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Hwa Chong Institution

Humanities Programme@ High School

HP-HI-304: Lecture 1 - Origins of the Cold War- A Historical Analysis 1.1 Introduction The term Cold War was first used in April 1947 by US politician and businessmen, Bernard Baruch. In a speech before the legislature in the state of South Carolina. He warned, Let us not be deceived we are today in the midst of a cold war. It was then popularized by US journalist, Walter Lippmann. He defined the Cold War as being conflict through threat, pressure, propaganda and espionage: simply, conflict on all levels, political and economic, short of direct armed conflict. Many people agree that the term Cold War accurately described the international politics between 1945 and 1991 which was heavily shaped by the intense rivalry between these two great blocs of power and the political ideologies they represented. Cold War was a conflict between the capitalist nations led by the USA and communist nations led by Soviet Union.

The principal allies of the United States during the Cold War included Britain, France, West
Germany, Japan, and Canada, and these capitalist nations are sometimes referred to as the First World. On the Soviet side were many of the countries of Eastern Europe including Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, East Germany, and Romania, and during parts of the Cold War, Cuba and China. These communist nations are called the Second World. The developing nations of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia which had no formal commitment to either bloc were known as neural or the Third World. Importance of understanding the Cold War in history

Understanding the Cold War is therefore central to understanding the history of our world today The Cold War is rather ironic because the main instigators in the conflict, the United States and
the Soviet Union, the superpowers, never actually engaged in open warfare with one another, hence the usage of the term Cold War. Yet again, while a direct hot war between the two was avoided, there were many international crises and direct military conflicts involving the allies or client states of these two rivals such as the renowned Korean War, Vietnam War, Cuban Missile Crisis and Arab-Israeli Wars. 1.2 A Broad Historical Survey of international relations, 1917-1949 Lenins Bolshevik Revolution Oct 1917 represented an ideological challenge to the democratic Western world

Hostility between the United States and the USSR could be traced back to Lenins Bolshevik Revolution Oct 1917 which saw the establishment of the first communist state in the world. Lenins withdrawal of Russia from World War 1 and the subsequent signing of a separate peace/Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany caused the Western Allies to view the new Russian Communist government with suspicion. In the eyes of Lenin and his government, the 1918 military intervention of the USA alongside Britain, France, and Japan represented an assault on Russias feeble new revolutionary regime. In fact, the European powers and the United States did resent Russias new leadership, with its appeals against capitalism and its efforts to weld local Communist parties into an international revolutionary movement. In December 1922 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was formed as a federal union of Russia and neighboring areas under Communist control. The United States refused to recognize the Soviet state until 1933.
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The deep ideological differences between the USSR and the United States were exacerbated by the leadership of Joseph Stalin, who ruled the USSR from 1929 to 1953. August 1939 Russo-German non-aggression pact In August 1939, on the eve of World War II, Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with German dictator Adolf Hitler. The two leaders pledged not to attack one another and agreed to divide the territory that lay between them into German and Soviet spheres of influence. Operation Barbarossa June 1941 Hitler betrayed the agreement, however, and in June 1941 saw the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa which took the Soviet military by surprise. Britain and the United States rallied to the USSRs defense, which produced the coalition that would defeat Germany over the next four years. This American-British-Soviet coalition which came to be known as the Grand Alliance was an uneasy affair, marked by mistrust and, on the Soviet side, by charges that the USSR bore a heavier price than the other nations in prosecuting the war. The Tehran Conference 1943 The Tehran Conference 1943 saw the leaders of Britain, the Soviet union and the US namely Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin respectively coming together to meet in Tehran, Iran where they agreed to work toward the defeat of Nazi Germany. This was the first meeting which brought Churchill and Roosevelt into personal contact with Stalin. No concrete political decisions were taken at the conference. They discussed the post-war settlement of Germany It has been agreed by the Big Three that Germany would be demilitarized and deindustrialised in the post-war period. Stalin further asserted that no leniency should be shown towards Germany since they were responsible for the death of 12 million Russians. How exactly Germany would be dealt with was not decided One issue which demonstrated the difficulty of arranging a peace settlement acceptable to all the allies was the Polish Question (Fate of Poland) They agreed on the boundaries of Poland. However, the problem of which government would rule in Poland remained unsettled. Indeed Britain and the USA favoured the Provisional government which had been set up in London (London Poles) whom the Russian distrusted. The Polish Question was of paramount importance to both American and British. They realized that Polands future should not be haphazardly dealt with since the Poles represented a large minority in the USA. Besides, the Polish fought alongside the British to defend Polands independence against German invasion. The polish Question remained unsettled. Efforts were made to map out the future of post-war Europe.

