No issue in twentieth-century American history has aroused more debate than the question of the origins of the Cold War. Some have claimed that Soviet duplicity and expansionism created the international tensions, while others have proposed that American provocations and imperial ambitions were at least equally to blame. Most historians agree both the United States and the Soviet Union contributed to the atmosphere of hostility and suspicions that quickly clouded the peace. At the heart of the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1940 s was a fundamental difference in the ways the great powers envisions the postwar world.
One vision, first openly outlined in the Atlantic Charter in 1941, was of a world in which nations abandoned their traditional beliefs in military alliances and spheres of influence and governed their relations with one another through democratic processes, with an international organization serving as a arbiter of disputes and the protector of every nation’s right of self-determination. That vision appealed to many Americans, including Franklin Roosevelt. The other vision was that of the Soviet Union and to some extent, it gradually became clear, of Great Britain. Both Stalin and Churchill had signed the Atlantic Charter. But Britain had always been uneasy about the implications of the self-determination ideal for its own enormous empire.
An the Soviet Union was determined to crease a secure sphere for itself in Central and Eastern Europe as protection against possible future aggression from eh West. Churchill and Stalin tended to envision a postwar structure in which the great powers would control areas of strategic interest to them, in which something vaguely similar to the traditional European balance of power would reemerge. Serious strains had already begun to develop in the alliance with the Soviet Union in January 1943, when Roosevelt and Churchill met in Casablanca, Morocco, to discuss Allied strategy. The two leaders could not accept Stalin’s most important demand-the immediate opening of the second front in Western Europe. But they tried to reassure Stalin by announcing that they would accept nothing less than the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers, thus indicating that they would not negotiate a separate peace with Hitler and leave the Soviets to fight on alone. Stalin agreed to an American request that the Soviet Union enter the war in the Pacific soon after the end of hostilities in Europe.
ter> Modern Russia and The Soviet Union: Stalins character was the main reason for his rise to power Stalin was born as Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili on December 21, 1879 in Gori, Georgia. He grew up in a mountain town of about 5,000 people. He was the third and only surviving child of Vissarion Dzhugashvili and Catherine Geladze. His father used to drink and beat him and his mother; this ...
Roosevelt, in turn, promised that an Anglo-American second front would be established within six months. Roosevelt and Churchill supported the claims of the Polish government-in-exile that had been functioning in London since 1940; Stalin wished to install another, pro-communist exiled government that had spent the war in Lublin, in the Soviet Union. The new United Nations would contain a General Assembly, in which every member would be represented, and a Security Council, with permanent representatives of the five major powers (the United States, Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and China), each of which would have veto powers. Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin, known during the war as the “Big Three”, met at Yalta in the Crimea in February 1945 to try to agree on the outlines of the peace that they knew was soon to come. Instead, they settled on a series of vague compromises that ultimately left all parties feeling betrayed.
Roosevelt envisioned a government based on free, democratic elections. Stalin agreed only to a vague compromise by which an unspecified number of pro-Western Poles would be granted a place in the government. Roosevelt wanted a reconstructed and reunited Germany. Stalin wanted to impose heavy reparations on Germany and to ensure a permanent dismemberment of the nation. The United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union would each control its own “zone of occupation” in Germany. Roosevelt watched with growing alarm as the Soviet Union moved systematically to establish pro-communist governments in one Central or Eastern European nation after another and as Stalin refused to make the changes in Poland that the president believed he had promised.
This year's State Of The Union speech was a very unique one in many ways. First off, it was extremely ambitious considering this is President Clinton's eighth and final year as President of the United States. The sheer amount of propositions brought up were mind boggling, especially for the average American viewer who is not able to comprehend all the slight tricks that President Clinton is using ...
Harry S. Truman, who succeeded Roosevelt in the presidency, had almost no familiarity with international issues. Nor did he share Roosevelt’s apparent faith in the flexibility of the Soviet Union. Roosevelt had apparently believed that Stalin was a reasonable man with whom an ultimate accord might be reached. Truman had been in office only a few days before he decided to “get tough” with the Soviet Union. Truman insisted that the United States should be able to get “85 percent” of what it wanted, but he was ultimately forced to settle for much less.
Truman reluctantly accepted the adjustments of the Polish-German border that Stalin had long demanded; he refused, however, to permit the Russians to claim any reparations from the American, French, and British zones of Germany. By the end of 1945, a new American policy was slowly emerging. The United States and its allies would work to “contain” the threat of further Soviet expansion. Truman decided to enunciate a firm new policy. In doing so, he drew from the ideas of the influential American diplomat George F. Kennan, who had warned not long after the war that in the Soviet Union the United States faced “a political force committed fanatically to the belief that with the U.
S. there can be no permanent modus vivendi,” and that the only answer was “a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies.” In June 1947, therefore, Secretary of state George C. Marshall announced a plan to provide economic assistance to all European nations that would join in drafting a program for recovery. Particularly important was the National Security Act of 1947, which reshaped the nation’s major military and diplomatic institutions. 2. ) A National Security Council (NSC), operating out of the White House, would govern foreign and military policy.
A Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) would replace the wartime Office of Strategic Services and would be responsible for collecting information through both open and covert methods; as the Cold War continued, the CIA would also engage secretly in political and military operations on behalf of American goals. The National Security Act, in other words, gave the president expanded powers with which to pursue the nations international goals. The United States refused to recognize the new communist regime, and instead devoted increased attention to the revitalization of Japan as a buffer against Asian communism, ending the American occupation in 1952. In this atmosphere of escalating crisis, Truman called for a thorough review of American foreign policy. The result was a National Security Council report, issued in 1950 and commonly known as NSC-68, which outlined a shift in the American position. The first statements of the containment doctrine had made at least some distinctions between areas of vital interest to the United States and areas of less importance to the Nation’s foreign policy and called on American to share the burden of containment with its allies.
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It must itself establish firm and active leadership of the noncommunist world. And it must move to stop communist expansion virtually anywhere it occurred, regardless of the intrinsic strategic or economic value of the lands in question.