Origins Of Cold War By Alex Freedman History Essay

2158 words - 9 pages

To what extent was the Cold War caused by the establishment of Soviet domination in Eastern Europe in the years 1944-48?
The establishment of Soviet domination in Eastern Europe following World War II should be considered a fundamental prerequisite to the Cold War. The traditionalist views on the origins of the Cold War argue that the United States were forced to intervene in the region because of fears of communist dictatorships being implemented by the Soviets amongst their neighbour states. However, with more recent discoveries and declassifications of documents, the view on the origins of the Cold War becomes much more complex. The blame on the Soviet’s has been shared with the US if not reversed with the acceptance of the US over-exaggerating the threat of the Soviet Union and their ambitions. Another interest of the US in confronting the growing Soviet sphere was to maintain and promote the ideology of Wilsonianism and prevent the spread of communism; to enable an international open door for capitalism and to benefit their own economic agenda. However, this essay aims to prove why the US were prepared to pursue their imperialist agenda regardless of the Soviet domination into Eastern Europe and as result the US should accept more of the blame for causing the Cold War.
The orthodox view of the Cold War’s origins is understood as a realist view of international affairs, claiming that rational decision makers were acting on national interest. The first accounts such as Truman’s published memoirs and a number of books written by figures such as Herbert Feis, who had served in the US government were obviously sympathetic to the American policy makers.[footnoteRef:1] They blamed the expansionist urges of Soviet leader, Josef Stalin, suggesting that he was guided by communist ideology. They ‘applauded US policy as a creative response to the Soviet threat and a recognition of America’s global responsibilities’.[footnoteRef:2] This view was consistent of the wishes of the United States during the war who wanted to demonise the Soviet Union in order to maintain public support for confronting the threat of the Soviets. In response, the early Soviet scholars were also sympathetic to their own policy at the time, they claimed the Cold War started because of American imperialists whose interests, mainly economical, favoured global expansion.[footnoteRef:3] This view was however developed by Andrei Zhdanov in response to the Marshall Plan when he set up the Communist Information Bureau in September 1947 and as a result prevented further genuine discussion on the issue. Zubok and Pleshakov argue that there was ‘absolute control over intellectual life… guaranteed that all writings on the origins and phases of the Cold War had to reflect official legend’.[footnoteRef:4] Therefore undermining the validity of these claims and resulting in the idea that the reason for the Cold War was much more complicated than simply America seeking economic superiority. This...

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