Who was responsible for the Cold War?

Essay by KeirHigh School, 11th grade February 2004

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Who Was Responsible for the Start of the Cold War?

Although differences between communism and capitalism - two opposing systems - existed before the start of World War II, relations between the United States and USSR deteriorated rapidly after the war. The US was so opposed to communism that a policy of containment was developed to prevent communism spreading. In addition, open hostility, lack of understanding, and deliberate provoking further separated the two countries. Though the Cold War was a result of many factors, the actions of the US played a significant part in weakening relations, which eventually led to non-cooperation and conflict.

Because the Soviet Union had been invaded three times in the twentieth century, security was a prime issue for Stalin. The position of the USSR after World War II was much like France after the First World War: security was needed to prevent such suffering from happening ever again.

Unlike France however, whose aim was to cripple Germany, the USSR wanted to ensure security by establishing buffer states. The US could not understand this fixation with security; America had never been directly at threat from invasion in the war. Thus, the actions of the USSR were seen as a way to dominate Eastern Europe through the guise of security

In addition, communism was seen a threat to the freedoms capitalism represented. To prevent the possible worldwide expansion, the US favoured a policy of containment which was actively trying to stop communism. One way was to be firm with the Soviet Union. Truman himself was hostile and had a hard-line approach. Truman's firmness with the USSR could be understandable, considering he was thrown into a position he was not ready for, he had pressure from anti-communist groups, and the US did not want to repeat Britain's mistake...