3. Containment & Confrontation
Iranian Crisis 1945-1946
During WWII, USSR almost came to a collapse because of Operation Barbarossa, and the West has to contain
the Russian war effort. Britain & USA offered Lend Lease support to Russia, but they could only be delivered
in two ways:
Arctic circle (takes 2 months)
Go through the south through Iran. – Iran is strategic!! (Also Iran is a big oil producer, can’t let it fall to
Germany – that’s British concern)
Reza Khan; balance relations with Britain, Russia & Germany; Cooperative relations with Germany during
WWII; refused to expel German experts.
Operation Countenance – Britain & USSR invaded Iran (1942 – 1945)
Reza Khan’s son – forced to be a pro-Ally government; Tripartite Treaty of Alliance: Britain, the Soviet Union,
Iran – withdrawal of all foreign troops within 6 month of the end of the war; transit rights; Iran’s political
When is war is over, the British pull out but the USSR doesn’t, why?
Throughout those three years, USSR established communist parties in Azerbaijan and Kurdistan;
USSR wanted to extend the border and create a buffer zone (like Poland);
This is totally against what was previously agreed to.
Moscow openly challenged the West (for the first time); backed down when Iran went to the UN.
Iranian government negotiated settlement with USSR: substantial autonomy for the Northern Province, the
Soviet Union gets oil drilling rights for 50 years, in exchange that Moscow terminates support for the
separatist movement, and withdraw all troops.
The Agreement was repudiated by Iran in Dec 1946 and Oct 1947;
In Oct 1947 Washington concluded an agreement with Tehran with U.S. military assistance
In 1945, the Soviet Union denounced the 1925 Non-aggression pact with Turkey and asked for:
Concession of provinces of Kars and Ardahan
Revision of the Montreux Convention of 1936 to share command of the straits with the Turks
Western powers were empathetic and understanding of Russia’s strategic interest in the waterway during
the war at Yalta; but later on Truman viewed this as aggression
U.S. provided Turkey with military assistance to withstand pressure with the Soviet Union
Once again, western unification of interests compels Stalin to back down and give up his dream of having a
foothold in the Mediterranean. This demonstrates that if the Soviet Union could have a gain, they would
push for it. This fell in line with Western attitudes of Soviet motivation.
Series of events leading to the final official rivalry between the two great powers:
Stalin’s speech to the Supreme Soviet, February 1946
Argues that the world is divided in two, ideologically competing parts (Communism vs. Capitalism) and
identifies the USA as the main antagonist to the Soviet Union pushing for a Capitalist agenda and
American takeover of the world.
Because of these competing economic systems and ideologies, war is inevitable, there is no escape, and
they cannot coincide.
Lack of cooperation on serious issues in 1945;
US Sent warships to Turkey meaning that they were ready to fight.
Britain created the “Russian Committees” – decided to follow the US. Frank Roberts, says compromise is no
longer a solution for Britain. September 5 1945 Gouzenko Affair
U.S. Public Opinion poll