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The Cold War affected most of the International relations within Europe and created lots of tension with the Leaders of the USA and Russia. The Cold War was a conflict of different beliefs and ideology – capitalism versus communism and this framed the premise of a worldwide power battle with both sides competing for world dominance. Western writers have blamed Russia and its aggression. Traditional historians such as E G Rayner suggested that the expansionist foreign policy of the Soviet Union was to be blamed as it caused aggression. On the other hand, historians such as, Phillips, started blaming America and their aggression towards Russia, as a cause of this prolonged war of ideologies. Lastly because of the intrinsic ideological boundary contrasts inside the inherent beliefs of both parties, historians believe that both sides are to blame and there was hatred from both sides. Overall the most credible interpretation is that put forward Phillips that American aggression was to blame for causing the Cold War.  Orthodox historians, with limited success, argue that the expansionist foreign policy of the Soviet Union showed their aggression and started the Cold War. The perspective of the Soviet Union as an expansionist power after the war, commanded Western approach. While the United States and Western governments needed to keep up participation with the USSR, Lightbody agrees to this and states that ‘ In April 1950 the national security agency asserted that the aim of the soviet union was nothing less than ‘absolute authority over the rest of the world’ Silverman also says in accordance to this that ‘Stalin frequently alluded to his belief in the inevitability of the collapse of the capitalism and encouraged the Soviet population to believe that the USSR would one day control the globe.’ Hart further concludes the point by saying that ‘The Cold War was caused by military expansionism of Stalin and his successors…As long as Soviet leaders clung to their dream of imposing Communism on the World, the West had no way of ending the conflict.’This shows that there was an adequate endeavour at expansion from the Soviet Union which forced a risk to Truman, and his Western partners. The concept that Stalin wanted a dictator level of control in Europe is the thing that numerous Historians concede to, as Philips clarifies that ‘The collapse of the Nazi Germany…left a power vacuum in… central and eastern Europe which Stalin… took advantage of in order to strengthen the position of the USSR and spread communism.’ Russia’s role in the Cold War is important as at the Potsdam and Yalta meetings Stalin consented to a new democratic view and agreed to have democracy in his country, guaranteeing he would actualise free elections, however,  in 1947 after Stalin had guaranteed to set up a joint Communist/non-Communist government at Yalta, he at that point welcomed 16 non-Communist soldiers to Moscow and arrested them. He?showed?no enthusiasm for?his relations?with the West and?continued?to?work?towards a?purely?communist regime for Poland and completely disregarding his new decision to make Russia more democratic, which made him look unreliable and this caused tensions with the USA. This was seen as a recurring problem because countries such as?Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania followed the same identical design on Soviet overpowering, while the Czechoslovak communist propelled an overthrow in 1948, the last remaining democratic government in Eastern Europe was abolished. These events were likely to incite suspicion among their rivals. The events in Poland and Czechoslovakia involved a single party election that ensured that puppet governments would be installed.  Russia’s?obligation?for the?cold?conflict?is ?compelling?from the time, this is supported by General MacArthur’s resignation speech to the Congress, where he clearly deals with the fact that ‘the communists in the Kremlin are engaged in a monstrous conspiracy to stamp out freedom all over the world’. Churchill also had suspicions about this and he clearly stated this in his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech where he says ‘The Russian’s are spreading across Europe like a tide… The communist parties which were very small in all these Eastern states of Europe have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond their numbers and seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control.’ Ambassador Harriman, supports both General MacArthur and Churchill as he restates that the United States could simply not sit silently and watch the Soviet Unions expansion, as ‘in effect what we were faced with was a ‘barbarian invasion of Europe,’ that Soviet control over any foreign country did not merely mean influence on their foreign relations but the extension of the Soviet system. From these pieces of primary evidence we can clearly see that the Western World and the United States felt extremely intimidated by Russia’s expansionist foreign policy and therefore this held the most responsibility in the emergence on the Cold War.  