To What Extent was US Foreign Policy Responsible for Starting the Cold War?

Essay by qwertygeorgieHigh School, 10th grade February 2014

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To What Extent was US Foreign Policy Responsible for Starting the Cold War?

- History Prize Essay

Although the Cold War has no official start date, it is believed to have run from the late 1940s through to the collapse of the USSR, symbolized by the Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1951. The Cold War was considered 'cold', as it consisted of no direct action, only threats, 'proxy wars' and 'hot wars'; consisting of both the USSR, and the USA employing third party countries to do their fighting for them. Instead, the Cold War is often considered the fight for military, economic, political and ideological triumph between two of the 'Big Three' - the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic - and the United States of America. Despite growing tension between the Big Three, they were all fully aware that they had to stay allied until their mutual enemy of World War II, Hitler, had been defeated.

Once WWII came to an end, relations between these three super powers quickly disintegrated, mainly in three conferences; Yalta, Potsdam and Tehran, all aiming to outline the principles of post war peace. Relations disintegrated for a number of reasons, including US Foreign Policy, resulting in the Cold War. Such a war was predicted as early as 1835, when Alexis de Tocqueville guessed at the inevitable conflict between these two super powers by stating that 'they alone are preceding… along a path to which no limit can be perceived.'

Before exploring the extent to which US foreign policy was responsible for starting the Cold War, it is important to study these underlying tensions; they help to explain why this war was often considered 'inevitable.' At the end of 1945, the USSR and USA were considered allies, both thrilled with their triumph against Hitler, resulting in...