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#18: Old and New Conflict.pdf

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Doris Bergen

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OLD AND NEW CONFLICT ORIGINS, IDEOLOGIES, AND EXPANSION OF THE COLD WAR INTRODUCTION •Postwar Europe was defined by the Cold War •Focus on the US and USSR because they had become the new centers of power and because it represents the decline of European power since the war’s end •Europe had been become divided and utilized by both of the new power centers W ARTIME T ENSIONS AND THE D IVISION OF E UROPE •Influence in Europe became a tug of war between the Soviet Union and the United States •The Cold War and the political ideologies that placed this “iron curtain” between east and west was a dark legacy of WW2 — the War shaped the possibilities for peace •Continuity between wartime and the Cold War period •Focused on eastern and central Europe •Same sites of persecution were utilized — concentration camps were retooled and used for enemies of the new communist regime •It is also a new conflict and allowed for new alliances, new alignments, and new enemies — former allies became rivals and vice versa •Prior to the Cold War, most wars had a recognizable beginning, clear declarations of war, direct fighting, and clear endings through definitive defeats — the Cold War didn’t have any of these factors •It’s more of a concept than it was a conventional war Refers to the rivalry between two political ideologies and ways of life • •The Soviet bloc with its political ideology of communism and the state controlled economy •The “free world” dominated by the United States, based upon the ideals democracy and free market capitalism •The conflict that emerged between these two competing visions was fought on many fronts — political, ideological, cultural, and military •The Cold War lasted from the end of WW2 to the collapse of the USSR •The US and the USSR never came to blows directly despite fighting in proxy wars •How did the wartime alliance of the Big Three (USSR, US, and UK) fall apart and turn so quickly into the Cold War? •Important to consider that the alliance between the USSR and the western allies was built around the common determination to see Hitler defeated — it wasn’t built around common political ideals/goals •WW2 is understood as a war between democracy and fascism/totalitarianism — it was also a war between the ideologies of communism and fascism — this caused problems in the war •Stalin urged the opening of a second front in NW Europe to pressure off the soviets, but this didn’t happen until June 1944 — the sacrifices of the USSR were staggering compered to the western allies OLD AND NEW CONFLICT ORIGINS, IDEOLOGIES, AND EXPANSION OF THE COLD WAR • Role of the USSR — it was the USSR that defeated Nazi Germany As a result, Stalin felt that he would have a substantial hand in the shape of postwar • Europe • As the USSR liberated eastern and central Europe, the US and UK were worried about the future of these territories • Stalin indicated that he considered these territories to be under his sphere of influence — territories that would be part of the Soviet bloc at the war’s end • These states were to act as a buffer — protect the Soviet Union from possible future western aggression • This idea of spheres and a pro-soviet bloc was hardly the vision Roosevelt and Churchill had in mind — they felt they hadn’t fought the war just to replace one dictatorship with another • They believed in national self-determination and wanted the populations of each state to determine their own future • Three conferences took place to discuss the fate of postwar Europe — Turan, 1943; Yalta, 1945; Potsdam, 1945 • Potsdam Conference between Stalin, Churchill, and Truman • Western POV — Stalin was violating early allied agreements by installing communist governments without allowing free elections (like he promised), he was taking over eastern Europe by creating puppet states loyal to his rule • Soviet POV — the fact that the americans had announced that they were no longer going to extend loan agreements for reconstruction in the Soviet Union (which they promised) indicated to Stalin that the US intended to keep the USSR as it was • Former heads of state had in both US and UK had been changed — Roosevelt was replaced by Truman, who took a much harder line with the USSR • With the atomic bomb, the americans felt confident that they no longer needed Stalins’ support to win the war that was still raging in Asia • The allies were able to negotiate up to this point because the US felt that they would need to have the USSR on their side to win the war • Because they no longer the support from the USSR they were able to take a harder line against them • What would happen to Germany? • Americans were convinced that the economic recovery and future prosperity of both postwar Europe and the US depended on the creation of an economically vibrant Germany The Soviets felt that this would transform Germany into a capitalist state • • The Allied could not agree on war reparations • Compromise reached — didn’t make anyone happy, but allowed the Big Three to maintain their unity OLD AND NEW CONFLICT ORIGINS, IDEOLOGIES, AND EXPANSION OF THE COLD WAR INITIATIVE AND R ESPONSE •Churchill delivered his famous Iron Curtain speech in Missouri, 1946 •Not the liberated Europe the Allies fought to protect •Stalin’s response — rhetoric of Nazism being applied to former allies G EORGE K ENNAN AND THE “CONTAINMENT P OLICY,” 1946 •The US response to these new tensions was a policy of containment — defined American foreign policy •One of the most important and controversial policies •The direction the US took was traced back to an influential telegram sent from Moscow to Washington in 1946 by Senior American Diplomat George Kennan •His advice was that there was no point trying to negotiate with Stalin or accommodate the USSR — instead the US should concentrate on halting the spread of communism The USSR had to be contained • •The US was not specifically concerned with the Soviet military might because they were judged in 1946 as too weak to fight a world power THE T RUMAN DOCTRINE , 1947 •The main fear of the US was that the Soviets would take advantage of the socio- economic turmoil throughout postwar Europe to win people over to the communist cause — that communism would become an increasingly appealing ideology to Europeans who were hungry and impoverished •Truman believed that the seeds of totalitarianism are nurtured by misery and want •The US had to contain the Soviet Union will decreasing the appeal for communism in postwar Europe •1947 — British announced that they could no longer provide assistance for the governments of G
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