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To What Extent Was Us Foreign Policy Responsible For Starting The Cold War?

2328 words - 9 pages

To What Extent was US Foreign Policy Responsible for Starting the Cold War?- History Prize EssayAlthough the Cold War has no official start date, it is believed to have run from the late 1940s through to the collapse of the USSR, symbolized by the Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1951. The Cold War was considered 'cold', as it consisted of no direct action, only threats, 'proxy wars' and 'hot wars'; consisting of both the USSR, and the USA employing third party countries to do their fighting for them. Instead, the Cold War is often considered the fight for military, economic, political and ideological triumph between two of the 'Big Three' - the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic - and the United States of America. Despite growing tension between the Big Three, they were all fully aware that they had to stay allied until their mutual enemy of World War II, Hitler, had been defeated. Once WWII came to an end, relations between these three super powers quickly disintegrated, mainly in three conferences; Yalta, Potsdam and Tehran, all aiming to outline the principles of post war peace. Relations disintegrated for a number of reasons, including US Foreign Policy, resulting in the Cold War. Such a war was predicted as early as 1835, when Alexis de Tocqueville guessed at the inevitable conflict between these two super powers by stating that 'they alone are preceding… along a path to which no limit can be perceived.'Before exploring the extent to which US foreign policy was responsible for starting the Cold War, it is important to study these underlying tensions; they help to explain why this war was often considered 'inevitable.' At the end of 1945, the USSR and USA were considered allies, both thrilled with their triumph against Hitler, resulting in them winning WWII. However, this was only on the surface, as there was a great deal of underlying tensions caused by a number of reasons. WWII was brought to a close by the USA dropping two atomic bombs on Japan: on Hiroshima, and Nagasaki - 6th and 9th August 1945. These new atomic bombs had been created at Cavendish, when Rutherford achieved atomic degeneration in 1919, and created a great deal of global fear; as after seeing the effects these bombs had had on Japan, people knew the strengths, and threat which they posed. This new technology had been introduced as quickly as possible as during World War Two, Roosevelt and Churchill followed a policy that would ensure a nuclear arms race at war's end. Still, Stalin found out about the Manhattan Project and by 1943 had already begun development of a Soviet bomb. Although some historians, such as Robert P. Newman stated 'there can be justified terror, as there can be just wars,' showing their support for the bombing, this feeling is not unanimous. Martin Sherwin stated that 'the Nagasaki bomb was gratuitous at best and genocidal at worst,' and many historians agree with this. It shows that there was no actual need for these bombs to be dropped on Japan...

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