The Cold War as the Result of Fear of Soviet Expansion Essay example

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The Cold War as the Result of Fear of Soviet Expansion

At the end of the Second World War only two out of the all the great powers were left standing. Germany and Japan had been crushed in the war and Britain and France were weakened economically and politically. The United States, who had not seen much fighting on her shores, emerged from the war economically and politically intact as a great nuclear power and Russia, although weakened economically, had the largest and strongest army in the world and an Empire in Eastern Europe. The balance of world power had changed and as the Great Alliance between Russia, Britain and America broke down tensions between Russia and America grew until they
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By the time of the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the Red Army had swept into Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria conquering the Balkans and moving into western Poland and Czechoslovakia. Stalin, who had been clear about his territorial requests from the beginning of the war, now occupied territory that had belonged to the pre-communist Tsarist Russian Empire. Stalin had begun to assert his control over Eastern Europe. Russia’s influence in Poland was a major cause of concern for Britain and America. Lukacs points out: “It was because of Poland that World War two began and because of Poland that the Yalta conference was called.”[2] Neither Britain nor America wished to see the fascist domination of Poland replaced with Soviet domination. However given Russia’s position in Eastern Europe and the fact that her assistance was needed to win the war, both Roosevelt and Churchill knew that they would have to make some territorial concessions. Stalin left Yalta convinced that his influence in Eastern Europe had been acknowledged. Roosevelt’s main concern was that Stalin should not appear to be violating the Atlantic Charter in Eastern Europe but rather be seen to be adhering to the principles of self-determination. Gaddis argues that Roosevelt failed to properly communicate the need to accede territory to Russia in Eastern Europe to the American