicts that occurred during the 20th

century. It involved two superpowers: United States and the Soviet


Union with their respective alliances. This rivalry, that developed after
World War II, was also an opposition between the democratic
regimes represented by USA and the communists represented by the
USSR. It divided the world in two sides: West and East.

Was the Cold War inevitable?


The Cold War had to happen for multiple reasons:
First, the Ideological divide
There couldnt be a wider ideological gap than the one
between communism and capitalism.
The first one aims to establish a society structured upon the
common ownership of the means of production and the
absence of social classes, money and the state.
The second one is an ideology based on private ownership of
the means of production and their operation for profit.
Communism stands for a class-less society, which doesnt see
any difference between the rich and the poor. On the other
hand, capitalism divides the society into rich and poor.
LENIN: Fascism is capitalism in decay.
These explicit differences were the first signs of an inevitable
conflict, as their ideologies differ completely, and are the
cause of the tensions and struggle between the 2
Superpowers which led to the Cold War.
But before, there was Franklin Roosevelt, and the Cold War
was far from being inevitable.

Roosevelts personal relationship with Joseph Stalin and


Churchill had strengthened the Big Three alliance against the
Axis powers in World War 2, and his political skills might
have kept the alliance going after the war.
He had also planned to aid Russia after the war.
He gained significant support from Stalin by showing him
respect. So much that Stalin wanted to keep the Big Three
alliance going. But his death in April 1945 changed things in a
day.

Harry Truman had to replace Franklin D. Roosevelt and


become the 33 rd President of the United States when

Roosevelt past away in 1945. Truman is one of the main


factors of the inevitability of the Cold War.
Harry Truman was ignorant of international affairs, which
were to occupy most of his time during his presidency, and
took a hard line against the Soviet Union.
While Roosevelt had planned to aid Russia after war, Truman
took the State Departments advice and decided to rebuild
Germany instead.
In addition to that, Truman put in place 3 measures, with the
help of the State Department experts with anti-Communist
views, like George Kennan:
-The Truman Doctrine in 1947, who was created to counter
Soviet geopolitical expansion.
In 1947, countries outisde Eastern Europe were under threat
from inside communist movements supported by the Soviets.
So, Truman decided that the U.S. could not allow communism
to spread any further and so he promised that the U.S. would
support any nation struggling against communism, based on
the idea of containment.
-The Marshall Plan in 1947, who placed an economic
foundation under the struggling nations of Western Europe.
By doing so, the countries that received the aid were brought
under American influence.
- and The North Atlantic Treaty (1949), which was a
unified military command to resist the Soviet presence in
Europe.
This treaty was answered by the Soviets with the
Warsaw Pact in 1955, which was driven by the desire of
the Soviet Union to dominate Central and Eastern
Europe.

These measures would, he believed, preserve


democracy in Western Europe and thereby help

preserve the freedom of the United States. But they


were the obvious sign that the Cold War was
inevitable, as the common date of the start of the Cold
War is 1947, the year of the Truman Doctrine and the
Marshall Plan. Critics have maintained that Europe
could have righted itself without Trumans measures,
which, they have said, ensured a permanent cold war.

Grand Alliance (WWII) also called The Big Three


Was fouded in 1941

goal: fight against the Axis powers, to fight Hitler

Soviet Union (communist state), USA (worlds greatest capitalist state), UK


(colonial power) they are completely different, which makes hard to
understand the fact that they managed to work together
Leaders: SU: Stalin, USA: Roosevelt, UK: Churchill
Even tho there were Tensions during war time, they were never big enough
to break alliance
Meetings during 1943-45: there were disputes over the growing list of
demands from the USSR
Roosevelt died and tensions increased, replaced by Truman. bc Truman
rejected demands put forth by stalin

At the end of World War II, Germany is starting to be defeated by the Soviet
Union, which is helped by the other two countries of the Soviet Union. They
worked together against their enemy: the Nazi regime. The War ended when
the commander of the Berlin Defense Area surrendered the city to the Soviet
Army. So the big three won WWII. So during a time, when the United states
and the Soviet Union had a commun enemy, they handled to work together.
They even agreed in the Declaration regarding the defeat of Germany and
the Assumption of Supreme Authority by Allied Powers, dividing Germany
in four blocks (the American part, the Sovietic part, the British part and the
French part). The question is, how do the United States and the Soviet Union
arrived to a point in which they want the other ones destruction?

COLD WAR TIMELINE


Timeline:
Yalta conference
Potsdam:
Two atomic bombs:
Ussr controlled 7 states
Speech of churchill
Truman doctrine
Marshall plan
Reaction of ussr when berlin was divided
Berlin crisis
German republic
Creation of the NATO
Warsaw pact
1949 atomic test soviet
Asia and korea:
Vietnam war:
Cuba crisis:

The Yalta and Potsdam conferences were called to help the Allies decide
what would happen to Europe, and in particular Germany, at the end of the
Second World War but In both of them there was a climate of mutual distrust.

