Even after the end of World War II, the United States and Europe were far from living in peace and harmony. Communism was spreading across Eastern Europe via the Soviet Union, much to the disapproval of the United States and Great Britain, who were originally allies with the Soviets during WWII in the fight against Germany. This spread of communism caused for the USSR’s power to rapidly increase, while also bringing forth the same paranoia and anti-communist sentiments to American citizens that had been seen once before in the original Red Scare.
The spread of communism through Eastern Europe, the growing power of the USSR, and the escalating anti-communist sentiments of the American people greatly increased the suspicion and tension between the United States and the Soviet Union during the 40’s. Communism’s spread through the Soviet Union caused for major tensions to take shape during and after the end of World War II.
Though the United States and Great Britain had once been strong allies with Soviet Russia during the war, the USSR’s fast spread of their communist beliefs to other Eastern Europe countries was a cause for alarm for the two nations, who feared that relations with these countries could falter in the event of a communist regime. “People’s Front” nations were constantly revolutionizing and becoming increasingly popular (Document F), and the United States was desperate to stop the USSR’s violation of both United States and United Nations policies and fight it.
George Kennan believed that reason and arguing would not solve the USSR’s takeover, but felt that “if we can keep them maneuvered into a position where it is always hard and unprofitable for them to take action contrary to the principles of the United Nations and to our policies and were there is always an open door and an easy road to collaboration…sooner or later the logic of it…will force changes there (Document D)”.
Likewise, the USSR felt that the United States and Great Britain had violated their original alliance during World War II by “depart[ing] from democratic principles and [by] violat[ing] actions jointly taken (Document E)”, leading to even greater tensions between the three countries. The USSR’s increasing power had also caused tension, as the USSR had been using their power to convince countries to go against capitalistic beliefs and countries in order to create a communist government.
In fact, the USSR power was so great that “people around the world believe that the Soviet Union carried the major burden of winning the war that that the United States and Great Britain withheld assistance with they could have given, people will be more inclined to support a claim that the Soviet Union should have the greatest voice in determining the peace (Document B)”. The USSR had also relied on propaganda messages to spread their influence, while also attempting to set up the country to be a strong world power.
The country had also wanted to spread their beliefs to as many European countries as possible, which many saw as an almost systematic process (Document G). These actions led to not only an increase in patriotism for the United States citizens to fight the USSR, but also led to an increase in paranoia throughout the country. The original Red Scare that had come a few decades earlier had now developed into a new age of anti-communist sentiments and paranoia, with the a majority of people in the United States (69%) calling for tougher policies and actions against Russia in order to suppress their communist beliefs (Document H).
Many Americans were also paranoid about the rise of Russia and the USSR, fearing that the area was building itself up to be the “ruling power of the world” in place of the United States (Document H). Even Harry Truman, still a senator at the time, believed that Russia was just as bad of an enemy as Germany was during the war, saying, “If we see that Germany is winning, we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany and that way let them kill as many as possible” (Document A).
The rising tensions and suspicions that mainly took place between America and the USSR had taken center stage after World War II was over. As president, Harry Truman had the most anti-communist administration that had ever been seen up to that point, while anti-communist paranoia and suspicions throughout the American people soon gave way to the practice of McCarthyism at the beginning of the 1950’s, with tensions between the two countries finally cracking with the start of the Cold War.