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Cold war and communism essay

At the Second Quebec Conference , a high-level military conference held in Quebec City, 12—16 September , Churchill and Roosevelt reached agreement on a number of matters, including a plan for Germany based on Henry Morgenthau Jr. The memorandum drafted by Churchill provided for "eliminating the warmaking industries in the Ruhr and the Saar It directed the U. The Soviet Union was initially not allowed to participate and the dispute led to heated correspondence between Franklin Roosevelt and Stalin.

Wolff and his forces were being considered to help implement Operation Unthinkable , a secret plan to invade the Soviet Union which Winston Churchill advocated during this period. At the February Yalta Conference , the Allies attempted to define the framework for a postwar settlement in Europe. The Allies could not reach firm agreements on the crucial questions: the occupation of Germany, postwar reparations from Germany, and the fate of Poland.

In occupied Germany, the US and the Soviet Union established zones of occupation and a loose framework for four-power control with the ailing French and British. At the Potsdam Conference starting in late July , the Allies met to decide how to administer the defeated Nazi Germany, which had agreed to unconditional surrender nine weeks earlier on May 7 and May 8, , VE day. Serious differences emerged over the future development of Germany and Eastern Europe. Truman , who on April 12 succeeded to the office upon Roosevelt's death.

Truman was unaware of Roosevelt's plans for post-war engagement with the Soviet Union, [ citation needed ] and more generally uninformed about foreign policy and military matters. This group tended to take a harder line towards Moscow than Roosevelt had done. The UK was represented by a new prime minister, Clement Attlee , who had replaced Churchill after the Labour Party's defeat of the Conservatives in the general election. Stalin became aware that the Americans were working on the bomb through his spy network, however. Shortly after the attacks, Stalin protested to US officials when Truman offered the Soviets little real influence in occupied Japan.

The immediate end of war material shipments from America to the USSR after the surrender of Germany also upset some politicians in Moscow, who believed this showed the U. After the war, Stalin sought to secure the Soviet Union's western border by installing communist-dominated regimes under Soviet influence in bordering countries. During and in the years immediately after the war, the Soviet Union annexed several countries as Soviet Socialist Republics within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Many of these were originally countries effectively ceded to it by Nazi Germany in the Molotov—Ribbentrop Pact , before Germany invaded the Soviet Union. The defining characteristic of the Stalinist communism implemented in Eastern Bloc states was the unique symbiosis of the state with society and the economy, resulting in politics and economics losing their distinctive features as autonomous and distinguishable spheres.

In February , George F. Kennan 's Long Telegram from Moscow helped articulate the growing hard line against the Soviets. Later writing as "Mr. From the standpoint of the Soviets, the speech was an incitement for the West to begin a war with the USSR , as it called for an Anglo-American alliance against the Soviets [64] " [31].

Having lost 20 million people in the war, suffered German invasion twice in 30 years, and suffered tens of millions of casualties from onslaughts from the West three times in the preceding years, the Soviet Union was determined to destroy Germany's capacity for another war.

This was in alignment with the U. On September 6, , James F. Byrnes made a speech in Germany , repudiating the Morgenthau Plan and warning the Soviets that the US intended to maintain a military presence in Europe indefinitely. Byrnes ' speech Restatement of Policy on Germany. With the initial planning for the Marshall plan in mid , a plan which depended on a reactivated German economy, [70] restrictions placed on German production were lessened.

The scrapping of JCS paved the way for the currency reform which halted rampant inflation. Stalin opposed the Marshall Plan.

The Cold War: Containment

He had built up the Eastern Bloc protective belt of Soviet controlled nations on his Western border, [71] and wanted to maintain this buffer zone of states combined with a weakened Germany under Soviet control. Western Allies conducted meetings in Italy in March with German representatives to forestall a takeover by Italian communist resistance forces in northern Italy and to hinder the potential there for post-war influence of the civilian communist party.

