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5. “More a result of mutual misunderstanding than of expansionist policies by either the USA or the USSR.

” Discuss this view of the origins of the Cold War in the period 1945-1949. Subject: Origins of the Cold War Focus: Cold War more a result of mutual misunderstanding then of expansionist policies Timeframe: 1945-1949 Thesis: I agree with this statement to a great extent. Indeed, mutual misunderstanding was far more crucial in starting the Cold War than expansionist policies by either USA or USSR. In fact, this mutual misunderstanding was an important reason that led to the implementation of expansionist policies by both countries. Point 1: Before the end of the Second World War in 1945, the two nations had already been mutually suspicious of each other. Adding to the pre-war distrust that both nations had beforehand, the disagreements during the war by both parties further intensified the misunderstanding and tension between both nations. One such instance was the Second Front Controversy, whereby USSR had wanted the allies to invade Europe through Normandy in France, which USA and Britain only did so late in the war in 1944, leading Stalin to believe that USA wanted USSR and Germany to weaken each other before stepping in, without considering that USA did not yet have sufficient preparation to assuredly open the Western Front yet, thus resulting in distrust on and misunderstanding on both side, and was important in cementing the post-war distrust and misunderstanding between both superpowers. The wartime conferences too, proved to be another platform for mutual misunderstanding to develop, as both countries disagreed on issues such as the issue on Eastern Europe as well as the reparations and division on Germany, resulting in both countries being suspicious of each other’s motives after the war. These circumstances resulted in the strong post-war misconstrued understanding of both superpowers after the war and contributed in causing the Cold War. Point 2: After the war, this misunderstanding and tension further intensified due to policies implemented by both powers and the misconstrued views each party had on these policies, which further perpetuated their many differences, especially in political, social and ideological aspects. In this aspect, the Soviets were of greater responsibility in contributing further to the mutual misunderstanding, as they, immediately after the war, embarked on unilateral actions of seizing power in Eastern Europe through “salami” tactics. Furthermore, the USSR did not clarify their boundaries of expansionism, and by doing so, caused the USA to mistakenly fear that USSR had a masterplan to spread communism worldwide, a misconstrued but justifiable apprehension. This led to further misunderstanding as the USA undertook actions to halt possible further “sovietisation” by implementing the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan. Misunderstanding that as a direct threat by USA to her, USSR embarked on a “Tit-for-tat” response, setting up the Cominform and COMECON, policies that USA misunderstood as a challenge by the USSR. The differences, as observed from their vastly differing views in the Declaration on Liberated Europe, proved to be further grounds of disagreement and tension which,

thus forcing the USA to respond with the Berlin Airlift. In fact. as well as America’s policy of containment towards USSR can be seen as expansionist policies by both superpowers. taking into account that these policies perceived to be expansionist could actually take root from mutual misunderstanding between both nations. Point 3: However. it is observable that the former is clearly more impactful in worsening ties between the two nations while the latter was merely a series of events that intensified the air of tension and suspicion between both nations – already caused by the mutual misunderstanding.when combined with the post-war distrust and misunderstanding. USSR’s blockade of Berlin was due to her misconstrued and exaggerated fear of USA waging an economic war by setting up Trizonia in the allied zones of Germany. which was the first actual clash between the superpowers. thus resulting in the “tit-for-tat” between both superpowers. resulted in the heightened tension and misunderstanding. responses by both nations as a result of mutual misunderstanding. The Soviets’ expansionist actions and research on the atomic bomb to rival USA. the Cold War was clearly a greater result of mutual misunderstanding as compared to that of expansionist policies practiced by the USA and USSR. it can be argued that mutual misunderstanding itself was insufficient to cause the Cold War. finally causing the Cold War. was crucial in causing the outbreak of the Cold War. as they acted to pre-empt or retaliate against a move they viewed as expansionist by the other. the expansionist policies adopted by both countries were in fact. For example. it can be inferred that the expansionist policies undertaken by USSR and USA were due to their mutual misunderstanding and thus. which then led to strong distrust between both nations. Furthermore. which could easily be misread and were unclear. mutual misunderstanding is indeed the root of the Cold War.As such. with the USSR being of greater responsibility due to her early actions. . that move appeared to challenge the allies’ position in Europe. As such. USSR’s early actions and her paranoia of USA too. Conclusion: By comparing the impact of mutual misunderstanding and distrust between the superpowers against the impact caused by the expansionist policies of either nations.