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The Cold War

analytical Essay
1183 words
1183 words
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No issue in twentieth-century American history has aroused more debate than the question of the origins of the Cold War. Some have claimed that Soviet duplicity and expansionism created the international tensions, while others have proposed that American provocations and imperial ambitions were at least equally to blame. Most historians agree both the United States and the Soviet Union contributed to the atmosphere of hostility and suspicions that quickly clouded the peace. At the heart of the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1940s was a fundamental difference in the ways the great powers envisions the postwar world. One vision, first openly outlined in the Atlantic Charter in 1941, was of a world in which nations abandoned their traditional beliefs in military alliances and spheres of influence and governed their relations with one another through democratic processes, with an international organization serving as a arbiter of disputes and the protector of every nation’s right of self-determination. That vision appealed to many Americans, including Franklin Roosevelt. The other vision was that of the Soviet Union and to some extent, it gradually became clear, of Great Britain. Both Stalin and Churchill had signed the Atlantic Charter. But Britain had always been uneasy about the implications of the self-determination ideal for its own enormous empire. An the Soviet Union was determined to crease a secure sphere for itself in Central and Eastern Europe as protection against possible future aggression from eh West. Churchill and Stalin tended to envision a postwar structure in which the great powers would control areas of strategic interest to them, in which something vaguely similar to the traditional European balance of power would reemerge. Serious strains had already begun to develop in the alliance with the Soviet Union in January 1943, when Roosevelt and Churchill met in Casablanca, Morocco, to discuss Allied strategy. The two leaders could not accept Stalin’s most important demand—the immediate opening of the second front in Western Europe. But they tried to reassure Stalin by announcing that they would accept nothing less than the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers, thus indicating that they would not negotiate a separate peace with Hitler and leave the Soviets to fight on alone. Stalin agreed to an American request that the Soviet Union enter the war in the Pacific soon after the end of hostilities in Europe. Roosevelt, in turn, promised that an Anglo-American second front would be established within six months.

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that no issue in twentieth-century american history has aroused more debate than the question of origins of the cold war. they argue that both the united states and the soviet union contributed to the atmosphere of hostility and suspicions that quickly clouded the peace.
  • Explains that at the heart of the rivalry between the united states and the soviet union in the 1940s was a fundamental difference in how the great powers envisions the postwar world.
  • Analyzes how churchill and stalin envisioned a postwar structure in which the great powers would control areas of strategic interest to them.
  • Explains that serious strains had already begun to develop in the alliance with the soviet union in january 1943, when roosevelt and churchill met in casablanca, morocco, to discuss allied strategy.
  • Explains that stalin agreed to an american request that the soviet union enter the war in the pacific soon after the end of hostilities in europe. roosevelt and churchill supported the claims of the polish government-in-exile
  • Explains that churchill, roosevelt, and stalin met at yalta in february 1945 to agree on the outlines of the peace that they knew would soon come. they settled on a series of vague compromises that ultimately left all parties feeling betrayed.
  • Analyzes how roosevelt watched with growing alarm as the soviet union moved systematically to establish pro-communist governments in central or eastern europe and as stalin refused to make the changes in poland that the president believed he had promised.
  • Opines that harry s. truman, who succeeded roosevelt in the presidency, had almost no familiarity with international issues.
  • Analyzes how truman drew from the ideas of george f. kennan, who warned that in the soviet union the united states faced a political force committed fanatically to the belief that with the u.s.
  • Explains marshall's plan to provide economic assistance to all european nations that would join in drafting a program for recovery. the national security act of 1947 reshaped the nation’s military and diplomatic institutions.
  • Explains that the national security act gave the president expanded powers to pursue the nations international goals.
  • Explains that the united states refused to recognize the new communist regime, instead devoted increased attention to the revitalization of japan as a buffer against asian communism, ending the american occupation in 1952.
  • Explains that truman called for a thorough review of american foreign policy, which resulted in the nsc-68 report. the first statements of the containment doctrine had made at least some distinctions between areas of vital interest to the united states.
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