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Origins of the Cold War A. The differences had always been there - the defeat of Hitler brought them to the surface, and these were responsible for the Cold War:
5. The basic cause of conflict lay in the differences of principle between the communist states and the capitalist or liberal-democratic states Whereas the communist system organized state and society based on the ideas of Karl Marx, and believed that the wealth of a country should be collectively owned and shared, the capitalist system operated on the basis of private ownership of wealth and private enterprise in the pursuit of making profits The need for self preservation against Germany and Japan caused the USSR, the US, and Britain to bury their differences and work together, but as soon as Germany was defeated the old differences re-emerged This idea was emphasised in George F. Kennan's 'Long Telegram' which proceeded to posit concepts that would become the basis of American Cold War policy: the USSR perceived itself at perpetual war with capitalism; socialism and social democracy were enemies, not allies; Soviet aggression was fundamentally aligned with historic Russian xenophobia and paranoia It can be argued that prevalent domestic dynamics in Europe were responsible for the Cold War: within Western European politics, the left and right unhappy working together, and a breakdown of domestic political consensus served to reinforce emerging international divide, with the expulsion of communists from coalition governments helped prompt hard-line Cominform responses in summer of 1947 B. Latent suspicions and mistrust were responsible for the Cold War:
Mistrust creates hostile responses which deepen suspicions, creating a vicious cycle Lingering memories of the Russian Civil War of 1918 in which USA, Britain, France and Japan had all sent troops to Russia to fight against communist forces convinced Stalin that there would be another attempt by the capitalist powers to destroy communism - the German invasion of Russia in 1941 proved him right Stalin felt that the reason the USA and Britain delayed launching an invasion of France, the Second Front which did not take place until June 1944, was deliberately calculated to keep most of the pressure on the Russians and bring them to the point of exhaustion The West did not tell Stalin about the existence of the atomic bomb until shortly before its use on Japan Some historians believe that Truman's main motive for dropping the atomic bombs on Japan was not to defeat Japan which was ready to surrender anyway, but to show Stalin the might of US power The West rejected Stalin's request that Russia should share in the occupation of Japan C.
1. Disagreements over Poland and failed diplomacy at Yalta (February 1945) and Postdam (July 1945) were responsible for the Cold War:
At Yalta (1945), there were ominous signs of trouble over what was to be done with Poland. When the Russian armies swept through Poland, driving the Germans back, they had set up a communist government in Lublin even though there was already a Polish government-in-exile in London. It was agreed at Yalta that members of the non-communist London-based government should be allowed to join the Lublin government, and in return Russia would be allowed to keep a strip of eastern Poland she had annexed in 1939
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