Why Did The Cold War Break Out In The Aftermath Of World War II?

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade March 2001

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Why did the Cold War Break out in the Aftermath of World War II? The disharmony between the United States and Russia, termed "˜The Cold War', did not develop unexpectedly in 1945, or even in 1917 with the communist victory in Russia. Difficulties between Russia and the United States date back to the late nineteenth century, when the two powers confronted each other concerning North China and Manchuria, ending a century in which the Americans had expanded westward across half the world and the Russians had moved eastward across Asia. Until this time the two nations had been good allies, developing a relationship where, should a conflict arise, the Russians retreated before the demands of American expansionists.

By the 1890s, Russia controlled a large continental empire, traversing many different cultures and religions, as did the United States. The Russians viewed their czar as an instrument of God's will, and similarly, the Americans believed that a "manifest destiny"� of supernatural power directed their conquests.

From this time until 1917, the United States endeavoured to contain Russian expansion.

In 1922, following the First World War, Russia and defeated Germany signed a treaty of co-operation. The Soviets' condemnation of religion and private property demonstrated to the Americans that Russian communism was a real threat, and a threat that was there to stay, unless American action was taken. However, Lenin had announced in 1921 that he would welcome foreign capital for reconstruction projects. With American businessmen envisioning a more capitalist Russia, Soviet-American trade rose to over $100 million between 1925 and 1930. In 1924 Stalin came to power in Russia, promoting his "˜five-year plans', and a self-sufficient Russia. Consequently, Soviet-American trade dropped significantly as America entered her worst years of depression. In 1939, with the threat of a Second World War looming overhead,