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How Far Do You Agree With The View That The Development Of The Cold War In The Years 1945 1948 Owed More Too Soviet Expansionism Than To The Usa’s Economic Interests?

1608 words - 7 pages

During the years 1945-1948, the development of the Cold war seemed to have been catalysed by various factors. The Second World War created a power vacuum in Europe into which the USA and the USSR were both drawn; large areas of Europe were left without meaningful government or administration. Subsequently much of Europe was left devastated and was in desperate need of reconstruction. The USA and the USSR were to provide the inspiration for alternative methods of recovering Europe, the USA aimed to invest billions into Europe hopefully mending the economy and to prevent the temptation of communism which seemed very attractive to those countries whose economy were in ruins. Moreover by doing ...view middle of the document...

It quotes “By 1948, Western attitudes had hardened as the USSR tightened its grip over the countries of Central and Eastern Europe” signifying how Soviet expansionism was creating tensions between the USSR and America as they were “unsure of the USSR intentions”. The US was unsure whether the USSR just wanted “friendly governments on its western borders as a buffer against future attacks” or “seeking to extend Soviet influence into Western Europe itself”. This idea frightened America who decided to adopt a more hard-line approach to the Soviets. Kennan’s “Long Telegrams” and Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech encouraged this move. Further evidence as what the West saw as Soviet expansionism were the events In Greece in 1947. After the Greek monarchist government had regained control over the country with the help of Britain after WW2, there was a communist resistance and although there was no Soviet assistance, the West was convinced this was another sign of Soviet expansionism. By 1947 however the draining impact of WW2 was being felt, the British government owed £3000 million in debts and after the severe winter of 1946-1947, the British government was forced to admit it could no longer sustain its overseas commitments. Faced with the potential communist takeover of another country, the US responded with the Truman Doctrine, a policy statement issued by the American president in 1947 stating that any country/government under attack by armed minorities would receive aid from the US. This was clearly aimed to prevent the spread of communism. Soviet expansionism can clearly be seen as an important factor in the development of the Cold War, even at the Potsdam conference in July 1945 the West were annoyed at how Stalin had been allowed to incorporate some Polish territory into Soviet territory and was transporting Poles west behind the new Polish-Soviet border. All this together escalated the development of the Cold War and it is true that this was vital to the creation of two opposing sides however it seems that the US policies affecting their economy accelerated the development of the Cold War even further as these were introduced to battle the USSR.
The conflict brought about by the US economic interests is best described in Source 8 from Terry Morris’s Europe 1870-1991. The author suggests that to keep the American economy in a boom period, there would be a need for “high levels of military and government expenditure” and for this to happen “the USSR was portrayed as aggressive and threatening”. They would carry on with this to sustain the “Military-industrial complex” (MIT) which was a powerful bloc created by links between the armed forces and those sectors of the economy reliant on defence orders. We can now see that military spending increased every year after WW2 until 1955 and doubled from $52.4 million in 1947 to $103.9 million in 1948. This would obviously develop the Cold War as increasing arms expenditure would only result in the...

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