Essay Plan, Origins of the Cold War. In what ways, and for what reasons, did the relationship between wartime allies deteriorate between 1945 and 1949? Thesis: By 1945, when the common enemy of the Big Three, Nazi Germany, had been defeated, tensions began to rise between the wartime allies caused by wartime conferences, western policies and eastern actions. Paragraph 1: Tensions were to develop between The Big Three when they lost their common enemy, as underlying causes of disagreement already existed.
- Russian expansionism under the Tsarist regime – the trans-Siberian railroad. Ideological differences – Communism against Capitalism, along with the great purges of evidence of Stalin’s unstoppable power (in 1933, 400,00 members of the communist party were expelled under Stalin’s orders).
- D-day (second front) occurred only until 1943 when Stalin requested it in 1941 (Russia had lost almost 5 million people).
- American armed intervention in Russia during the Russian Civil War in 1917 made Russian rage Americans.
- Interpretations: Alexander Nekrich questions Stalin’s leadership, thus blaming him for the second front’s late creation.
Paragraph 2: Wartime conferences at Yalta and Potsdam contributed to deteriorating diplomatic relations between the Big Three.
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- During Potsdam, 1945, the agreements and relations built in Yalta were severely affected because Roosevelt died and was replaced by Trueman. Churchill lost elections and was replaced by Attlee.
- Attlee focused on domestic policy, thus was vaguely interested in Potsdam and rarely attended. In contrast with Yalta, there was no British conciliator between the USA and the USSR. Trueman was less sympathetic with communism and adopted strict and harsh measures with Stalin.
- Promises broken – Stalin used salami tactics to support the communist government in Eastern Europe. Atomic diplomacy – the knowledge of an atomic bomb frightened Stalin.
- Interpretations: John Lewis believed relations worsen during wartime conferences because the weakened French and British forced the USA to intervene in European affairs.
Paragraph 3: American and Soviet ultimate policies threatened each other while forcing tensions and deteriorating the diplomatic relations.
- USA: Marshal Plan – contributed only in Western Europe with 17,000 dollars worth of aids to recover the economy. Trueman Doctrine – in 1947 the US established that Americans would aid any country or government by armed minorities; it aimed to stop the spread of communism. NATO – was a military alliance between the USA, Canada and most of Western Europe established in 1949.
- USSR: COMECON – In 1949 the USSR established the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance with the purpose of aiding Eastern European economies, which were to trade mostly with one another and not with the West.
- Interpretations: Russian historians argue that the US possessed the best weapon of mass destruction, thus did not need a military alliance. Therefore NATO was created with the sole purpose of building diplomatic and economic relations.
Paragraph 4: Soviet actions in Berlin, Berlin Blockade, encouraged distrust between the wartime allies.
- 1948 to 1949: Marshall Plan worsens the division between East and West Berlin.
- Berlin Blockade in 1948: Stalin blocked all road, rail and canal connections in West Berlin with the rest of the world.
- Stalin influenced the formation of a new communist government in Poland, while the legal one was exiled in London. By undertaking Poland, Stalin could make his way through the rest of Europe.
- Interpretations: Alan Millward believes the Marshall Plan was a strategy used by the USA to prove the success of Capitalism around the world.