Yalta - February 1945: Germany was not yet defeated, so, although
there were tensions about Poland, the big three - Stalin, Roosevelt
and Churchill - managed to agree to split Germany into four zones
of occupation, and to allow free elections in Eastern European
countries. Russia was invited to join the United Nations, and Russia
promised to join the war against Japan when Germany was
defeated.
Potsdam - July
: Germany had been defeated, Roosevelt had died and Churchill had
lost the 1945 election - so there were open disagreements. Truman
came away angry about the size of reparations and the fact that a
communist government was being set up in Poland. Truman did not
tell Stalin that he had the atomic bomb.

Japan was clearly losing the War in the Pacific during those years, and on 6
August 1945, the US dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima causing
117,000 deaths and three days later, they dropped another one on
Nagasaki. So the Japanese were forced to surrender. Americans justified
the fact that the bomb was dropped to end the war in Japan quickly, saving
millions of American casualties.
But the main reasons were obviously two:

Truman dropped the atomic bombs because he wanted to end the war
before the USSR could enter the war in the Pacific and claim the land
promised them at Yalta.

the bomb was dropped to impress the Soviets, and persuaded them to
relax their grip on eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, the USSR effectively controlled seven states in Eastern Europe:


Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and
Albania. In each of these countries, a process of radical transformation
began in the socialist sense: a sort of revolution from the top, intended to
rapidly increase the financial and political resources available to the USSR.

On the 5th March 1946 Churchill delivers his Sinews of Peace speech
which contain the famous phrase ..an iron curtain has descended on
Europe which was the metaphor of a barrier, a military protection behind
which Soviet power was closing and strengthening.
On the 12th March 1947 Truman stated what would become the "Truman
doctrine" that was to ensure the defense of all free countries who opposed
the attempts to subjugate from the USSR.
From that moment on, for 45 years, Europe divided into 2. The climate of
confidence in the anti-fascist struggle fail, communication and business
relations were interrupted. It began a tough confrontation, an un-fought war.

In July 1947 to boost the economy, the US launched a plan of aid designed
by george Marshall. The plan provided for a series of massive loans to
finance reconstruction, in mutual interest: Western economies would be
strengthened and integrated. (Marshall Plan). This was the last call for the
countries that wanted to deploy to the capitalist side.
It was not just humanitarian and economic aid but also a political investment,
consistent with Truman's doctrine. The Urss had always accepted this kind
of aid but this time they refused them and forbade them to all Eastern
European countries.

The result of the Marshall plan ,unwilling by the Americans, was to make the
separation of Europe more definite.
In fact, the Soviet Union reacted by engaging the US in a tough and
dangerous challenge.
Russias response to the merger of the French, USA and UK partitions of
Berlin was to cut all road and rail links to that sector. This meant that those
living in Western Berlin had no access to food supplies and faced starvation.
Food was brought to Western Berliners by US and UK airplanes, an exercise
known as the Berlin Airlift.

The Berlin Crisis favored the definitive constitution in Germany of two


different state entities of the Federal Republic of Germany ,capitalist and the
German Democratic Republic, communist.

In April 1949 while Berlin was still occupied by Soviet troops, Western
countries shuffled an anti-Soviet military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) or the Atlantic Pact, an alliance that resumed the
Atlantic Charter principles in force of which the United States had come to
war against Nazism. The Nato countries committed themselves to a
common military command and committed themselves to focusing on
general political choices.
In response to the entry of West Germany into NATO, the communist
countries also gave in 1955 a military structure, the Warsaw Pact to
coordinate troops, armaments, decisions and commands.

Between the two blocks came down for half a century the radical
incommunicability of the "Cold War.

In November 1949, the first Soviet atomic test in Kazakhstan was


announced, announcing that the armament balance between the two great
powers had been reconstituted and that a third world war would have
produced far more tragic consequences.

In Asia, however, the iron curtain turned out to be more unstable than the
European one. There was a very bloody conflict in Korea, a peninsula
stretched between Communist China and Japan occupied by Americans. In
fact, at the time of the defeat of the Japanese, Korea had been divided into
two, freed to the North by the Red Army and South from the US.
In mid-1950, North troops attacked those in the South. The United States
entrusted the US with the task of defending the attacked country. The Soviet
Union did not intervene in war but let the Chinese do it. But after three years
of conflict, the war ended with nothingness.

The Soviet union received a tough blow after Stalin's death in 1953, in fact,
a complicated stalinization process began and workers' insurances began
to be verified in most provinces. As soon as possible, Easterners fled to the
West. Thus, on one night, on August 31, 1961, Berlin was divided into two
by a wall guarded day and night by the Soviet police. In the following years,
many East Germans in the attempt to overcome him were killed by border
guards until his 9 November 1989.

