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How (And To What Extent) Did The Conferences At Yalta And Potsdam (1945) Contribute To The Origin Of The Cold War?

1303 words - 5 pages

The Cold War which started in the late 1940's and ended in 1989 was one of the most contentious events of the 20th century. Even today, new information is surfacing about the war and its causes. The term Cold War is used as the two superpowers USA and USSR never completely reached boiling point. One debating point that historians still argue over is the origin of the war. There have been different points of views which evolved during and after the war.There are various reasons that are seen as the main causes of the Cold War and two events that continue to be discussed are the conferences at Yalta and Potsdam. Even though the war was quite imminent and something both the powers knew would ultimately happen due to a clash of ideologies, it was the two conferences that triggered the disagreements leading to the origins. The key players were World War II allies United Kingdom, United States and the Soviet Union.The mood and tension surrounding the two conferences were very significant. The timing and setting were key as the second conference was held near the main debating point of Berlin and the atomic strike over Japan was being planned at the time of the conferences. At the same time, the Soviets had suffered more than 20 million casualties from World War II. This meant that both the USA and USSR were to treat the conferences as very important gatherings.The first of the conferences was held in the resort of Yalta where Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill discussed about post world war issues. The major decisions that were presented at Yalta were the setup of the Untied Nations and the role that the Soviets would play in it, division of Germany into four different zones, bringing Nazi and other war criminals to court, elections of provisional government in Poland and establishing a committee to decide on the reparations. The setup of a free people's Europe was based on helping countries maintain law and order, carry out emergency relief measures, set up governments and hold elections.The agreements at Yalta seemed genuine; however, there were differences behind the scenes. Both the USA and UK felt that the Soviets got the better out of the conference as land was promised in the pacific front even before they joined the war in the west. As for the newly independent land in Eastern Europe, all three leaders knew that if a superpower was to have an influence, it would be the Soviet power of communism. Churchill wrote to Roosevelt after the conference of the strength of the Soviet Union, "The Soviet union has become a danger to the free world".One of the major disagreements that arose in Yalta was the failure of the Americans to mention the atomic bomb. The key reason for the alliance between USSR, UK and USA during WWII was their hatred towards Germany. Stalin who had suffered the most from the war was highly skeptic as Britain and America had earlier tried to stop the Russian revolutions in 1917. The failure to mention the use nuclear weapons did not...

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