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 ...
...ge 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.
Ash, Timothy. "Hungary's Revolution: Forty Years On" The New York Review.
McCauley, Martin, ed. Communist Power in Europe 1944-1949. New York: Harper &
Row publishers, 1977.
Schopflin, George. Politcs in Eastern Europe 1945-1992. Oxford: Blackwell, 1993.
Seton-Watson, Hugh. The East European Revolution. London: Methuen & Co., 1956.
Yergin, Daniel. Shattered Peace: The Origins of the Cold War and the National
Security State. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Spread of Soviet-Backed Communism Across Eastern Europe after 1945 In seeking to provide an answer to the question, “Was the spread of Soviet-backed communism inevitable across Eastern Europe after 1945?,” I would like to point to the words of a contemporary specialist. At the end of World War II, R. R. Betts, the Masaryk Professor of Central European History at London University, asserted that much of the “revolution in central and eastern Europe” is “native and due to the efforts of the peoples and their own leaders .... [tags: Russia History Communist Papers]
2035 words (5.8 pages)
- As Germany surrendered at the end of World War II, the Western powers planned the division of Europe and the withdrawal of their troops. Joseph Stalin, however, had other plans, fighting to install communist governments in the Eastern European countries and leaving his troops in the Eastern states. He had lived through two German invasions, and wanted to protect his country from future attacks. As tensions rose, the iron curtain fell across Europe, and many Eastern Europeans were shocked into a new reality of communist oppression.... [tags: Soviet Union, Communism, Eastern Europe, Cold War]
1022 words (2.9 pages)
- The collapse of Communism, and the resulting attempts to institute Western-style democracy and markets, brought immense uncertainty to the former Soviet bloc (and non-aligned Yugoslavia). Though the end of communism was welcomed by the vast majority of people, the question of what comes next, and how what has come next is any better, has vexed the former communist countries of Eastern Europe. Each country has adapted to the transition with varying degrees of success. Slavenka Drakulic explores this transition, and the difficulties that have come with it, in A Guided Tour Through the Museum of Communism.... [tags: Communism, Communist state, Soviet Union, Marxism]
1035 words (3 pages)
- The Status of Women in the Work Force After the Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe The fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union marked the end of an era in which official ideology and state policy often masked the reality of citizens' lives. This contradiction was particularly acute for women, a group that the Soviet model of communism was intended to emancipate (Basu, 1995; Bystydzienski, 1992; Corrin, 1992; Einhorn, 1993; Millarand and Wolchik, 1994; Nelson and Chowdhury, 1994; Rueshchemeyer, 1994).... [tags: History Russia Eastern Women Work Essays]
3924 words (11.2 pages)
- The Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe Many political beliefs exist. Everyone has the right to chose what to believe in, what ideas to have, what to seek and how to achieve his goals. Political science is not very defined and strict. Specific rules saying that if one believes in a certain idea he should join a certain party do not exist. Certain things match certain group of people and other things this group of people would not accept. The same principle can be applied for countries. Communism appears to be successful for China, but it failed for Eastern European countries.... [tags: History Soviet Union Historical Papers]
1994 words (5.7 pages)
- The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe Communism is like Prohibition - it's a good idea but it won't work" (Will Rogers, 1927) (1) This essay will give a brief introduction to communism. It will then discuss the various factors which combined to bring about the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. It will examine each of these factors and evaluate the effect of each. Finally it will attempt to assertain whether Rogers' opinion (see above quotation) on Communism is true, that is, whether communism was truly doomed to fail from the start, or whether its collapse was a result of external influences.... [tags: essays papers]
6159 words (17.6 pages)
- I Introduction Communism: A theory and system of social and political organization that was a major force in world politics for much of the 20th century. As a political movement, communism sought to overthrow capitalism through a workers’ revolution and establish a system in which property is owned by the community as a whole rather than by individuals. In theory, communism would create a classless society of abundance and freedom, in which all people enjoy equal social and economic status.... [tags: Communism Essays]
2781 words (7.9 pages)
- Communism had one of the greatest political impacts than any other political ideas in the 20th century around the world. What is important and interesting about communism is its background, concept, and why many countries apply to this idea. This essay will generally focus on the background, ideology, and why the countries and political parties applied to this idea. Communism did not exist until the 18th century. The idea of communism originated from the industrial revolution in Great Britain and French Revolution in France.... [tags: Communism Essays]
589 words (1.7 pages)
- “Communism” What is Communism. Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat. It also can be defined as a conceptualized system of government in which resources and production facilities are the property of the entire society rather than individuals. In a communist society, labor is shared equally as well, and the benefits of labor are distributed according to need (Communism.4all 1). No one person shall be ranked higher than another and there is to be one person in charge of the society in a communism government.... [tags: Communism Essays]
2929 words (8.4 pages)
- Communism is a very abortive political theory. It has never been in practice in the United States of America. It has usually been placed in practice among very unstable political environments such as Cuba and China. The general consensus on communism is that it’s a very good idea but falls short in practice because people have and always like to make decisions for themselves. Karl Marx is known as the “Father” of communism. He is recognized for this because in 1848 he wrote the Communist Manifesto.... [tags: Communism Essays]
369 words (1.1 pages)
- The Spread of Soviet-Backed Communism Across Eastern Europe after 1945
- Government Regulation of the Microsoft Corporation
- Microsoft vs. The Government: A Mandate for Compromise
- The Microsoft Anti-Trust Case: Presidential Candidate Recommendations
- The Microsoft Antitrust Story
- The Microsoft Monopoly Issue