Relations further deteriorated when, in January , the U. State Department also published a collection of documents titled Nazi—Soviet Relations, — Documents from the Archives of The German Foreign Office , which contained documents recovered from the Foreign Office of Nazi Germany [81] [82] revealing Soviet conversations with Germany regarding the Molotov—Ribbentrop Pact , including its secret protocol dividing eastern Europe, [83] [84] the German—Soviet Commercial Agreement , [83] [85] and discussions of the Soviet Union potentially becoming the fourth Axis Power.

The first major crisis in the emerging Cold War was the Berlin Blockade of — Fink argues that this crisis, "occupies a special place in Cold War historiography, as an emblem of Soviet aggressiveness and Anglo-American resistance. Because Berlin was located within the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany, the only available methods of supplying the city were three limited air corridors. By February , because of massive post-war military cuts, the entire United States army had been reduced to , men. At no time did the Soviet military or the Politburo contemplate a military escalation of the Berlin crisis.

The United States, the Berlin crisis underscored the need to reverse the demobilization of the Army. On July 20, , President Truman reopened the military draft. He called for nearly 10 million men to register for military service within the next two months. The dispute over Germany escalated after Truman refused to give the Soviet Union reparations from West Germany's industrial plants because he believed it would hamper Germany's economic recovery further.

Stalin responded by splitting off the Soviet sector of Germany as a communist state. The dismantling of West German industry was finally halted in , when Germany agreed to place its heavy industry under the control of the European Coal and Steel Community , which in took over the role of the International Authority for the Ruhr.

Cold War - Wikipedia

At other times there were signs of caution. Stalin observed his agreement with Churchill and did not aid the communists in the struggle against the British-supported anti-communist regime in Greece. In Finland he accepted a friendly, non-communist government; and Russian troops were withdrawn from Austria by the end of The Soviet military was focused on its main mission, the defense of the Soviet Union.

Historian David Glantz argues that:. The Cold War took place worldwide, but it had a somewhat different timing and trajectory outside Europe. The main rivals then sought bases of support in the new national political alignments. After , with the Cold War emerging in Europe, Washington made repeated efforts to encourage all the Latin American countries to take a Cold War anti-Communist position. They were reluctant to do so — for example, only Colombia sent soldiers to the United Nations contingent in the Korean War.

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The Soviet Union was quite weak across Latin America. Not until the late s did Moscow achieve diplomatic or commercial relationships with most Latin American countries. The communist movements that had existed in Brazil and elsewhere in the s had been disbanded or outlawed. In , at the 10th Inter-American Conference in Caracas, Washington demanded a resolution that the establishment of a communist government in any American state was a threat to the peace of the hemisphere.

Guatemala cast the only negative vote. Guatemala's military, with CIA encouragement, overthrew its left-wing government later that year. The United States and the smaller Latin countries, outvoted the larger powers by the required two-thirds majority in to identify Cuba as a communist regime and suspend it from the OAS.

After the war ended, Malaya was plunged into a state of emergency as British and Commonwealth forces fought a protracted counter-insurgency war against their former communist-led MPAJA ally, who had fought the Japanese and now demanded independence from Britain. Australia's entry into the Cold War came in , when it rushed combat air and sea forces into the Korean War, two days after the Americans did.

The Australian Prime Minister received a hero's welcome in Washington. Public opinion in Australia was intensely hostile to Japan after its wartime atrocities, but Japan was now an ally in the Cold War, so Australia's accepted the very generous soft peace treaty with Japan in Instead of worrying about a resurgent Japan, Australia now worried more about a possible Chinese threat.

Following decades of struggle, in the Chinese Communists under Mao Zedong defeated Chiang Kai-shek 's Nationalist armies and took control of the mainland. The Nationalist leaders and much of China's upper class fled to Taiwan where they had American protection. Stalin had long supported Chiang Kai-shek, while also giving some help to the Communists.

