“Who Was More To Blame For The Origins And Development Of The Cold War In Europe: Stalin Or Truman?”

1401 words - 6 pages


"Who was more to blame for the origins and development

of the

Cold War in Europe: Stalin or Truman?"

The cold war was a period of intense antagonism between the two superpowers- the United States and the Soviet Union, lasting from 1945-1991. Both leaders, Stalin and Truman, had a huge role to play in the cold war, but ultimately, it was Stalin who was more to blame for the origins and development of the cold war in Europe.

Stalin's foreign policy tended to be expansionist, as can be seen from the sovietization of Europe. By the end of world war two, the Soviet Union had taken control over Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and not to mention the annexation of small portions of Romania and Czechoslovakia. Furthermore, the foreign policy was also based on the aim of taking advantage of the military situation in Europe to strengthen Soviet influence. As such, it was not hard for USA to see that USSR was inexorably expansionist, and had aims to spread world wide communism. These suspicions were made worse by the fact that although the Soviets had agreed to the principle of free elections in Eastern Europe during the Yalta conference of February 1945, it was clear that the Soviets applied pressure to allow communist politicians to hold key positions in coalition governments before elections were held. Key positions included those like the interior minister, which was responsible for the the police force and law and order. With communists now in charge, elections could then be manipulated to ensure communists controlled the levers of powers. To strengthen communist parties, they were often encouraged by Stalin to merge with other, often bigger, socialists groups who found merger to be in a reality a takeover. By the end of 1947, every state in Eastern Europe was controlled by a communist government, except Czechoslovakia.

However, it would be unfair of us to overlook the fact that Stalin was obsessed with the security of USSR and that his moves were also defensive in nature. Stalin's preoccupation with safeguarding soviet security, was difficult for US to understand, because US was more prosperous as compared to a greatly weakened USSR. Russia had been invaded from the west three times during the 20th century- by Germany during the first world war, by those helping the whites during the Russian civil war, and finally, by Germany again in the second world war. Over 20 million soviet citizens were killed during world war two on top of the vast economic losses incurred. Although it is valid and right to say that the USSR had been working from a point

position of weakness, Stalin still bears the bulk of the responsibility because it's foreign policies might have been motivated by security interests but the actions were deemed by expansionist and aggressive by USA.

USA merely reacted to the communist aggression in defense of democracy, the free world and for the free men. An example would be the Berlin...

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