Monday, November 29, 2010

Who was to blame for the Cold War?

If you type: 'Who was to blame for the Cold War' into google, what you mainly turn up is dozens of online essays of dubious quality, many of which simply rehash what you have already learned from my website! My strong advice is to avoid them like the plague, and make up your own mind.

By far the best link on this topic (and the liveliest) , if you haven't already found it, is the BBC audio-byte, which takes the form of a debate (you can read a transcript of the debate here). There is also a pretty shoddy list of points-for and points-against on the projectgcse website, which you may find of help if you have been asked to write the essay (which will have to take the form of 'on-the-one-hand ... on-the-other ... conclusion).

In the end, this is a subject where you will also have to show that you are aware of the historiography - what past historians have written on the subject. There is a simple summary of this on the BBC Bitesize site, and my more detailed account here.

So - what do YOU think!! As the BBC audio-byte demonstrates, this is a contentious and controversial subject, so you ought to be able to have some fun debating it here...

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Somos un grupo de voluntarios y la iniciativa de comenzar una nueva marca en la comunidad. Su weblog nos proporcionó información valiosa para trabajar. Usted ha hecho un trabajo maravilloso!

Anonymous said...

firstly i'd like to thank you whole heartedly as a year 11 student about to sit my modern world history exam for your website. the contents are so helpful especially the interpretations provided for each source. it would be very difficult to say who should take the blame for the cold war. i'd take the post revisionists point of view ^_^ because it takes two to tango :)

thanks again!

Simon Curtis said...

I'm trying to find a way to contact you, I am a teacher who is indebted to you for your outstanding website. When teaching new subjects it has been a fantastic safe place to start. Thank you and enjoy your well earned retirement.

Anonymous said...

Straight to the point and well written! Why can’t everyone else be like this?

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

USA

Anonymous said...

USSR

Anonymous said...

thanks to your sight i got an A* in nazi germany and A in cold war

thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

I’ve desired to write something like this on my webpage which has given me a concept. Cheers.

Zero said...

I agree with the post-1991 view that both sides were to blamed. There was a clash of ideology, between communism in USSR and capitalism in US. Now that the world had ended, they had no common goal and had no need for alliance, and caused tensions between the two to be refueled again. They now had different aims, all geared to protect their ideology

Anonymous said...

Mr. Clare,
On your web page about the Truman Doctrine you wrote: "Truman himself described the British withdrawal from the Mediterranean as a foreign policy ‘opportunity’ in the Middle East of which America must ‘take advantage’." I was just wondering what source you got this from? I'm writing an essay and would like to use this information, if it is a primary source that would be even better!

Mr Lincoln said...

The Cold War could never have started without the mutual mistrust both super powers had of one another. The reason for their alliance during WW2 was because of a greater threat in Hitler but after his demise, their true feelings and clearly polar opposite ideologies were allowed to come to the fore which was exacerbated through diplomatic relations such as the notorious telegrams.

Esther said...

I think that the Russians are to blame for the cold war. This is because they are insecure and not trust worthy. At the Potsdam conference, the super powers agreed that Stalin would withdraw the red army and hold free and fair elections in his 'sphere of influence', but he did the opposite. This made way for antagonism and tension amongst the Big Three; which led to the cold war.

Tom said...

Hi there,
I think Truman was to blame for the start of the cold war, as his dropping of the atomic bomb, I believe, was a way of impressing the Soviets, with the small 'extra' of 250,000 Japanese deaths.
As Truman had not specifically told Stalin about the USA's testing of the atomic bomb, the news came as a near-complete surprise for Stalin, resulting in his burning anger, and I think, the start of real tension in the cold war.
The rest, as they say, is history....

Tom Palmer said...

Tom Palmer, Mr Lincoln

Hi, I think that the USSR was to blame for the Cold War because it was them who blocked Berlin. The Berlin Blockade was one of the key reason for the cold war as it meant that no one could get in or out of Berlin. America had to fly planes in with supplies every 3 minutes due to this. Also, Stalin was too power hungry ans was too greedy in taking over countries. They even murdered the Czech president, Jan Masaryk, who had supposedly 'fallen out of the window' however they really pushed him.

Matt said...

Matt(Mr Lincoln)-
I think Russia was more to blame because they set up the Berlin blockade . This shows Germany were willing to make people suffer to make America try to give up. This would have caused a lot of tension because they were trying to get the better of america by putting america on the spot to either 1)give up 2)Fly planes in (expensive) or 3) start a war, just so russia could spread communism.

Howard Fish said...

Howard(Mr Lincoln)
I think Truman was to blame because he failed to see that the USSR had come off very badly from WW2. They needed to rebuild and be sure that they wouldn't be invaded again. Of course, they couldn't treat Germany too harshly because they knew what had happened after the Treaty of Versailles, but they were still quite lenient, and that meant that it took longer for the USSR to rebuild. It also meant that Stalin didn't trust Truman in the same way that he trusted Roosevelt.

