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Essay Question: Discuss At Least Three Reasons That You Feel Best Explain Why The Cold War Began, How It Affected The Peoples Of The World, And Why It Lasted For Such A Long Time.

1396 words - 6 pages

There were many factors that caused the Cold War be set in motion, however most of these factors can be generalised into a common mistrust between the two superpowers that had emerged at the end of World War II, the Soviet Union and the United States of America.One of the main reasons was that there were huge differences in the way that the East and West were led and the disagreements about this point. The West was a democratic state, while the East was a one-party state. Theoretically the country is run by elected councils called Soviets. However most of the members are Communist so the Party basically controls the country. In the East there were strict limits on human rights whereas very few in the West. In the West average living standards were much higher than in the East. The reason for this in the West is because wealth is distributed unevenly, therefore there are more poor people. In the East the wealth is distributed more evenly, making less people rich or poor as well having a government run economy i.e. profits go to the public whereas in the West the economy is free market meaning that profits go to the company.Another main reason was that there was a long history of mistrust between the two countries starting off with the Russian revolution of October 1917 where the Royal family was murdered. The Communists, when they came to power, made drastic changes to the way that the country was run which angered the West, so much so that in 1918, when the Russians made peace with Germany, the West sent in armies to destroy the Communists. They failed and the Communists stayed in power.Another reason was the fear of expansion by Russia, a potentially hostile country. In 1922 Russia merged with five neighbouring states to form a new country called the Soviet Union. By 1936 five more states joined. In less than 15 years Russia had added to itself an area the size of Europe. This made the West fear of a new and powerful Empire in the East and during the second world war the fears became greater with Russia taking half of Poland and the Baltic states (as agreed in the Nazi-Soviet Pact) and bringing the Soviet frontier even closer to Europe. This agreement was broken by Hitler in 1941 when he invaded the Soviet Union. The West, despite their dislike for Communism started to send aid to the Soviet Union, particularly Britain and the USA.Although the East and West were now fighting Germany the West never forgot the agreement that Stalin had made with Hitler in 1939 and feared that he might try and make a separate peace with Germany. The East's main cause of friction was the amount of time that the Americans took to set up a second front against Germany by invading German-occupied France. This meant that the Soviet forces did most of the fighting up to 1944.Then there was the Yalta Agreement in February 1945 where the three leaders Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill met at the seaside resort of Yalta to settle their differences. This however, like the...

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