Causes & Origin of Cold War

1. Immediate Causes

Opposing Ideologies: Once common Enemies defeated (Germany); tension escalate.

The Soviets sought to introduce their brand of communism to nations and territories that they occupied as a result of the war.

The United States and the other Western European nations viewed communism and one‐party rule in a very negative light; as a direct threat to individual freedom and democracy

East–West ideological differences soon manifested themselves in Germany, which was split into western and eastern occupation zones in 1945.

The Atomic Bomb:

SU upset that their allies had tried to keep the technology a secret;

American atomic monopoly might create a serious security problem along their western border.

Strategic Imperatives and Power Vacuums; As the number of newly independent states proliferated in the postwar world as the result of decolonization, the US and Soviet Union competed for influence over these new states.

US adopted the policy of checking the Soviet expansion.

Economics: The Soviets held out the promise that communism would bring an end to economic deprivation and inequality.

The United States convince Europeans that democratic capitalism offered the only acceptable way of achieving economic success and freedom.

Leadership and Personalities: In April 1945, just a month before the defeat of Germany, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died, and Vice President Harry S. Truman became the new leader of the United States.

Roosevelt’s style of wartime diplomacy with Stalin had been very personal and informal; compromise and postponed making difficult postwar decisions.

Truman’s leadership style was far more forceful and direct than was Roosevelt’s.

2. Intermediate Causes:

Foreign Policies of the 1930s: Hitler annexed Austria in March 1938, the French, British, and Soviets entered into negotiations to form an alliance or mutual defense pact.

negotiations broke down by mid‐1939 because of mutual suspicions and misunderstandings.

Just as the Munich Agreement 1938, angered the Soviets, the August 1939 Nazi‐Soviet Non‐Aggression Pact outraged the West.

The Soviets stayed out of the war until they were attacked by Germany in June 1941.

The World War II alliance of the allies was based not on long‐term trust or even long‐term mutual interests. It was based only on the will to defeat a common enemy.

War Damage and the Soviet Union

Stalin and his successors believed that their country would have suffered much less damage and far fewer deaths had its allies dedicated more resources to the World War II effort in Europe.

mutual distrust soon replaced mutual cooperation after the Axis nations were defeated.

After the war was over, Stalin felt entitled to control Eastern Europe

He believed that the great suffering and sacrifices made by the Soviets had earned him the right to establish proSoviet regimes from Yugoslavia all the way to the Polish‐Soviet border.

He sought dominance there for ideological as well as security reasons. mistrust developed with the way Allied Conduct of World War II.

3. Long‐term Causes

Western Interference in the Russian/ Bolshevik Revolution (1918–1921)

In January–February 1918, Great Britain, the United States, and France decided to intervene in the Russian Revolution of November 1917. The revolution led ultimately to a civil war.

Britain, America, France, Japan, and several other Western nations sent troops to Russia to stop the Bolsheviks. By 1921, the Bolsheviks had consolidated their power and the West ended its intervention and blockade.

The deeply resented the West’s intervention in what was clearly an internal affair. This history weighed heavily on East–West relations.

Soviet Security Concerns: history of Invasion; 

Stalin’s desire to establish a defensive perimeter in Eastern Europe contributed to the eventual clash with the West.