This is from AP history and bear with me because some of the stuff got a little screwed up in transit. 🙂 Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signified, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold but not clothed. There was never a war that this idea can be more correct applied to than the Cold War. According to noted author and Cold War historian Walter Lippman, the Cold War can be defined as a state of tension between states, which behave with great distrust and hostility towards each other, but do not resort to violence. The Cold War encompasses a period from the end of the Second World War (WWII), in 1945, to the fall of the Soviet Union, in 1989.
It also encompassed the Korean and Vietnam Wars and other armed conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, that, essentially, were not wars for people but instead for territories and ideologies. Nevertheless, like its predecessors, the Cold War has been a worldwide power contest in which one expanding power has threatened to make itself predominant, and in which other powers have banded together in a defensive coalition to frustrate it—as was the case before 1815, as was the case in 1914-1918 as was the case from 1939-1945 (Halle 9).
From this power contest, the Cold War erupted. In April 1945, Russian forces that had been triumphant at Stalingrad had pushed the German forces back into Germany and American and British forces that had been victorious in their invasion of Normandy did the same; they met at the Elbe River in central Germany (Lukacs 17).
After World War II, the Soviet Union's economy had declined. Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union, felt compelled to do something to reverse the economic decline and decay. Gorbachev believed that the Soviet Union needed a change and he wanted his nation to catch up with the economic advances of other nations. "Gorbachev's aim had been to strengthen the political and economic systems ...
Europe was separated into two independent halves, one Russian occupied and the other American; from this division, the Cold War emerged. When a power vacuum separates great powers, as one did the United States and the Soviet Union at the end of World War II, they are unlikely to fill it without bumping up against and bruising each other (Gaddis).
This bumping and bruising caused the tensions and hostilities that surfaced in the years following WWII. There are three doctrines examining the origins of the Cold War: Orthodox, the belief that the intransigence of Leninist ideology, the sinister dynamics of a totalitarian society, and the madness of Stalin (McCauley 88) caused the Cold War; Revisionist, the idea that American policy offered the Russians no real choiceeither acquiesce to American proposals or be confronted with American power or hostility (McCauley 90) and thus, America caused the war; and the Post-Revisionist view, a combination of the two, citing both American and Soviet Russian policy as causes.
The fact that both the Orthodox and Revisionist views have convincing evidence is confirmation that the Post-Revisionist viewpoint is the correct assessment of blame. Beyond the evidence that the other two viewpoints provide in support of the Post-Revisionist outlook, there were deep-seated fundamental differences such as the dissimilar attitudes, aims and ideologies that Moscow and Washington subscribed to. One of the fundamental differences between the attitudes of Washington and Moscow originates from the happenings in each nation during and before WWII. The basic factor in producing this national sense of insecurity has been geographical. Throughout its history Russia has been without natural frontiers to serve for its defense (Halle 13).
The Soviet outlook was one of paranoia and insecurity because Soviets had been massacred from their western border several times in their history. In Asian and European historian Elizabeth Seegers chronicle The Pageant of Russian History, there are numerous examples of Russians being devastated by attacks from their western border such as the Napoleonic attack of 1812 and the especially brutal attack by Germany during WWII.
The Term Paper on To what extent did the events of 1945-1946 turn war-time allies into Cold War enemies?
... Americans and the Soviets. It could therefore be argued that the post-war conferences were responsible for the turning of war-time allies into Cold War ... the start of the Cold War in their aggressive expansionism following the end of World War II. However, revisionists such as William Appleman ... Operation Barbarossa by the Germans in June 1941, the Russians were on the same side as Britain and France ...
These humiliating attacks left a permanent impression on Russian mentality that can be observed through their national sentiment. Because of this mindset, Stalin sought to secure a friendly and neutralized western border and the Soviet occupation of half of Europe after WWII presented itself as the perfect time to act on these aspirations. The war is not as in the past, Stalin himself explained to the Yugoslav communist Milovian Djilas in 1945, whosoever occupies a territory also imposes his own social system.It cannot be otherwise (Gaddis).