The Yalta Conference Feb 1945: Beginnings of the Grand Alliance breakdown The Yalta Conference held in the Crimea was attended by Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. At the time, it was generally thought to be a success, agreement being reached on several points: the United Nations Organisation should be set up; Germany was to be divided into zones-Russian, American and British (a French zone was included later)-while Berlin (which would be in the Russian Zone) would be split into corresponding zones; similar arrangements were to be made for Austria; free elections would be allowed in the states of eastern Europe; Stalin promised to join the war against Japan on condition that Russia received the whole of Sakhalin Island and some territory in Manchuria. By 1944, with victory over the Nazis approaching, the conflicting visions within the alliance of a postwar world were becoming ever more obvious. Even before the defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945, the United States and the USSR had become divided over the political future of Poland. Stalin, whose forces had driven the Germans out of Poland in 1944 and 1945 and established a pro-Communist provisional government there, believed that Soviet control of Poland was necessary for his countrys security.
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This met with opposition from the Allies, and it was not long before the quarrel had extended to the political future of other Eastern European nations. The struggle over the fate of Eastern Europe thus constituted the first crucial phase of the Cold War. Yet during this period, which lasted from 1944 to 1946, both sides clung to the hope that their growing differences could be surmounted and something of the spirit of their earlier wartime cooperation could be preserved. The Potsdam Conference (July 1945): Obvious breakdown in the Grand Alliance The Potsdam Conference (July 1945) revealed a distinct cooling off in relations. The main representative were Stalin, Truman and Churchill (replaced by Clement Attlee who became British Prime Minister after Labours election victory.) Roosevelt died soon after the Yalta Summit. Harry S. Truman assumed the presidency and represented the USA at the first post-war Big Three meeting- which took place in Potsdam ,just outside Berlin. Clement Attlee replaced Churchill and became the new British Prime Minister after Labours election victory. Norman Lowe: Truman and Churchill were annoyed because Germany east of the Oder-Neisse Line had been occupied by Russian troops and being run by the pro-communist Polish government which expelled some five million Germans living there; this had not been agreed to at Yalta. Truman did not inform Stalin about the nature of the atomic bombs though Churchill was told about it during the Conference. A few days after the conference closed the two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan and the war ended quickly on 10 August without the need for Russian aid (though the Russian declared war on Japan on 8 August and invaded Manchuria). Though they annexed south Sakhalin as agreed at Yalta they were allowed no part in the occupation of Japan. 1.3 Causes of the Cold War There is no agreement among historians as to when the Cold War began. Some historians have claimed that it began in 1917 while others viewed 1947. Historiography (Writing of History) on the Cold War Some were written during the period 1945-1991 itself as events were being played out while new scholarship also emerged after 1991 after the end of the Cold War. It is inevitable that one develops a certain perspective in a specific period due to the materials at hand. Views do change with time as more events develop, so historians writing at different times during and after the Cold War would have different perspectives. Also with the increased availability of archival materials from the old Soviet bloc after 1991, new cold war history is known as multi-archival. It draws upon materials from both sides and with this balance, it tends to be more objective than old cold war history which was dominated by US and western sources. This is not to say that things written while the Cold War was still being played out are now useless. Hindsight may give us the advantage of knowing a historical event in its entirety (start, middle and end) and so it enables us to evaluate these events fully. Still, we should appreciate the fact that most historians and scholar put in a lot of work to present as objective a view as was possible in their time. In fact, even with the same materials, different perspectives on a subject can emerge and this actually gives us more food for thought and definitely more room for debate. It is also interesting to compare the press in the west and the USSR during the period itself. We would be able to see how different the perspectives were and also the manipulation of information at times, especially in the Soviet Union so as to put forth the correct propaganda (refer to the articles from TIME and PRAVDA) . This tells us that we need to be critical and discerning when we read any materials.

