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Wwii Rhetoric Among East And West Leaders

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As the Second World War was coming to an end, the main leaders of the United States, Britain, and Soviet Union meet several times at key conferences to discuss postwar relations. The Yalta and Potsdam Conferences were critical moments in history for the Ð''Big Three' leaders to agree upon diplomatic and unified solutions to postwar peace, yet their disagreements, personal conflicts, and ideological beliefs lead to an eventual Cold War crisis. The opposing views of both the West and East blocs made it difficult to achieve a possible coexistence. Personal conflicts amongst leaders lead to their firm positions on foreign matters, resulting in a series of rhetorical speeches that intensified the situation further. In the following paper, I will demonstrate the rhetoric employed through speeches by Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, and Joseph Stalin that lead to the escalating conflict into a Cold War standoff.

"During World War II, the Soviet Union was often pictured very romantically as an ally in the popular press, but quickly after the end of the war disenchantment with its actions and intentions set in." As the postwar talks continued at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the Allied Powers came to realize two different approaches in their negotiations. Comrade Stalin, behind his twelve million soldiers in Eastern Europe, was initially firm with his demands as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill reluctantly agreed to a Ð''spheres of influence' concept where the West would retain influence over the Western European nations while the Soviet Union controlled the Eastern European countries until elections were held. "Roosevelt avoided any showdown with Stalin, in general because he continued to hope that a trustful policy would encourage trust in return."

Personal conflicts amongst leaders began to unravel as Stalin and Churchill could not cooperate with each other. Stalin viewed Churchill as a selfish individual who would probably "slip a kopeck out of your pocket" if you did not watch him. There were major disagreements regarding the state of Poland as Churchill, backed by Roosevelt, promised the free independence of Poland on the eve of the outbreak of WWII while Stalin argued that the Soviet Union needed a more Soviet-friendly government that would provide security on its borders. "The British and American governments were suspicious, fearing that the issue of Russia's national security was a mask for Communist expansionism."

As Soviet forces were utilizing the so-called Ð''salami tactics' to slowly carve up Eastern Europe, the leaders met again at the Potsdam Conference, with the new American President Harry Truman taking place following Franklin Roosevelt's death on April 12th. At the Potsdam Conference in July 45, no postwar treaties were created to recognize these communist-friendly governments connected to the Soviet Union. Tensions continued to escalate as the United States believed themselves and other freedom-loving nations as allies while they viewed the Soviet Union's undertakings as satellites.

Another conflicting issue that arose out of Potsdam was that Truman was fully informed of the Manhattan Project but hesitated to inform Stalin that the United States had successfully developed two atomic bombs. This occurred after the initial proposals to share all military information amongst allies during the war. President Truman chose to tell Stalin only that the United States possessed "a new weapon of unusual destructive force." When Truman became the American President following Roosevelt's death in 1945, he "quickly demonstrated that he would have a tougher Soviet policy." It was apparent that Truman did not trust his wartime ally, and it was for this reason that Stalin witnessed the destructiveness of American power only when the two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan and not beforehand. The lack of trust and failure to disclose military developments and information lead to mutual suspicions of each other's objectives.

Stalin clearly distrusted his wartime allies, not only because of historical conflicts, but also because he suspected that the West delayed the opening of a second front during WWII to weaken the Soviet Union. Stalin even abolished the Comintern and proclaimed he was fighting for freedom to demonstrate to the West his desires for peace. In reality, it was all part of his rhetorical strategy to gain credibility and further his nation's self-interests.

The state of affairs intensified in February 1946 with Stalin's Ð''Tough' speech about the West. Stalin claimed that capitalism made war inevitable as the "development of world capitalism proceeds not in the path of smooth and even progress but through crisis and the catastrophes of war." Stalin went even as far as to refer capitalism as a monopolistic entity; that all capitalism was a singular form controlled by the West and imposed against the ideologies of the Soviet Union. In his speech, Stalin also praised the Soviet social system and proclaimed that it "is fully viable and stable form of organization of society."

Dean Acheson, the former Secretary of State of the Truman administration recalled that "Stalin's offensive against the United States and the West, announced in his speech of February 9, 1946 [in which he argued that existence of a hostile, capitalist West meant that international peace was impossible]." American officials were somewhat confused by Stalin's words and needed clarification regarding Soviet foreign policies. George Kennan, the US ambassador in Moscow, composed a lengthy article about the state of Soviet communism named "Sources of Soviet Conduct". He described the communist condition as a Ð''raging river' that needed to be contained by surrounding communist regimes with free nations.

Shortly following Stalin's speech, Winston Churchill, visited President Truman in his home state of Missouri. During his stay, Churchill addressed the Westminster College in Fulton, on March 5, 1946 where he made his prominent Ð''Iron Curtain' speech. He proclaimed that, "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent." Churchill took a very strong position against his wartime ally, Stalin, and his communist ambitions. Churchill explained how many historical independent nations were now under the Soviet sphere and were largely being influenced and controlled from Moscow. Churchill did not believe that Russia desired another war but only the Ð''fruits of war' such as natural resources and the ability to

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