The United States had tried in — to bring the Nationalists and Communists together in a coalition, but had no success. The conflict was not therefore part of the Cold War until — The two set up rival communist organizations in countries across the world. France for many years had been dealing with a nationalist insurgency in Vietnam in which communists, led by Ho Chi Minh , played a prominent leadership role. In , Mao's Communists took control of the north side of the China-Vietnam border, and began supporting the insurgents, especially by providing sanctuary from French attacks.

Mark Lawrence and Frederik Logevall point out that "resurgent French colonialism became inextricably intertwined with Cold War tensions, especially in the years after The political situation in Iran was a flashpoint between the major players in —46, with the Soviet Union sponsoring two breakaway provinces in northern Iran, adjacent to the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan.

Communism And The Cold War Essay

Soviet troops were stationed in northwestern Iran during the war. They not only refused to withdraw in but backed revolts that established short-lived, pro-Soviet separatist national states called the Azerbaijan People's Government and the Republic of Kurdistan. The issue was debated at the United Nations, and in Moscow abandoned its position, and the conflict was permanently resolved peacefully, with a pro-western government resuming control.

Iran did not become a major battlefield of the Cold War, but it had its own history of confrontation with Britain and the United States. The long-standing conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Mandatory Palestine region continued after , with Britain and in an increasingly impossible situation as the mandate holder.

The Balfour Declaration of calling for a homeland for the Jews was supported in by both the Soviet Union and the United States. Both countries promptly Recognize the independent state of Israel in The Soviet Union later broke with Israel to support its Arab enemies. The region was more of an independent trouble zone rather than a playing field of the Cold War, and was not a precipitating factor in the Cold War. By , Arab nationalism based in Egypt was a neutralizing force. The Soviet Union leaned increasingly toward Egypt.

While most historians trace its origins to the period immediately following World War II, others argue that it began with the October Revolution in Russia in when the Bolsheviks took power. He began with a new Communist International "Comintern" , based in Moscow, which was designed to plan for revolutionary upheavals abroad.

It was ineffective—Communist uprisings all failed in Germany, Hungary and elsewhere. The idea of long-term continuity is a minority scholarly view that has been challenged. Frank Ninkovich writes:. There is also a rationalist and institutionalist view regarding the origins of the Cold War, which posits that the confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States needs to be regarded as a means to create a bipolar international order favourable to both superpowers.

The usage of the term "Cold War" to describe the postwar tensions between the U. Since the term "Cold War" was popularized in , there has been extensive disagreement in many political and scholarly discourses on what exactly were the sources of postwar tensions.

Officials in the Truman administration placed responsibility for postwar tensions on the Soviets, claiming that Stalin had violated promises made at Yalta, pursued a policy of expansionism in Eastern Europe, and conspired to spread communism throughout the world. According to Williams and later writers influenced by his work—such as LaFeber, author of the popular survey text America, Russia, and the Cold War published in ten editions between and —U. In order to ensure this goal, they pursued a policy of ensuring an " Open Door " to foreign markets for U.

From this perspective, a growing economy domestically went hand-in-hand with the consolidation of U. Williams and LaFeber also dismissed the assumption that Soviet leaders were committed to postwar "expansionism. Gaddis, however, argues that the conflict was less the lone fault of one side or the other and more the result of a plethora of conflicting interests and misperceptions between the two superpowers, propelled by domestic politics and bureaucratic inertia.

While Gaddis does not hold either side as entirely responsible for the onset of the conflict, he argues that the Soviets should be held at least slightly more accountable for the problems. According to Gaddis, Stalin was in a much better position to compromise than his Western counterparts, given his much broader power within his own regime than Truman, who had to contend with Congress and was often undermined by vociferous political opposition at home.

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Communism During The Cold War History Essay

Asking if it were possible to predict if the wartime alliance would fall apart within a matter of months, leaving in its place nearly a half century of cold war, Gaddis wrote in a essay, "Geography, demography, and tradition contributed to this outcome but did not determine it. It took men, responding unpredictably to circumstances, to forge the chain of causation; and it took [Stalin] in particular, responding predictably to his own authoritarian, paranoid, and narcissistic predisposition, to lock it into place.