Even though these men may not be suitable to provide us with an insight of Russia’s purpose, they can give us a profitable amount of knowledge into the view of the West. They were all engaged with Soviet-Western relations, and they were essential characters when the Grand Alliance was separating. Granting that Stalin’s intention were not to be aggressive, that was the means in which the Soviet Union were seen by the West. Churchill, as the Prime Minister of Britain had always been seen as playing the leading role in the time of the Cold War and the many conferences throughout, and the fact that he had met Stalin personally numerous time is also very important and should be taken into consideration. MacArthur was the top General, this meant he was involved in all the military activities of the USSR army. The U.S ambassador of Moscow, had to report about advancements inside Russia and the Soviet Union, realising that his report would be the establishment of American approach, and in this way his commitment to this debate is completely substantial. Churchill had always been opposed to Communism and in a speech in the Commons during the Second World War Churchill referred to Stalin as the Devil. The fact that both MacArthur and Churchill were opposed to the idea of Communism means their inflammatory rhetoric could have just been an exaggeration stated to increase support for their own anti communist position. Nevertheless, the view that Russia was responsible for the Cold War is biased, as some historians argue that their actions have been portrayed as evidence for desire to defend Russia. As Phillips proposes that ‘to Stalin, no government in Eastern Europe could be tolerated unless it was one friendly towards the Soviet Union…this was the only guarantee of the Soviet security against future attack’ The soviets union behaviour can be classed as opposing political reforms and he described it as reactionary, this is proved on occasions such as the Truman Doctrine and Marshall. These somewhat justify their behaviour as an act of defence to all the threats of attack from the Americans. However, the Russians would not have shown signs of aggression if the USA did not begin threatening them, so the fault can be argued lies in the hands of the Americans. On the other hand, historians blame the United States’ aggressive stance toward the Soviet Union for causing the Cold War, these historians believe that Stalin was ‘essentially a cautious and defensive leader, with the United States misinterpreting and over-reacting to his efforts to protect Soviet security…making a tense situation even more dangerous’ Historians stir towards the argument that America’s main aim in the years after the war finished was to keep an open door for American trade, and this is what led the Government to work to keep European countries capitalist. Painter and Leffler support this as they note that ‘American officials entered the postwar era thinking more expansively than ever before.’ Historians questions the motives of the economic policies of the USA as an aggressive way for the USA to gain on economic dominance over Europe as the ‘US suspension of the Lend-Lease payments to the Soviet Union and the reluctance to endorse reparations to compensate the Soviet Union for the cost of the war were equally interpreted as attempts at economic blackmail.’ Both the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine were ostensibly hostile measures planned to destabilise effectively settled Soviet authority in Eastern Europe. They were both intended to offer these nations an ideological decision between Soviet Communism and American Capitalism. The most credible interpretation is that the united states was to blame for the emergence of the Cold war due to their anti-Soviet policy which aimed to suppress the nations’s political influence in Europe, instead promoting dependence on America. The Bolshevik revolution was arguably an offensive stance towards the Soviets, and the policy of non-recognition left the Soviet Union politically isolated. it can be interpreted that American foreign policy intimidated the Soviet Union, so inevitably forced them to respond to the ‘so-called’ threat Americans imposed on them. In dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki it also casts the Americans as the aggressor towards the Soviets; they dropped bombs to manipulate them and the bomb was favoured over an invasion to prevent the Soviets involvement this therefore led to communist influence in the Pacific. To manipulate the Soviets Truman thought that he could use the influence of the bomb to adopt their democratic ruling and this created a huge mistrust between the countries, the bomb was the spark that started the Cold War as the Soviet Foreign Affairs Minister Molotov was ordered to speed up the Soviet bomb to instil fear in its opponents. The Truman Doctrine announced in 1947 was a direct challenge to the Soviet Union’s defence of communists world wide and was a thinly veiled attack on Communism. The Marshall plan was an offer of financial help to European countries Marshall Aid additionally increased pressure between the two sides and prompted every coalition merging its hold over its European partners. The Iron Curtain had hammered closed crosswise over eastern Europe, and therefore this destabilised West Germany and caused tensions to heighten, making it the most responsible cause for the Cold War. Contemporary evidence convincingly suggests the Cold War was caused by the West’s aggression. In an editorial piece in the Moscow New Time they express their opinion through saying that ‘the atomic bomb is a signal for reactionaries all over the world to agitate for a new crusade against the Soviet Union…’ the people were not happy with the threat over their country and this view is supported by Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov, where he echoes this and says ‘it was clear already then that the US Government intended to use the atomic weapon for the purpose of achieving its Imperialist goals from a position of strength in the ‘Cold War’. Furthermore, Khrushchev expresses how the purpose of the West was to drain them of their resources and this view is echoed by Zhdanov, the Chairman of the USSR, who dictated that ‘the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall planner both embodiment of the American design to enslave Europe’ The Marshall plan left Soviets silent and America was seen as a country with imperialistic economic policies which Soviet Ambassador Andrei Vyshinsky commented on and said that It is becoming more and more evident to everyone that the implementation of the Marshall plan will mean placing European countries under the economic and political control of the United states.’ From this evidence it seems highly credible to infer that American aggression was the primary reason for the Cold War as it clearly caused tensions to heighten in these crucial early years.  The Moscow New Times was a political paper run by the communist party at the time, this source is reliable due to it being a public document and they have openly expressed their views, therefore it can be seen as reliable due to them living through the period of the Cold War and experiencing first hand the nature of USA’s aggression therefore they provide us with valuable insight into the time period. However, censorship of the media means that the only reason this was allowed is that reflected the views of the Communist leadership whilst this may bring into question its purpose as it may have been designed to convince the public of American aggression it seems more likely that this reflected the actual opinion of the Soviet leadership at the time. Moreover, Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov was a Soviet Red Army officer and this meant that he was directly involved in the war, which put him in a reliable position to to give a account of the aggression that was received from the USA. A Chairman of the USSR, Zhdanov, can be reliable as he was there at the time and was over-looking the whole operation, he was responsible for presiding over the meetings and therefore he had clear knowledge of the actions that came from the American’s. The Russians were clearly threatened by the West as they showed clear dislike of their regime and wanted their economic policies to be implemented, this view is supported by Andrei Vyshinsky, a Soviet Ambassador, who is best placed to comment on Russia’s current state as he has attended many international meetings and is well informed into the insights of Russia’s intentions. However, the view that American hostility was the essential driver of the Cold War is controversial. Historians argue that Russia’s strict view on Communism and their expansionist policy gave America the right to be threaten by this and defend their country and they had made a promise to liberate the oppressed in order to stop conflicts from arising. This view is echoed through General George Patton, who was a senior officer and led the army in WW2 to a successful win, he states that the country ‘promised the European freedom. It would be worse than dishonourable not to see they have it. This might mean war with the Russians, but what of it?’ As an important US official we can clearly see that their main focus is to keep peace in a time of threatening events and it is their obligation to get involved whether it will cause problems as they have a promise to keep to their country. Furthermore,even if the Americans did overreact to the small threat that was created from the Russians, they have already allowed Hitler and his views to infiltrate their country with his radical views therefore they did not want to allow this to happen again.  Lastly, historians, with some limited persuasiveness, believe that the blame cannot be put onto either party but on their different ideologies and that the cold war was inevitable. This view is supported by Steve Phillips who wrote that ‘historians have traditionally seen the cold war as involving conflict of irreconcilable ideologies, a conflict, on one side, capitalism and democracy as represented by the west and, on the other hand, communism as personified by the soviet union and its satellites states’. Once World War 2 was over there was a clear rivalry starting to grow between the East and West over their different ideologies so once they lost their one common enemy, Hitler, they no longer had anything to keep them allied and because of that ‘the USA became the vanguard of liberal, capitalist democracy while Russia under Lenin professed a dedication to the overthrow of capitalism through revolutionary communism’. This view came from Dan Silverman who agrees that their ideological differences caused the outbreak of the cold war, and he is supported by other historians who echo that ‘the cold war was regarded as an inevitable clash between opposing ideologies as both the Soviet Union and the United States in 1945-47 attempted to impose a new world order based upon Marxism or capitalism.’ The superpowers were extremely set on their views and could not agree with one another, this is seen through their implementation of the Marshall Aid and Truman Doctrine. Lightbody notes that the ‘establishment of the Comintern to promote communism worldwide was only served to heighten tensions and opposition.’ Therefore ideology was one of the contributing background factors that led the emergence of the Cold War, however, it cannot be argued to be the most important as this was clearly US aggression since they took the first step to create a threat. Their differences in ideologies is important, as this is what sparked the war. The Truman Doctrine was issued in 1947 out of an initial step to endeavour the battle the developing spread of communism. The UK could not give enough help to keep the development of communism. This sprung up concerns within both parties and created the illusion of a threat. These loans enhanced expectations for everyday comforts in Europe, and decreased the risk of communist governments taking control. In the meantime military help was given to nations in which pro-democratic governments were set up, in particular Greece and Turkey. The Truman Doctrine utilisation showed to the world that capitalist America would battle to stop the development of socialism through regulation. The world realised that America was completely contradicted to communism and would utilise its strength and energy to shield majority of the government against it, as can be seen through the Berlin blockade, where American upheld Berlin completely. Moreover, the Western Powers sought after the idea of convincing as many nations possible into a new assembly of states of Western Europe. The Marshall Plan was to act as an associating component, and furthermore tie the nations toward the West. The Marshall Plan was offered to those nations of Eastern Europe that were under Soviet impact, including Russia itself. It was a sharp move by the US, since it appeared that the Soviet Union had rejected itself from the European Recovery Program by its own particular doing. Overall the evidence suggests that conflicting ideology did play a significant albeit minor role in the beginning of the Cold War.  The evidence from the period portrays that this view is viable, as Kennan stated in his ‘Long Telegram’ written on the 22nd of February, that ‘in the name of Marxism they sacrificed every single ethical value in their methods and tactics,’  Kennan firmly demonstrates that the USSR was embracing their strategy of Marxism and were in this manner fully dedicated to the Marxist method for living, which would have unquestionably made tensions to heighten. Furthermore, this view if supported by General MacArthur’s resignation speech that ‘the communists in the Kremlin are engaged in a monstrous conspiracy to stamp out freedom all over the world.’ This proves the strong opposition from the US over the USSR’s way of life. The USSR wasn’t endeavouring to kick out freedom over the entire world, however, because of such an extraordinary clash of belief systems, the US and USSR were continually influencing their ideologies to appear that they were under risk from the other. This view if further supported by President Truman, as in his speech he stated ‘one was of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections…the second way of life is based upon …terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio…and the suppression of personal freedoms.’  He outlines the positives of capitalism but disregards communism. However, from two different perspectives, these can be judged as positives for both of the ideologies. Therefore, even though this is an important factor, it is however not as important as American aggression which actually proposed a physical threat to Russia and world peace.  Even though these people have limited reliability, they do have a viable judgement on the war. Kenna was an American diplomat who wrote The Long Telegram, he is a reliable source and was an advocate of the Soviets, the Long Telegram is a trusted source and it was written at the time of the war, however it can be limited as it is form a Russian perspective and they believed in communism and thought capitalism was bad, but it does offer us a in-depth analysis. Moreover, General MacArthur resignation speech is reliable as it outlines that communism is a threat to the world. however, we cannot fully trust this as he was a capitalist and believed that, that was the best way of life so he could be biased. Moreover, President Truman, can be a trustworthy source as he has developed the federal policies of the country to aid America during the war, and was there at the time that the war took place. However, he may be substantially inaccurate as he was the American President and therefore he not know the full extent of the other side. On the other hand, it can certainly be argued that their ideologies did not cause the Cold war, as they had a Grand Alliance, where both America and Russia had created an alliance and worked well together at the time of World War 2. This is argued by historian Stephen Ambrose who called it a “Strange Alliance’ because it united the world’s greatest capitalist state, the greatest communist state and the greatest colonial power.’ This demonstrates that they worked well together and even with the strains that were between the nations it was insufficient to break their alliance during the  war. In conclusion, the most significant reason for the emergence of the Cold War is US aggression, as they feared Communism and did not want it to become a global ideology. They promised to protect their country from communism which caused them to act in an aggressive manner towards the Soviets as they saw their way of life as a threat. The US were the superpower that dropped the atomic bomb first which took tensions to extremes, and was the first threat that ignited the Cold War. Upon review, the USSR are likely to have not have shown any signs of aggression if the US did not initiate a threat towards them first. This prompted the USSR to retaliate which is the underpinning reason for the start of the Cold War, thus their differences in ideologies was not what created the war but rather, prolonged it. it is true their ideologies clashed, but the Soviets never took steps towards combating this disagreement of ideologies, however, the Americans tried to contain communism through an aggressive stance like the Truman Doctrine. Overall, due to the extreme opposition towards the Soviets and they’re aggression this concludes the Americans as the most responsible for the start of the Cold War.  

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