In my opinion ,the US should bear a bigger responsibility for causing the cold war. After the second world war, the ideological difference ,mutual distrust and the disappearance of the common enemy (germany ), these all are the causes of the cold war. However ,these comflicts were all brought by the US. Many historians believe that the Cold War was inevitable once the common enemy, Germany, was defeated after the end of World War II.
Other historians such as John Gaddis stress that neither superpower can be held solely responsible for the ideological war that lasted half a century.
These historians believe that the US and the USSR followed a pattern of action and reaction; and that neither nation had a definitive plan of action (Todd, 2009). Also, after President Roosevelt was replaced by Truman, the US foreign policy adopted a hardline stance towards communism. Thus, President Truman’s hardline stance foreign policies played a significant role in causing the Cold War because of the paranoia and upset it caused in the USSR.
One of Truman’s policies that may have played a role in starting the Cold War was the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. According to historian Kolkos, the war in the Pacific was coming to a close and that there was really no need for the US to use weapons of mass destruction on Japan. However, Truman ordered the use of the atomic bombs on Japan as a means to threaten the USSR and warn them of the great power the US had at its disposal.
The significance of this in causing the Cold War is that it ignited a nuclear, as well as traditional, arms race which escalated tension between the US and USSR. This ace-card that the US held caused the USSR to respond by strengthening their military, working on the development of their own nuclear weapon, and majorly increasing military spending. Once the USSR had exploded their first nuke in 1949, it caused huge tension because now a real threat of nuclear war existed and led to a race between the US and the USSR to see who could stockpile the most weapons.
The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan were the hardline stance policies of the US that had an important part in causing Cold War tensions. This is because the USSR took these policies as a direct attack against communism. Stalin coined the term “dollar imperialism” for the US foreign policies because they offered economic aid to nations in Europe that were detrimentally affected by WWII in an attempt to make these nations economically dependent on and politically influenced by the US.
It caused fear and paranoia in the USSR because the soviet communists believed that the US would gain political and economic control of the countries in need of aid. It also caused fear and paranoia because the Truman Doctrine and Marshall plan condemned communism as evil and it took action to prevent the spread of communism to any susceptible nation by providing military assistance. The USSR was upset that the US could do such a thing, thus they responded furiously to these policies by developing their own similar form of economic aid.
These were called the Molotov Plan and Comecon which forcefully imposed economic aid on countries such as Czech (even if these nations wanted the aid of the US instead). These actions and reactions caused tensions to greatly rise in the Cold War (Todd, 2009). Thus, it can be argued that it was not only Truman’s policies, but Stalin’s policies that also played a major role in the Cold War.
Stalin’s foreign policies such as establishing a Soviet-form of communism on a global scale and creating a buffer zone around the USSR also played a major role in starting the Cold War. Through the evidence in Kennan’s Telegram, Truman was able to justify his aggressive policies as a result of the policies of the USSR. In addition, through Kennan’s Telegram, Kennan revealed that the Soviet Union’s domestic policies such as collectivization, purging, etc were evil and inhumane (Todd, 2009). Thus, the US had no choice but to take a hardline stance against Soviet-communism to prevent it from spreading. This was the primary justification of Truman’s policies.
In conclusion, Truman’s policies played a significant part in the escalation of the Cold War, however, it was not the sole cause of the war as it was based on a pattern of action and reaction. Thus, Stalin’s policies also played a huge factor in this ideological war. The fact of the matter is that both the US and the USSR strongly believed that their own government was the right and just government for the world and that the Cold War was ultimately started as a result of two intransigent leaders unwilling to look at the other side.
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