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“The Rising Tension Between East And West Between 1945 1949 Was Due To Stalin’s Hold Over Eastern Europe” How Far Do You Agree With This View?

1376 words - 6 pages

“The rising tension between east and west between 1945-1949 was due to Stalin’s hold over eastern Europe” How far do you agree with this view? (25 marks)
Following the Second World War the post war world was left fragile, disrupted and heavily damaged and it was vital that the future of the East and West were determined quickly and correctly as to avoid a rise in underlying tension. Due to the common enemy of Nazism having been removed, the differences in the political ideologies of the east and west were immediately highlighted consequently causing an initial rise in tension. Although at the time Stalin and the Soviet Union were solely thought to be to blame for the intense rise in ...view middle of the document...

Bribery, physical bullying and even assassinations were all used to force anti-communism out of countries; for example in Czechoslovakia the Prime Minister Benes and all anti-communist ministers were forced out of office via death threats and physical bullying in 1948 and even through the police force and workers which had been converted to pro-communist political views despite an initial absence of communist support within the country. By eradicating all chances of opposition when elections were held in 1948 all the candidates were communist causing Czechoslovakia to become a single party state and this process of rigging elections with the façade of democracy through allowing voting to occur was a major factor for the rise in tension as not only was Stalin breaking the Atlantic charter, he was also controlling countries he had no right to and in many cases causing countries to be communist against their will.
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Stalin’s paranoia extended into his increasingly oppressive governments where all aspects of the government was controlled, most significantly the interior ministries where secret police forces much like the gestapo in Nazi Germany were devised to eradicate all opposition. The most notable was the AVO which took place in Hungary and was designed to remove any citizen or group who opposed control from Moscow in Hungary through puppet governments. The headquarters of the AVO are now known as Terror House which reflects how the secret police enforced the communist regime; through terror. Equipped with their own torture chambers, the AVO actively sought out any potential anti-communists to strike fear into the population so that they conform and this was largely effective as the majority of the population was anti-communist with only 17% voting for the Hungarian Communist Party in 1945 which shows that even if communism already existed in certain countries through established parties that it was always the most popular choice by any means and this use of interior ministries to increase party support is a major contributor towards an increase in tension because many were unwilling to conform. The AVO and its desire to let control come from Moscow is a prime example of Stalin using puppet governments to give off the façade that these populations were allowed to democratically vote for communism when it was the influence from interior ministries and opposition eradication that really facilitated the movement of communism within those countries.
Alternatively, the spread of communism into Eastern European states can be seen as way of Stalin regaining losses from the war including territorial and economic losses. The Soviet Union had been left destroyed with 27 million dead, 17000 villages demolished and nearly all industry being eradicated and so as many countries wished to do, Stalin went about trying to seek the best opportunities in raw materials and economies...

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