Jospeph(Mr Lincoln said...

Russia are to blame because they forced communist governments on eastern European countries. If they hadn't exploited their sphere of influence in Europe, the cold war could have been prevented.

Issac said...

I think that the USSR were to blame because the created most of the tension. The Berlin Blockade is a good example of this because they had created more tension directly by cutting off all the roads even though the USSR agreed that America could have part of Berlin.

Tom H, Mr Lincoln said...

I think it was the USSRs fault for the start of the Cold War because, after WW2, they left their troops in Eastern Europe rather than giving them the free and fair elections they were promised in the post war conferences. This allowed communism to spread and caused America to be angry, not only at the fact they had broken their promises, but they were spreading communism, which America would do anything to stop.

Danielle said...

(Mr Lincoln)
I think that it was the USSRs fault because Stalin blocked all roads in and out of Berlin. The Berlin blockade is a great example of mistrust as they had made the agreement that they would split Berlin.

jonathan said...

jonathan, mr lincoln
I think president truman was to blame because if he had been frendlier and more trusting in stalin tensions could have been avoided.

George said...

i think that the USSR was mostly to blame because firstly they were the group who caused the most problems.they broke the rules agreed at yalta and potsdam and cost the usa lots of money for flying into berlin during the berlin blockade.thye had used their salami tactics to take over the majority of eastern europe and threatened the west's way of life in doing so.

Francis said...

I think that the USSR were most to blame for the cold war firstly because they were taking violent methods to try and build a communist empire using salami tactics and the usa were just trying to contain them. Secondly, if they hadn't tried the berlin blockade or stated illegal corrupt communist governments in east europe by murdering lead opposition in coutries such as Czechoslovakia by killing Jan Masryk.

Alex said...

I believe that the USSR was to blame because of the acts they commited in pursuit of expanding their sphere of influence. They went against what was agreed at Yalta in holding fixed elctions and assassinating political rivals such as Jan Masaryk. Russia then set up the Berlin blockade which was a deliberate act to try and take Berlin and go against the USA.

Ozzy said...

I think USA were to blame because they went against what was agreed at the yalta conference, at the conference all the countries agreed to split Germany into 4 sections, but USA,Britain and france joined their parts together to form west Germany, this made Stalin angry, so that is why he blocked Berlin.

Anonymous said...

Dan, Mr Lincoln
I think the USA was to blame because they dropped the atomic bomb, discarding Russia's help and offending Stalin.

Sophie said...

I think that the USA was most to blame for causing tension of the cold war because they continuously tried to provoke and annoy the USSR in indirect ways. Although the USSR reacted badly to these, I think the USA caused the retaliation of the USSR.

Anonymous said...

I don't know... both countries seem to be asking to have a cold war at the start- Truman shows off with an Atom bomb, while Stalin breaks his promises with regards Poland and the percentages deal with Churchill also goes out of the window. It just seems that noone made any attempt to stop the cold war as long as they could avoid a hot one.

Anonymous said...

They both were to blame to an extent however I think the USSR created more tensions, as early on as Potsdam we can see disagreements about the size of reparations taken from Germany. The USSR also started the first military confrontation of the Cold War- the Berlin blockade, however the USA's mistrust made them edgy and I find they over reacted the most e.g when Kennedy spent a lot of unnecessary money on fallout shelter and the Truman doctrine which stated the USA had a responsibility to protect the world from communist tyranny

Abraham said...

Altough the USSR impacts where more notisable, we can argue that both the USA and the USSR were to blame for the cold war:
Firstly The USA was to blame because:
the USA designed the atomic bomb without telling Russia which menat the USA didn´t need the USSR´s help, asswell as Getting a new president who was very anti comunist. This meant that there would be conflict between the USSR and the USA.

Secondly the USSR was to blame because:
The USSR used salami tactics this meant that Stalin turned the countries around the USSR communist this leads to suggest that Stalin only wanted to spread Russia´s power.
another reason is that Stallin wanted to take over Berlin an take all the resources from Germany this also lead to conflict with the USA as it wanted to recover Germany instead of doing what Stalin prefered.

Becky said...

Becky said...

Both USSR and USA are to blame for the Cold War.

Firstly USSR are to blame because they corrupted the statements agreed at the Yalta and Potsdam conferences. With Poland for instance, USSR agreed to set up Capitalist and Communist government in Poland, but instead forced Communism.

However, USA are to blame too, as they provoked USSR. A way in which they did this, was by secretly testing the atomic bomb, although Russia and America were planning to work on it together.

Overall, I think that USSR are to blame because they violated the terms agreed at the conferences and tried to take over Europe and destroy Capitalism, replacing it with Communism.

Amy said...

