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Cause Of Cold War Essay

917 words - 4 pages

The two major adversaries of the Cold War entered that period of a global political stalemate as allies in the fight against fascism and German expansionism under Hitler. In 1945, the United States and Soviet Union, along with fading power Britain, met in Yalta to draw up a postwar plan for the division and reconstitution of Europe. The Soviets would be in charge of the East, while the Americans and British would be in charge of Western Europe and the Balkans. This division and reconstitution was both symbolized and concretized by the division of the city of Berlin. Ultimately, the divergent and oppositional political and economic ideologies of these countries proved irreconcilable and ...view middle of the document...

A revised look at history suggests a much more ambiguous explanation, however.

The truth is that America was just as committed to expansionism of its capitalist economic system as the Soviets were of its communist system. Pres. Harry Truman's response to concerns about Soviet aggression had as much to do with how the successful completion of their plans would hinder the adoption and fostering of capitalism and democracy as with any real intention to halt the spread of communism on humanitarian grounds. Truman's foreign policy was thoroughly shaped by the idea that the Soviets were just as afraid of America's plans for world domination as the Americans were afraid of the Soviet plans. Rather than risk either conventional or nuclear war by means of a direct confrontation, Truman and subsequent American administrations chose the path of containment and capitalist propaganda through the Marshall Plan.

If the Cold War could have been avoided, the institution of the Marshall Plan was probably the tipping point. Because the Cold War came about through a complex combination of events and causes, it may be a futile exercise to single out any one specific action that made its progression inevitable, but clearly the handling of the Marshall Plan represents a major point at which the seriousness of the problem accelerated. The Marshall Plan was essentially an economic stimulus package that, though ostensibly created in order to rebuild the ruined economies of Europe. It was at the point that the benefits were extended to those economies under the influence of the Soviets that the Cold War heated up.

The decision to extend the Marshall Plan to Eastern Europe was rationalized as attempt to avoid needlessly antagonizing the Soviets by not helping out the countries under their domain. The Soviets,...

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