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Ideological Differences/ Different political system The aftermath of the war saw the division of the world into two ideological camps with the West under the USA practising capitalism and democracy whereas the Soviet Bloc was communist and a one-party state. Under the capitalist system, rich people were able to invest their money in land an industry and keep any profits that were made. This was free enterprise and it involved a market economy where businessmen were free to produce any goods that they like in response to consumer demands instead of producing what the government tells them to do. In the democratic system, there is usually more than one political party and people may vote for the party of their choice in free elections. On the other hand, The USSR was a communist and a one party state where the state owned the factories and farms and there was no individual profit making. Profits were used for the good of all. In elections, there was usually the only one party to vote for, the Communist party. The attempt to impose one political ideology upon the other political camp would inevitably lead to discontent and subsequent retaliation, thus unsettling the world. Having such opposing political systems caused both sides to develop suspicion of each other; each believed their system was better than the other. Over time, prolonged suspicion would culminate in paranoia over political motives, thus aggravating tensions between both camps and hence the Cold War. History of Distrust between the West and the Soviet Union According to Hugh Higgins, the origins of the Cold War could be traced back to the Bolshevik Revolution Oct 1917. Such a revolution saw the establishment of the first communist state in the world thereby representing the opposite pole of political thinking, and more significantly, challenging the supremacy of democratic system. The seeds of distrust were sown when the West supported the Whites who were opponents of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War, 1918-1921. Such distrust was further exacerbated by the Western powers refusal to recognize the communist Soviet Government. The lack of support to Stalins attempt to form an anti-Hitler alliance with Britain and France in the 1930s, coupled with the exclusion of Stalin in the Munich Conference further accelerated the intensity of distrust. Stalins suspicions of the Allies were further deepened when the allies did not launch an invasion of Europe sooner, because they wanted Hitler to destroy the Soviet Union before they defeat Germany. He was disgruntled over the USAs development of the atomic bomb without informing the USSR. Such historical baggage of distrust became a great stumbling block to fostering any cordial relations between both camps. Against such a background, it was not surprising that the two sides were so deeply suspicious of each other, thus making the Cold War inevitable. Change of leaders/ Lack of bonding between new Br & Am leaders with Stalin *** It is important to remember that there were new American and British leaders by the time of the third conference of the Big Three. Harry Truman replaced Franklin Roosevelt who passed away in April 1945, and Clement Attlee defeated Winston Churchill at the British elections. Truman and Attlee were leaders of peacetime governments and had less power than their predecessors. They also did not share the bond that Roosevelt and Churchill had with Josef Stalin (which had developed in spite of differences because of the need to defeat Hitler and Germany) More analysis from Norman Lowe, p.320:




Stalins aggressive foreign policies Traditionally, Stalin was often blamed for the Cold War. The aim of his foreign policies was to take advantage of the military situation to strengthen Russian influence in Europe.
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This involved occupying as much of Germany as possible as the Nazi armies collapsed and acquiring as much territory as he could get away with from other states such as Finland, Poland and Rumania. Stalin also failed to deliver his promise which was made at the Yalta Conference that the Eastern European countries should be allowed to choose their own governments by voting in free elections, and instead demanded these countries to be pro-Moscow. Whats your analysis? Refer to Norman Lowe.

Revisionist views 5. The Iron Curtain March 1946 by Winston Churchill Winston Churchill, formally the British prime Minister, delivered an important speech when he was visiting the USA. March 1946 witnessed a speech by Winston Churchill, a former British Prime minister who spoke of an Iron Curtain, which fell across Europe and divided East and West. This phrase became part of the language of the Cold War as western politicians talked of how communist states were behind the Iron Curtain It was a direct response to the moves the USSR was making to establish satellite in Eastern Europe. Churchill warned Europe that From Stettin (Germany) in the Baltic, to Trieste (Yugoslavia) in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended upon the continent. The term iron curtain described the imaginary border between the Soviet-dominated countries in the east the free, democratic countries of the West. Churchill stated bluntly on how Europe would be divided in two distinct camps, Communist and Capitalist. He warned that the USSR was determined to expand its influence and spread communism in Europe. Churchill said the West must stand together and take firm action to stop the spread of communism across Eastern Europe.

Stalins response: Stalin reacted very quickly to this speech. He accused Churchill of being a warmonger, of deliberately stirring up trouble and calling for war against the USSR. He also took steps within the USSR to strengthen it against the hostile West by starting the FiveYear Plan to make the USSR self-sufficient in the event of war breaking out. The Iron Curtain Speech widened the gap between East and West and more significantly, it contributed to the deterioration of relations and so the Cold War became colder