Grand Alliance (WWII) = The Big Three


1941
goal: fight against the Axis powers
Soviet Union (communist state), USA (worlds greatest capitalist state), UK
(colonial power)
Leaders: SU: Stalin, USA: Roosevelt, UK: Churchill
Tensions during war time, never big enough to break alliance
Meetings during 1943-45: disputes over the growing list of demands from
the USSR
Roosevelt died and tensions increased, bc Truman rejected demands put
forth by stalin

Yalta Conference
Febuary 1945
After the war big 3 had a meeting in Yalta in SU and the purpose was
to discuss the future of various countries involved
Poland: USA and UK: democratic free country vs. SU: communist
country and buffer
Germany: SU: wants it to be weak so that it would not be a threat to
them vs. USA: make it strong again by militarizing and industrializing it
Outcomes:
Agreed to demand Germanys unconditional surrender
Agreed to permit free elections in Eastern Europe (stalin broke that
promise)
Agreed to enter the Asian war against japan
Scheduled other meeting for april to create UN (San Francisco)
AMERICAN CRITICS CHARGED THAT ROOSEVELT HAD SOLD OUT
TO THE SOVIETS AT YALTA!!!

Potsdam conference (july august 1945):


Hitler dead (suicide 30th april)
Truman stalin meeting at Potsdam (Big 3)
Truman hostile and against communism
Truman policy: if countries did not stand w the US, they were w the
SU, and thus their enemy
Outcomes:
Germany and Austria devided into 4 occupation zones (capitals as
well)
All german annexations in Europe were to be reversed (Sudetenland,
Alsace-Lorraine, Austria, westernmost parts of Poland)
Truman mentions ppowerful new weapon to Stalin (ATOMIC BOMB)

Showing distrust: / why the ally between US and USSR broke


1. Big 3 alliance
SU asked USA and allies to start a second front during the war,
which they did w D-day in 1944. Stalin felt that they waited longer
than necessary so that the SU would be weakened by Germany.
2. Atomic bomb
SU not included when UK and USA build atomic bomb during WWII.
3. Marshall Plan
USA created Marshall Plan in 1947 to help rebuild Europe. US providing
assistance to any country as long as they closed off any large communist
movement in their country

Stalin thought it would encourage capitalism and prosperation in these


places did not accept and founded COMECON (Council of Mutual
Economic Assistance) in 1948- redrawing Eastern Europes economies so
that they followed that of SU.

Inevitability of the Cold War

Inevitable = unable to be avoided, evaded, or escaped


The two countries had tensions, but neither of them wanted a fight/war
Tensions: disagreed on many aspects of how to run a county, many
ideological differences
USA: COMMUNIST-FEARING CAPITALISTS, democracy
SOVIET UNION: STRONGLY COMMUNIST AND SEEKING WAYS TO
SPREAD COMMUNISM IN EUROPE, totalitarian country (the ruler of the
country has all the power)
But conflicts happened and then the war was there tensions came out
of control and the solution was the war
After WW2: usa and soviet union were the only powers who were able to
keep production going, and they still had military and manufacturing
capacities creating mistrust

Could the Cold War have been avoided to a certain extent ?

Some key points :


If the US hadnt initiated the development of the Atomic Bomb, it
wouldnt have started an arms race between the US and the Soviet
Union that later on led to the fragile Cuba crisis.

Introducing a buffer that could have helped the Soviet Union and
western Europe form some sort of agreement allowing countries to be
independent and form their own government. Moreover, more
communication would have been vitally important in the prevention of
the Cold War, also creating a map defining the borders of communist
and capitalist countries that satisfied both parties.

The Marshall plan : the point of the Marshall plan was to finance
reconstruction in western Europe after WW2 in order to stop the
spread of communism in exchange. What the US and the Soviet Union
could have done instead was pull ressources and aided western
Europe together, allowing them to get help and assistance and giving
them the freedom to pick their political ideologies with no influence
whatsoever. - something that could not have been done with the
Truman Policy that said that if countries did not stand with the US, they
were with the Soviets and therefore they became their enemies- there
were only two sides according to him, leaving little space to personal
and independant ideologies.

Conclusion : We came to a conclusion that because of all the different


circumstances that had roots dating back to before WW2, the Cold War was
in fact inevitable, mainly for the following reasons :
Two world superpowers had completely different ideologies, and they
were incompatible : (communism vs capitalism) The US couldn't grow
and sell its products to communist countries that wouldnt practice free
trade and buy their products, and vice versa for the Soviet Union : they
cant be communists if the countries surrounding them are all capitalist

Roosevelts death followed by Trumans rise to power and his negative


relations with the Soviet Union, and the establishment of the Marshall
Plan and the Truman Doctrine that made the relationship between The
US and the Soviet Union even worse.

The development of the atomic bomb and the beginning of an arms


race between the two rivals.

Two questions we asked ourselves while preparing the presentation :

Do you think the Cold War would not have happened if Roosevelt had lived longer
and maintained his good relations with the Soviet Union?

Are we in / going to enter a second world war with the current crises between the
US and North Korea, two countries with opposed communist and capitalist
ideologies?