Global historian Prasenjit Duara has placed the issue in a global context:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Molotov—Ribbentrop Pact. Main article: Eastern Bloc. Main article: X Article. Main article: Iron Curtain. Main article: Falsifiers of History. Main article: Berlin Blockade. See also: Arab Cold War. Tucker The History of American Foreign Policy from Eyewitnesses to the Russian Revolution. Encyclopedia Britannica. The consequence is an America less prepared than it could have been to deal with the big challenges of the future: the rise of China and India, the transfer of economic power from West to East, and systemic challenges like climate change and disease epidemics.

If the United States won the Cold War but failed to capitalize on it, then the Soviet Union, or rather Russia, lost it, and lost it big. One day they had been the elite nation in a superpower union of republics. The next, they had neither purpose nor position. Materially, things were bad, too. Old people did not get their pensions. Some starved to death. Malnutrition and alcoholism shortened the average life span for a Russian man from nearly 65 in to less than 58 in If many Russians felt robbed of a future, they were not wrong.


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Often, the new owners stripped these assets and closed down production. In a state in which unemployment had, officially at least, been nonexistent, the rate of joblessness rose through the s to peak at 13 percent. In retrospect, the economic transition to capitalism was a catastrophe for most Russians. It is also clear that the West should have dealt with post-Cold War Russia better than it did.

Both the West and Russia would have been considerably more secure today if the chance for Russia to join the European Union, and possibly even NATO, had at least been kept open in the s.


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Instead, their exclusion has given Russians the sense of being outcasts and victims — which, in turn, has given credence to embittered jingoists like President Vladimir Putin, who see all the disasters that have befallen the country over the past generation as an American plot to reduce and isolate it. The shocks of the s have given way to an uninhibited cynicism among Russians, which not only encompasses a deep distrust of their fellow citizens but also sees conspiracies against themselves everywhere, often contrary to fact and reason. Over half of all Russians now believe Leonid Brezhnev was their best leader in the 20th century, followed by Lenin and Stalin.

Gorbachev is at the bottom of the list. For others around the world, the end of the Cold War undoubtedly came as a relief. China is often seen as a major beneficiary of the Cold War. This is not entirely true, of course. For decades, the country was under a Marxist-Leninist dictatorship that was out of tune with its needs. A result, during the Maoist era, was some of the most terrible crimes of the Cold War, in which millions died. In the multipolar world now establishing itself, the United States and China have emerged as the strongest powers.

Their competition for influence in Asia will define the outlook for the world. Russia and China, unlike the Soviet Union, are not likely to seek isolation or global confrontation. They will attempt to nibble away at American interests and dominate their regions. But neither China nor Russia is willing or able to mount a global ideological challenge backed by military power. Rivalries may lead to conflicts, or even local wars, but not of the systemic Cold War kind. The ease with which many former Marxists have adapted themselves to post-Cold War market economics raises the question of whether this had been an avoidable conflict in the first place.

With hindsight, the outcome was not worth the sacrifice — not in Angola, not in Vietnam, Nicaragua or Russia, for that matter. But was it avoidable back in the s, when the Cold War went from an ideological conflict to a permanent military confrontation? There were points along the way when leaders could have held back, especially on military rivalry and the arms race. But the ideological conflict at the root of the tension made such sensible thinking very difficult to achieve. People of good will on both sides believed that they were representing an idea whose very existence was threatened.

It led them to take otherwise avoidable risks with their own lives and the lives of others. The Cold War affected everyone in the world because of the threat of nuclear destruction it implied. In this sense, nobody was safe from the Cold War. Historically, most Great Power rivalries end in a cataclysm. The Cold War did not, but on a couple of occasions, we were much closer to nuclear devastation than any but a few realized.