21 November 2011
Word Count: 1563
The Role of Economic issues in the Development of the Cold War
A: Plan of Investigation:
To simplify the causes of the Cold War the many issues that were contributing factors can be grouped into three major realms political ideological disputes, economic motives, and the struggle each country had to become the most dominant super power. At first glance it may not seem likely that a war, even a relatively calm and bloodless one such as the Cold War, could possibly be fueled by economic motives, but unfortunately money and trade are often the leading forces in determining whether or not to enter a war with a rival nation. In the ...view middle of the document...
The United States has had a long standing economic policy of free trade and a completely open market in which individuals have equal opportunities to compete with each other, with no state interference, for success and access to the American dream, and are given incentives of profit to work hard (Rogers and Thomas 1). Collectively the United States economic policy is referred to as capitalism, it allows for private property to be held, and is a commonly held economic belief system west of the USSR (Rogers and Thomas 1). The Soviets held a much different outlook on economy, which is commonly referred to as communism. The communist beliefs, held by the Soviets, stated that capitalism creates a large gap between the rich and the poor, while communism works to totally eliminate any class gaps, going even as far as to completely eliminate private property in order to make all people economically equal(Rogers and Thomas 2). Another basic principle of communism is the government takeover of all private industry, instead of working for profits, people work for the common good of the community or “commune”, this type of market often runs into problems of inefficiency since there are no incentives, such as profit, for workers to be rewarded with( Rogers and Thomas 2). The Bolshevik Revolution originally introduced the economic ideals of Karl Marx and led to the introduction of communism in the USSR (Chung).
Poor relations between the United States and the Soviets can be seen in the United States economic decision to end the Lend-Lease program. Right as the Soviets were experiencing an economic depression from World War II, the Soviets asked for economic aid to help for post-war reconstruction but the request went unanswered by the United States as they terminated the Lend-Lease program, as a result the Soviets were in great need of raw materials for post-war reconstruction (Chung). As the Cold War was starting to take root the United States had a realization that the most effective barrier to the totalitarian regime, that was Soviet Russia, would be an economic barrier, and so the United States looked to provide financial aid to countries recovering from World War II that were not in support of communism (Chung). The United States did not explicitly claim that they were excluding communist countries from financial benefit but achieved the same effect with the creation of the Marshal Plan, the U.S. used the veil of protecting war torn countries in order to spite the Soviets "It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace (Cold War 400).” The Marshal Plan hurt the Soviets because it promised financial aid only to those countries that are willing to have their own countries financial documents analyzed by the U.S., something that the Soviets would never allow such an invasion of privacy by the Americans...