The Beginnings of the Cold War

Almost immediately after WWII in Europe concluded in Europe, the Cold War began. This refers to the time between 1947 and 1991. With victory of the Germans in Europe, the two remaining super powers were the United States and the Soviet Union. Though there are many major events throughout the Cold War I believe that there are several that in 1947, and the late 1940’s that set the precedent for the remainder of the Cold War.

One such event was the institution of the Truman Doctrine,  in March of 1947. The original plan called for 400$ million in aid for Greece and Turkey. The theory behind this was known as the domino effect. It was believed that if they fell to communism then it would spread throughout the rest of Europe like falling dominos. This naturally caused greater tension between the Soviet Union and the Western Democracies. They wanted to attempt to contain communism and keep it from spreading. However, Communism doctrine stated that it must continue to spread.

Another plan by the United States that caused strike was the Marshall Plan.  This plan called for billions of dollars to restore Europe, and give economic aid to any European country that accepted it. However, Stalin outright refused this. He also would not allow any Eastern European country participate, and if they requested to they were severely reprimanded. Stalin also ordered Italian and Spanish communists to attempt to somehow sabotage these attempts. And then in 1948, after a currency reform, Stalin started the Berlin Blockade, because he believed it was an attempt to establish capitalism in West Germany.

This was an image used to promote the Marshall Plan in Europe.

Another major event that also escalated the cold war was the formation of a unified West Germany in 1949. Britain, France, and the US. It was known as the Federal Republic of Germany. This of course angered Stalin who viewed this as an attempt to undermine him, and unify all of Germany under capitalism. After this event, Stalin essentially ceased all talks with the Western Democracies, and the Cold War really got started.

While these were not the only beginning events in my opinion they are some of the most important that set the tone for the rest of the Cold War. They can be studied and possibly show how the Cold War itself could have been avoided. However, the two ideologies were so different, whether these events occurred of not the Cold War could have started another way.

Works Cited:

“Cold War.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, 30 Nov. 2015, soviethistory.msu.edu/1947-2/cold-war/.
“Federal Republic of Germany Is Established.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/federal-republic-of-germany-is-established.
History.com Staff. “Cold War History.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009, http://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/cold-war-history.
History.com Staff. “Joseph Stalin.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009, http://www.history.com/topics/joseph-stalin.
“Marshall Plan.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Mar. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Plan#/media/File:Marshall_Plan_poster.JPG.
“Start of the Cold War – The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan.” Khan Academy, http://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-us-history/period-8/apush-postwar-era/a/start-of-the-cold-war-part-2.
“The Cold War Timeline.” History, 31 May 2017, http://www.historyonthenet.com/the-cold-war-timeline-2/.
“Truman Doctrine (1947).” Our Documents – Truman Doctrine (1947), http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=81.

3 thoughts on “The Beginnings of the Cold War”

  1. The Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and the formation of West Germany are definitely key developments in the early Cold War. I think Stalin was definitely right about the intention to establish capitalism and liberal democracy in West Germany. Why do you think this caused so much concern for the Soviets?

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  2. I agree that it is important to study the events that led up to the Cold War. While the Cold War may have been an inevitable struggle between two world powers, there is always a catalyst for conflicts. You did a good job hitting on the Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, currency reform, and the unification of the Allied occupation zones as things the West did to concern the East. What things did the Soviet Union do that concerned the West? You mentioned the Berlin Blockade, did that factor into the British/American/French decision to unify West Germany?

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  3. The beginnings of a crisis are always critical in understanding the shaping of the problem. It is really interesting how when looking at these events it is painted in a light the the US acted first and created the tipping point unknowingly. From the post, it is as if the Soviets viewed the Cold War crisis as a reactionary war rather than an offensive war. Very good details to understand the shaping of the Cold War.

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