Any semblance of truth? The Communist threat was not overrated if one considers the expansion of the USSR into Eastern Europe after World War II. Stalin slowly brought the Eastern European countries under the Soviet control. Norman Lowe, p.323 By the end of 1947, every state in eastern Europe with the exception of Czechoslovakia had a fully communist government. Elections were rigged, non-communist members of the coalition governments were expelled, many being arrested and executed, and eventually all other political parties were dissolved. Stalin turned these countries into Soviet satellites, and forced the government in these states to take orders from the USSR and carried them without questions.
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Upon seeing these development, the USA began to believe that the USSR was bent on world domination. As the European countries were to weak to resist the USSR, the Americans felt that it was their duty to prevent the USSR from achieving world domination Hungary - The post-war elections held in 1945 which w - ere free and fair which ended in the defeat of the communists. This made Stalin realise that a free and fair trial would never result in a communist victory. With the help of Soviet military troops, the communists overthrew the democratically elected non-communist government in May 1947 and installed a rigid communist dictatorship. Poland - In Poland, the intended free and fair elections did not materialize as the elections held in 1947 were neither free nor fair. - The communist thus attained power within the country. The communist government then adopted a new constitution similar to that of the Soviet Union. All opposition leaders were either executed or exiled. The Poles lost all their personal liberties. Albania - Enver Hoxha, a pro-Soviet leader, formed a temporary government. As in Poland the promised elections were neither free nor fair. The Albanians came under the repressive rule of Hoxha, who became very loyal to the Soviet Union. Bulgaria - With the help of the soviet troops, George Dimitrov, dethroned the king in 1946 and established a peoples republic, thereby paving the way for the establishment of a Stalinist type of leadership in Bulgaria. Romania - In 1947, the Pro-Soviet leaders in Romania forced the king to abdicate and adopt a new communist constitution for the country. All other political leaders were either imprisoned or executed, thus culminating in the establishment of a repressive regime in Romania. Czechoslovakia - The pre-war non-communist leadership returned to power after the war. - The new government compromised both Communist and non-Communist and adopted a new policy of friendly relations and cooperation towards the USA and the USSR. In 1948, the communist, with the support of the Soviet, overthrew the non-Communist and established a repressive Communist government which was loyal only to the USSR.

6. Actions of the USA after the war - The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan
Withdrawal of Aid to the Soviet Union Immediately after the war was over, the USA stopped giving financial aid to the Soviet Union. This was a huge blow to Soviet Union as the state had suffered great devastation during the war. This caused Stalin to view the USA with suspicion of wanting to use this chance to thoroughly defeat Soviet Union and put a stop to the spread of communism in Eastern Europe. The USA, however, had suffered no real damage and its industry was working at full capacity. Therefore, this withdrawal of aid to the Soviet Union served to further strain the already tensed ties, thus leading the Cold War. The Truman Doctrine, March 1947 In the face of a communist threat in Greece, the USA President Truman made a speech offering to help any country whose government was under threat from armed minorities or by outside pressure. This was known as the Truman Doctrine. Although communism was not mentioned by name, this was what Truman meant.
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The Truman Doctrine witnessed the rearmament and giving of financial aid to Greece and Turkey with the overall objective of contain communism. Background:

President Truman of the USA, who greatly distrusted Stalin, announced that the USA was prepared to help countries resist Communism. He was responding to the situation in Greece where Communist rebel, helped by east European Communists, were trying to overthrow the Greek monarchy. Britain had been supporting the government of Greece. But by 1947, it was no longer able to do so. In March 1947, President Truman developed a new policy and declared that the USA must maintain their free institutions and their national integrity against aggressive movements that sought to impose upon them totalitarian/dictatorial regimes. Truman believed in the domino theory. If one country (a domino) fell to communism, this would cause the next country (another domino) to be weakened so it would too become communist. The Truman Doctrine outlined Americas belief that it had the responsibility to help others free, democratic countries and peoples, resist Communism. If it did not do so, Communism would spread and more and more countries would have totalitarian governments. To curb with the situation, the USA adopted a policy of containment. This was to prevent further expansion of Soviet Communism and to limit Communism to the areas in which they already exist. The Truman Doctrine played a significant part in the world affairs. This ended the pre-war policy of isolationism in US foreign policy.

The Marshall Plan, June 1947 President Truman believed that communism flourished where there was misery and want. In post war Europe, governments were struggling to cope with the damage caused by the war and there was still rationing and shortages in many countries. Truman therefore decided that the USA should help put an end to the poverty that existed, thereby making communism less attractive to the people of Europe. June 1947 saw the proclamation of the Marshall Plan. The American Secretary of State George S. Marshall put forward a plan which would provide large amounts of money to help countries rebuild after the war. Marshall pointed out that poverty and unemployment would reinforce communisms appeal, while recovery would create stability and thriving democratic institutions. Indeed, it was also believed that an expanded European economy would be good for US exports and the revival of the German economy within a European framework would prevent a new German dominance. The Marshall Plan states that only countries with capitalist economies would qualify for aid. Thus though the Plan was technically open to the Soviet Union and her allies, it was clear that the plans political and economic criteria made it unpalatable to the Soviet Union. In all, a total of US 13,000 billion was provided under the Marshall Plan, mainly to countries in Western Europe. The US hoped that some eastern European states would be tempted and in doing so this would weaken Soviet control of eastern Europe. It was also offered to Eastern Europe but Stalin believed that it was a way of spreading American influence and refused to accept it. Stalin prevented the East European countries under his control from accepting the aid. Stalin did not want the Americans to gain a foothold in what he was considered under his control. This was another step which intensified the bad feelings between East and West. mixed.
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The initial Soviet reaction to the Marshall Plan was actually

