The Cold War is the term used to describe the tense relationship between post World War II East and West. The United States and Western Europe stood on the principle of opposing the communism that dominated Russia and Eastern Europe. Russia was overtaking smaller eastern European countries with force and did not want the United States to resist this movement into Europe. The two superpowers quickly abandoned the appearance of being allies, with Western Europe aligning with the United States and Eastern Europe aligning with Russia.
On March 12, 1947, the United States Congress adopted the Truman Doctrine. This stiffened the anti-Communist stance in America. The Truman Doctrine set forth a United States policy to assist any regime resisting communism. Only a few months later, in June of 1947, Secretary of State George Marshall announced a plan to help in the reconstruction of Europe. The plan asked all European nations, Eastern and Western Europe, to reveal their reconstruction needs to the United States.
The United States would then attempt to provide aid to those countries that responded. The Soviets predictably refused the offer of aid and kept Eastern Europe closed. This was what the United States expected and it also gave the appearance that the Soviets were responsible for increasing tensions in the Cold War. These two plans together offered economic and military support to those countries threatened by Communism and also weakened the already crumbling relationship between the United States and Russia.
The anti-Communist sentiment also applied to the Communist parties in Western Europe. This led Western Europe to be led by centrist or conservative parties in the 1950s. Italy, Germany, Britain, and France all elected centrist or conservative leaders in the 1950s.
With two superpowers in the world, European countries now had to make a decision as...