The Inevitable Spread of Soviet-backed Communism in Eastern Europe

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The Inevitable Spread of Soviet-backed Communism in Eastern Europe

At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States were principle players involved with reshaping post-war Europe. The region most affected policy changes was Eastern Europe, which includes those states that would eventually fall behind the Iron Curtain. While the camaraderie between the Big Three deteriorated, Soviet-backed communism was spreading across Eastern Europe. The argument during this time was that expansionism was inevitable since Stalin had already decided to establish Soviet power and Soviet-typed systems in the lands his army occupied; resistance was pointless. While nothing in history is inevitable, to a great extent, expansionism was highly probable, especially due to Eastern European political traditions, its political structure after World War II and the West's inactivity in the region which left the area more susceptible to Soviet-backed communism. As George Schopflin states, "Stalin, however ruthless and powerful he may have been, was not possessed of superhuman abilities" (58).

Prior to the war, Eastern Europe did not have a history of strong democratic traditions. Schopflin, who describes the region as "backward and authoritarian" goes on to say, "The bulk of the population was excluded from any significant control over political decision-making and tended to acquiesce in the old, established patterns of rule and deference" (38). From 1918 to 1944, Eastern Europe was dominated by great empires, such as the Habsburg and Ottoman empires, but almost overnight, that structure toppled, leaving a power vacuum.

During the years between World War I and World War II, Eastern Europe looked to the West for a suc...

... middle of paper ... Anglo-Soviet relations and conceded much of Eastern Europe. However, it was beneficial to the British and the Americans to sacrifice the region because they needed evidence to define the Soviet Union and communism as the enemy. Soviet-backed communist expansion was not inevitable, but it was greatly aided by international factors and Eastern European domestic factors.


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