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NATO--- North Atlantic Treaty Organization 1949 Fearing Soviet military aggression in West Europe, Britain France, the Netherlands and a few other Europe countries formed a collective self-defence pact in March 1948 to aid one other if USSR attack them. - The President Truman felt that a stronger military alliance involving USA was necessary. - This was to let the USSR know that an armed attack against one or more of them shall be considered an attack against all of them. - This was the creation of NATO in April 1949. NATO saw the USA committing itself to the defence of Europe form Soviet aggression. With the stationing of the US troops in Europe, it intensified the USSRs fears and escalated the cold war. Soviets responses: Cominform [political control] and Comecon [Financial plan] Stalin realized that the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan were part of the American policy of containment of communism in Europe. The USSR was suspicious of the closer links that were formed between the USA and its allies in Western Europe. The USSR on the other hand had stronger links with it own allies in Eastern Europe. In response, Stalin established the Communist Information Bureau( Cominform) in September 1947. The USSR thus formed the Cominform in 1947, an organization that linked Communist parties in the different states and allowed the Soviet Union to control these countries. Comprising all the USSR satellite countries, the aim of the Cominform was to bind these countries together, making sure that they adopted communist policies which met with the approval of Stalin. During the Cominforms first conference in September 1947, Soviet leader Zhdanov announced the USSRs two camps theory. The USSR viewed the postwar world as being divided into two camps: the soviet-led anti-imperialist and democratic camp versus the US-led imperialist and anti-democratic camp. Zhdanov argued that the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan were signs of US attempts to dominate Europe and accused the Americans of preparing for a new war to achieve world domination. Thus the Soviet Union was portrayed as a defender of world peace and the Soviet bloc was justified as it prevented the US from achieving its ambitions. Stalin did not want the people of Eastern Europe to have any contact with the Western world. Travel was severely restricted and the Eastern block became a closed society firmly under the grip of Stalin. Comecon 1949 saw the establishment of the Council for Mutual Economic Aid (Comecon) to rival the Marshall Plan. Comecon was formed in 1949 and served as the Soviet version of the Marshall Plan for the east European countries. Unlike the USA however, the Soviet Union did not have the necessary wealth to provide extensive financial help to other countries

The Warsaw Pact, 1955 - To counter NATO, the USSR formed the Warsaw Pact. - It was a military pact between the USSR and the East European countries under Soviet control. - If the Western countries attacked any one of the members of the Warsaw Pact, all the other members led by the USSR would come to the military aid of that country. This thus gave another reason for the USA and the other Western countries to fear the USSR. Berlin Blockade Stalin set up the Berlin Blockade. This was to prevent US influence from spreading across Eastern Europe and also to force West Berlin to surrender to communist rule. As Berlin was in the middle of the Soviet zone, supplies to citizens in Britain, USA and France zones could only be sent over by crossing Soviet territory.
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As Stalin wanted full control of Berlin, he closed all roads, railways and canals linking West Germany to West Berlin. His intention was to starve all the citizens and thus forcing the Allies to give up Berlin. Not wanting to give in to Stalin, the Allies decided to transport supplies into West Berlin through air on a daily basis. This action of Stalin caused further tension between Soviet Union and the West, thus triggering the possibility of a war. 7. Change of leaders/ Lack of bonding between new Br & Am leaders with Stalin *** It is important to remember that there were new American and British leaders by the time of the third conference of the Big Three. Harry Truman replaced Franklin Roosevelt who passed away in April 1945, and Clement Attlee defeated Winston Churchill at the British elections. Truman and Attlee were leaders of peacetime governments and had less power than their predecessors. They also did not share the bond that Roosevelt and Churchill had with Josef Stalin (which had developed in spite of differences because of the need to defeat Hitler and Germany) More analysis from Norman Lowe, p.320:


Areas of disagreement over Germany, Poland, economic reconstruction and nuclear weapons **** There were four main areas of disagreement between the powers Germany, Poland, economic reconstruction and nuclear weapons

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