As demonstrated by this quotation, Stalin planned to install friendly satellite governments in all Soviet subjugated nations, which, as he knew, threatened the western powers presence and authority. Therefore it could be said that the Soviet plan caused the Cold War, which would defend the Orthodox view. The United States, conversely, had an attitude of greatness and an outlook of omnipresence. This outlook differed from the Soviet attitude mainly because the United States stood apart from Europe and its problems, had never been attacked on its native soil and because: When [WWII] was done there rested spirits of most Americans the belief that they had saved China, rescued the beleaguered European democracies and enabled the Russians to withstand, and presently conquer, the German invaders.
They expected appreciation and cooperation in the service of their ideals which the war had deemed to have proved were best. (Feis 3)These two bipolar positions sharply differed and therefore anxieties arose when the Soviet Union was forced, by Washingtons overconfident actions, to be defensive. The cultural gap between American and Soviet leaders contributed to the emerging Cold War. American negotiators acted as if the mere recitation of their legal and moral rights ought to produce the results they desired (Kissinger 438).
These points support the Revisionist view. Both in diplomatic historian Herbert Feis From Trust to Terror: The Onset of the Cold War 1945-1950 and Hungarian professor of history John Lukacs A History of the Cold War, there is ample evidence that these divergent attitudes exhibited by each country prevented the other from establishing what they perceived as a secure position in Europe. In short, they forced the other country to be on the defensive and thus, they lashed out at each other.
During the Cold War, the United States resolved to take a shot at the Soviet Union by siding with Afghanistan and taking great measures to stop Soviet influence and communist ideology. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in an attempt to expand its influence in the Middle East with the absence of American influence. At this point in the Cold War the United States and Soviet Union were ...
These tantrums can be seen in Europe, the Middle East and other places. There is plenty of sound support for both the Revisionist and Orthodox views and therefore, because of this evidence, the Post-Revisionist standpoint is the historically correct assessment of blame. Each country, not just one or the other, caused the tensions that arose from the differing attitudes. Another fundamental difference between the Soviet Union and the United States was the bipolar aims of each nation. Because of these differing attitudes, both the Soviet Union and the United States had several objectives to achieve after the Central Powers were neutralized during WWII and when the two agendas conflicted, tensions arose: The collapse of Nazi Germany and the need to fill the resulting power vacuum led to the disintegration of the wartime partnership [between the United States and the Soviet Union]. The purposes of the allies were simply too divergent. Churchill sought to prevent the Soviet Union from dominating Central Europe.
Stalin wanted to be paid in territorial coin for Soviet military victories and heroic suffering of the Russian people. The new President, Harry S. Truman, initially strove to continue Roosevelts legacy of holding the alliance together. (Kissinger 424) As demonstrated above, the ambitions of the two prominent world powers after WWII were extremely different. Soviet Russia wanted to achieve security because of repeated attacks and the only way that Stalin saw to do this was to acquire territory: The behaviour of Russia under the Communists had been Russian behaviour rather than communist behaviour.There has been the same effort to achieve security by expanding the Russia space, by constantly pushing back the menacing presence of the foreigners across the Russian borders (Halle 11).
Because of the Soviet feelings of insecurity and paranoia, Stalin wanted one thing: the acquisition of territory with Communists-friendly governments in each acquired nation.
Another thing that complicated relations was Stalins mistrustful nature. National security had come to mean personal security, and [Stalin] saw so many threats to it that he had already resorted to murder on a mass scale in order to remove all conceivable challengers to his regime (Gaddis).
... countries - twice by Germany, and in the Russian Civil War, causing substantial losses of lives and resources. Therefore, Stalin desired to safeguard Soviet security. ... to defend his country from what he saw as threatening western powers. The United States did not understand Stalin's obsession for security, and thought ...
Both Stalin and the Russian people felt vulnerable and especially weak on their western front from repeated surprise invasions launched against them. As a result, Stalin wanted to secure his country, to establish a buffer zone against the poisonous capitalist countries to the west a crawl back into the sheltered nook that the Kremlin was. Therefore, one could deduce that Russian intensions caused the Cold War because Stalin was acting while well aware that his actions would contrast with those of America, which supports the Orthodox viewpoint. However, the United States and other western countries also had their own aims.
These aims can be observed by analyzing The Atlantic Charter and The Truman Doctrine. Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt signed The Atlantic Charter on August 14,1941. While still early in the war, it was later adopted by the United Nations and remains, to this day, a cornerstone of civilization. ….