Was The Cold War Inevitable Essay

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1. Introduction The Cold War is one of the most noteworthy confrontations in history. It was a state of political tension and military rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, and countries aligned with each, following WWII to 1991 that stopped short of full-scale war (The American Heritage Dictionary, p.361). The origin was and still is a major field of Cold War historiography. Questions include: did Stalin pursue postwar security or did he seek to dominate Europe? Was it an ideological clash, or a race for power and material interests? Was the Cold War inevitable or avoidable, given the historical circumstances? Throughout history numerous historians have written countless books trying to find these answers and have come up…show more content…
The schools’ objectives are to determine which nation, the United States or the Soviet Union, is at fault for the origin of the cold war that lasted the entire second-half of the twentieth century. The first school of thought was orthodoxy, which was founded in the early years of the Cold War by the American government. Orthodoxy concluded that the Soviet Union was to blame because of their expansion tendencies in Eastern Europe and the US was merely responding to the Soviet’s aggression. Yet as the Vietnam War dragged on, public opinion changed within the US. Americans looked within their own borders and found themselves guilty. In the 1960s revisionist scholars placed more blame on the US for the beginning of the cold war. Revisionists, like William Appleman Williams, considered the US was only interested in economic expansion, and the Soviet Union was taking defensive measures to protect their borders against a capitalist invasion (Theoharis, p.3). Another revisionist thesis was that the US or the Truman administration tired to expel Soviet influence out of Eastern Europe with their atomic monopoly (Schlesinger, p.25). It was not until the 1970s that historians once again revisited cold war history and asked a new question: what events were responsible for the cold war, and not who was responsible? Post-revisionists believed that both sides carried partial blame in starting the Cold War and “drew upon the best of both orthodox and revisionist history.” (Kleinman,
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