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The Origins Of The Cold War

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The Cold War was a conflict that dominated the people of Earth for half a decade. The two clashing titans never fought directly with each other on the military level, but both were drawn into conflicts that split the world in to. All of the conflicts of the world, with the exception of those in Africa, from the time period of 1946 through 1989, were in some war effected by, or a product of the clash of opposite ideologies that we call the Cold War. The key to understanding the role that the two ideologies played throughout the Cold War lies in the conflicts that occurred both before and after World War Two. Such events as the World War One, Russian Civil War, and the Munich Agreement helped fuel the rival ideologies’ anger that would lead to the Cold War. The role of the ideologies can also be found in the paths that the leaders of Great Britain, Russia, and the United States took. Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech, Harry Truman’s Doctrine, and Stalin’s policy towards Eastern Europe after the Second War all created turbulence that shook up the worlds diplomacy enough to split the world in two. The Cold War was all about ideologies, and the roles they played were extremely significant. For half a decade, the fate of the world hung at a balance between these two superpowers, and a couple times, the balance came very close to tipping.

In 1917, the Entente forces (Great Britain, France, U.S.A., Russia) fighting in World War One were devastated when turmoil in the heart of Russia broke out, and the Newly Formed Russian Communist Government pulled out of the war with Germany by appeasing their neighbors with the agreed Brest-Litovisk Treaty. Because of this sudden act of what the other Entente forces viewed as cowardice, the Russian’s were not paid back for their immense sacrifice after the war was over, while the others were reaping the benefits of victory. This caused the capitalist governments of the West to forge negative preconceptions about Communist Russia. The feelings were mutual, for Russia felt cheated out of war reparations, despite the humongous contribution the Russians gave to the war effort while they were fighting.

The attitudes of the two ideologies of the Cold War were greatly affected by the Russian Civil War. Just before the Russian Civil War, “The new Bolshevik government under Lenin faced many opponents. Some wanted the Provisional Government restored. Others wanted the Tsar restored as Russia's ruler. Others were furious that Lenin pulled Russia out of the war.(Learning Curve)” This civil war differed from others before that time period because many other outside countries got involved in what was clearly a Russian affair. Countries like, “Britain, America, France and Japan all tried to help the Whites to defeat the Bolsheviks.”

Great Britain, one of the world’s great military powers at the time, had very strong feelings on the matter of the spreading of Bolshevism. As stated by Winston Churchill in an extract from the minutes of a meeting of the British War Cabinet in March 1919, “Bolshevism was not sitting still. It was advancing, and unless the tide was resisted it would roll over Siberia until it reached the Japanese.(Winston Churchill)” Even then, the nations with a capitalist ideology were thinking about how they could contain the threat of communism spreading throughout the world. They foresaw that it would lead to problems for all of the capitalist nations if communism was allowed free reign.

The attitudes of the two ideologies of the Cold War were also greatly affected by the Munich Pact of September 28th, 1938.Neville Chamberlain, the prime minister of Great Britain, along with the French prime minister, Daladier , decided to appease Hitler, instead of opposing him. Just six months later, in March of 1939, Adolph Hitler broke his promise and took over the rest of Europe as well. In A private letter from Trade Minister Oliver Stanley to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on October 3rd 1938, Stanley states that, “I am afraid that I remain profoundly skeptical of Nazi promises and shall do so until I see peaceful words accompanied by pacific deeds. I can therefore only regard the present situation not as "peace in our time" but as an uneasy truce (Oliver Stanley).” This piece of evidence makes it very clear that capitalist countries were not very trusting at all of all other nations that weren’t capitalist. That fact that the Russians were allied with the Nazi’s for half of World War Two only served to strengthen the animosity between both ideologies.

During the Second Great War of the 20th Century, the two ideologies, Capitalism and Communism, were forced to work together to fight against Adolph Hitler’s Fascist Nazi Germany war machine, to prevent the loss of Europe to by his forces. After the war, the United Soviet States of Russia (U.S.S.R.) and the United States (U.S.) met with the Great Britain and France, along with many other smaller countries and formed the United Nations. The United Nation’s role was to act as, “is an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate co-operation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress and human rights issues. It was founded in 1945 at the signing of the United Nations Charter by 50 countries, replacing the League of Nations, founded in 1919.(Wikipedia)”

The first, most pressing matter that the world had to deal with consisted of what to do with post-war Germany? Both the United States and Russia tried to find a peaceful, non-confrontational way to solve this problem, but due to their completly opposite ideologies and agendas, they failed in finding a peaceful resolution. Their solution was to partition Germany and Berlin into four zones. A British zone, a American zone, a French zone, and a Soviet zone. This partition was the first of many partitions (Korea and Vietnam), and has called by many the start of the Cold War.

Since these rival ideologies had built up over the first half of the century, the clash was inevitable, and just as a tetonic plate that has 50 years of pressure pushing it against another, the Cold war was like a release



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