Running head: FACTORS LEADING TO THE COLD WAR 1
Factors Leading to The Cold War
HIST-2006: World History 1945-2000
FACTORS LEADING TO THE COLD WAR 2
The United States and Soviet Union were allies who were victorious in World War II. Towards the end of the war tensions between the two nations began to escalate due to the nation’s differing military, political, social and economic ideologies. Both nations had strategies regarding the postwar world that would be beneficial to their own nation. The United States wanted to maintain its influence in Asia and the Western Hemisphere along with promoting democracy while the Soviet Union wanted to expand communism into other nations. These differing ideologies and strategies of the two nations brought about the onset of the Cold War (Goff, 2012). There were elements that increased the tensions though the United States continued to show strength and unity through language and terminology that was utilized in speeches and agreements.
Several of the elements that increased tensions during the Cold War were the atomic bomb, the future of Germany and the containment policy. These elements engendered an intense mistrust between the United States and Soviet Union. Two examples that strengthened the United States position on democracy were the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. President Truman addressed a joint session of congress stating his appeal on providing aid to Greece and Turkey for financial recovery giving these two countries the ability to be self –sufficient and maintain democracy (Truman, 1947). His appeal to congress was the way for the United States to assist in maintaining democracy in these two nations who otherwise might have turned to a communist country out of despair for aid. General George Marshall’s speech also known as the Marshall Plan is advocating for international assistance for all countries for
reviving the economy and allowing for political and social conditions that include free institutions (Marshall, 1947). These two speeches made it evident that the United States’ goal
FACTORS LEADING TO THE COLD WAR 3
was to contain communism and strengthen democracy.
Former Britain Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered a speech at Westminster College on March 5, 1946 that had three main purposes. He wanted to fortify the importance of the United States to be involved in the United Nations because he believed that they could prevent further world wars, he advocated for the United States and Britain to continue to elevate their alliance to encourage peace and also that the United States along with its allies should be cognizant of the Soviet Union and their desire to spread communism. He went further to disgrace the Soviet Union and communism with his verbal construction for the requirement of peace. “Constancy of mind, persistency of purpose, and the grand simplicity of decision shall rule and guide the conduct of the English-speaking peoples in peace as they did in war” (Churchill, 1946). His greatest and most remembered statement during his speech is when he coined the term “iron curtain” to describe the postwar boundary in Europe that separated the self-governing nations of the West and the nations in Eastern Europe which were under the rule of the Soviet Union (Churchill, 1946).
In an interview conducted a couple of weeks later, Joseph Stalin spoke on the elements of Churchill’s speech. He compared Britain and the United States alliance to that of Hitler and his friends. He felt that Churchill was proclaiming that English speaking nations only were superior to all other nations and he felt that Churchill along with Britain and the United States were offering aid to non-English speaking nations as an ultimatum. The ultimatum was to either accept their aid along with their rule on a voluntary basis or another war was inevitable (soviet news, 1947).
FACTORS LEADING TO THE COLD WAR 4
There are many factors that could be labeled as the reason for the start of the cold war era. Historians are still examining and arguing over this issue today. Some say it was the tensions over Germany and Korea while others say it was Winston Churchill’s speech and some go as far to say that it was the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. From my readings and research though I would have to speculate that the tensions between the United States and Soviet Union towards the end of the war along with what each country wanted to accomplish regarding democracy and communism along with who was going to occupy what nations would be the beginning. Churchill’s speech along with the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan made it very evident that the English speaking allies wanted to propagate relationships with other nations through military and financial aid for the benefit of their own nations while inseminating democracy, globalization and internationalism.
Churchill, W. (1946, March 5). The Sinews of Peace. Retrieved from
Goff, R., Moss, W., Terry, J., Upshur, J., & Schroeder, M. (2012). The Twentieth Century and
Beyond: A Global History (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill
Marshall, G. (1947, June 5). The Marshall Plan. Retrieved from
Soviet News. (1947). Interview to “Pravda” Correspondent Concerning Mr. Winston
Churchill’s Speech at Fulton. Marxist Internet Archive. Retrieved from
Truman, H. (1947, March 12). Truman Doctrine. Retrieved from
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