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How Far Do You Agree With The View That The Development Of The Cold War In The Period 1945 50 Was The Result Of Stalin’s Foreign Policy?

3182 words - 13 pages

Development of the Cold War, in the five years between 1945 and 1950, could be argued as taking place for a number of reasons and due to various individuals. It could be easy to simply site Stalin as the main reason responsible for it’s outbreak and growth, clear through his approach on communist expansion, use of Red Army and inability to uphold agreements. However for a war of any kind to develop there is always more than one party involved and the USA and it’s president Truman could also be said to have contributed to the developing of Cold War, arguably being equally aggressive as Stalin – taking an Iron fist on dealings with Russia through policies such as the Truman Doctrine and the ...view middle of the document...

The West were reluctant to concede on this issue, not wanting another full blown Communist convert, and as a result it was agreed that Stalin would be given a majority of Poland but not the entire country, and only on the condition he upheld free elections there and in Eastern Europe. Agreements were made, however Stalin’s antagonistic character and inability to keep to those arrangements were made clear at Potsdam in July 1945 – especially highlighted by new American president, Harry Truman, a man of a much harsher nature than his predecessor Roosevelt.Stalin was not taking the agreement of free elections seriously and was actually positioning communist individuals into important government roles, through Eastern Europe and Poland as a means of spreading influence. This purposeful spreading of influence by Stalin is echoed in source T, taken from John Lewis Gaddis, a more orthodox interpreter of the Cold War, in his text ‘The Cold War [2005]’ – he identifies Stalin undeniably wanted to “dominate that continent [Europe] as thoroughly as Hitler.” The comparison to Hitler implies that Stalin’s aims were of an aggressive, dominative nature and to be wary of by the allies. It supports the idea that Stalin was looking to convert Poland to communism, thus explaining his reluctance to uphold free elections as agreed at Potsdam, and suggesting Western powers had a right to be defensive and take harsher action in their dealings with the USSR.
Another example of Stalin’s provocative stance on foreign policy was the use of his Red Army to impose and spread communism throughout Eastern Europe. By the end of the Second World War the Red Army was stationed in many large areas of Europe, being in a position of extreme dominance given the political and military vacuum that existed after the war, and their sheer size of eleven million, at its height in May 1945. Gaddis recognises in source T that the army had been so strong during the Second World War that Stalin admitted in 1947, that “had Churchill delayed opening the second front in Northern France by a year, the Red Army would have come to Paris.” The fact that the Red Army had been confident enough to infiltrate the capital of France, one of the key power players of Europe, was a huge threat and annoyance to the West, causing a lot of anxiety anf tension. Source U, a source published in 1996, from two Russian individuals, Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshakpv, takes on a generally post-revisionist interpretation of the Cold War, though appearing at times to be sympathetic to Stalin crossing into Revisionist waters – the source states that he did not want to take a course of “unbridled, unilateral expansionism” over Europe. This idea is hard to believe when looking at the course in which Stalin did indeed take. Though the Red Army never spread through France, it did manage to do so in many areas over Europe such as, Hungary, Romania and Albania. This was achieved by setting up pro-communist...

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