I think that USA are definitely most to blame for the cold war. The most obvious reason for this is the atomic bomb.Despite common belief that Truman dropped the bomb on hiroshima in order for a quick end to the war in the pacific; there were deeper motives for his actions. USA had agreed at the Yalta conference to allow USSR to build up some of their sphere of influence if Stalin agreed to fight against Japan. Truman jumped at the chance of ending this agreement before Stalin entered the war. This therefore caused friction between USA and USSR, due to Stalins quick retaliation of building an atomic bomb of their own. So therefore not only did the atomic bomb mark the end of a war, but also the start of a cold war.

Maeve said...

Overall it's hard to place blame on either the USA or USSR for the cold war. The early Cold war was essentially a fight between two superpowers acting like children , showing off who had better toys ; the USA dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and the USSR made one of their own. The USA created the Marshall plan to contain communism and the USSR created comeform and comecon to ... contain communism.

reece said...

i think both are to blame, USSR did keep his army in many countries to expand his nation. but USA did drop the atomic bomb on japan in secrecy.

reece said...

I think both are to blame. the USSR did keep its red army in countries surrounding it to buid up is protective layer. but USA did drop the atomic bomb on japan in secrecy to prove their power.

Georgie said...

I think you can place the blame for starting the cold war on USA and USSR.

Firstly the USA are to blame because they did many things to provoke Stalin like the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Aid as Stalin thought they were undermining Russia.

USSR are also to blame because Stalin started taking over countries in Eastern Europe (salami tac tics) when he had agreed not to. Also because Stalin captured the non-communist leaders of Poland to make Poland a communist country., which aggrivated President Truman.

lucy said...

I think USSR are to blame because they used the Berlin blockade-so they would potentially starve all of the people just because western powers were becoming too powerful. So USA had the right to step in.

Tom D said...

I believe Truman is at fault for the cold was being started. I feel this way because he never told Stalin he was testing the atomic bomb. This led to mistrust, friction and the tension caused a cold war.

Izzie said...

I think the USA are to blame because at Yalta they agreed to the USSR having a sphere of influence. However, when they realised how strong Stalin could be with his sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, they created more ways to control and contain communism that caused tensions such as the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall plan.

Andre said...

I think the Usa are to blame because of the atomic bomb also when Roosevelt died Truman came to power and he was very anti communist.

Jamie said...

I think that the USSR are most to blame for the cold war because they forced communism on Eastern European countries. They were stubborn and wouldn't compromise for the views of USA or GB but did what they thought anyway.

brendan said...

I believe the ussr are to blame because of the constant kust for power and their use of the salami tactic to take ove eastern Europe and force communism on other countries

connor said...

I think the ussr and the usa are both to blame because they were both pushing each others buttons. Truman tested the atomic bomb in secret and and stalin went against what was agreed at yalta

chris said...

I thin that the USSR are to blame for the cold war because even though we did agree for Russia to have a sphere of influence but stalin then violated this by making their influence too big

david said...

I believe that usa are responsible for the cold war because they joined the three zones together forming a further east west divide making Stalin feel like they were preparing for a east vs west war

Kieran A dog said...

I believe that the USA is to blame because they joined the zones together which forced stalin to form the berlin blockade they also deuchtsmark which angered stalin because it destroyed the eastern german currency

Kat said...

Stalin and Truman. If someone else was in power, there would be no urge to compete who is the world most powerful guy. Stalin didnt really intend to expand in the balkans and eastern europe, but he seized the opportunity during and after the war under pressure because he initially wanted socialism in one country but russians wanted the world revolution. And Truman... I always thought he was a **** he just ruined everything the previous presidents built, the whole isolationist policy and cooperation.. It's like he was a child saying "i want freedom and peace and great things and everything but no soviets! no communism! only democracy! i have to intervene and start a cold war in 7 years while im a president". but then again, i understand why he disliked stalin. and he was anxious when in power. but i feel that he started a race, for arms, nuclear weapons, spheres of influence. sorry it got too long but its good to revise for exams

Anonymous said...

Soviet Union because they would not let us help the when they needed it and that created tension

emma s said...

clash of ideologies. it was inevitable that at some point both countries would find themselves battling to see which way of living is the best one. both USA and USSR were seeking to expand their influence and gain more allies as they knew that war could be near them. only that this time war would be MAD (mutually assured destruction) as atomic weapons were already being developed into a larger scale than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. USA had already bombs that could cause triple the damage that was made. i think that both sides are to blame but definitely Stalin's urge and desire to expand and seek for a sphere of influence made the whole argument begin as if he would have stuck to communism in Russia only (idea presented throughout his struggle for power against Trotsky from 1924-28), the USA wouldn't have worried about communist expansion.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, Marshall, and Eisenhower...They prevented Patton from goating Stalin into combat, where we already had the weapons and men to end it quickly (atomic, that is.) At the first sign of the Berlin blockade, we should have invaded eastern Europe to the Russian frontier and if necessary, deposed Stalin and set up a western democracy, as we did in west Germany.