Who Was To Blame For The Cold War?

1155 words - 5 pages

The cold war can be seen as an event in which there are many conflicting ideologies about how it started. Some of the perspectives that will be analyzed in this essay are the views of the revisionists, post revisionists and traditionalists. For more than a decade, various historians have challenged the Cold War origins.
The Revisionist viewpoint suggests that the US was not an innocent bystander and that they were mainly focused on expansionism and the entrepreneurial capitalism that had characterized the US history. The leading American Cold War historian John Lewis Gaddis argues that there was “a new consensus emerging – the post revisionist one” (Leffler and Painter 1994 ). According to ...view middle of the document...

(Malin and Johnson 2006) The Revisionist approach to the origins of the Cold War was seen as a controversial approach, not only because of the “negative critique of American policies as essentially selfish”. (Pipe 2007) In addition, this viewpoint also became “quite fashionable and remained very important along with the other leftist versions” in understanding the Cold War. (Pipe 2007)
However, he argues that neither the US or the Soviet Union were to blame for the beginning of the Cold War. The Revisionist interpretation “attempted to strike the blame between orthodoxy and revisionism”. The Cold War historiography kept changing throughout the 20th century. In the 1970s, another approach to the Cold War emerged. It was characterized as “neo- revisionism and was led by John Lewis Gaddis.” (Pipe 2007) He argued that neither the Soviets nor the United States were to blame for the origins of the Cold War. Historian Pipe argues that competition between the US and the Soviet Union was a cause of the War.
The post – revisionist viewpoint suggest that neither power was solely to blame for the beginning of the Cold War. In addition, they argue that the geopolitical balance of power in Europe and Asia was the cause of the Cold War. In addition, others felt that the balance seemed to be challenged by “communist exploitation of postwar economic dislocation and social and political unrest”. There were sources of Soviet American tensions. At the heart of the rivalry between the “US and the Soviets in the 1940s was a fundamental difference in the views of a postwar world” (Brinkley 2014 ). In addition, in the early years of the Cold War, the Americans developed “a series of policies which were designed to prevent war from occurring” (Brinkley 2014 ). The policy was useful in the way that it helped to rebuild shattered economies of Western Europe through the Marshall Plan, to stabilize those nations and prevent them from becoming a communist power. In addition, the US can be seen as not being the one to blame for the beginning of the Cold War because they “embraced a new foreign policy of containment” which meant that it was committed to “preventing the Soviet Union from expanding its influence” further throughout the world. (Brinkley 2014 ) The traditionalists are supporters of the US policy of containment and therefore tended to “blame the Soviet Union for the breakdown of...

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