The years 1945-1949 are memorable in history, as they were all about the two superpowers we have today, USA and USSR. They have always had their ups and downs until today, but the things that have gone on in the past have had a great affect on their relationship. In 1917 both of them joined the First World War, even though it was towards the end Russia dropped out the war weak and insecure, after which they were attacked by western allies.Both rivals had similar aims, but in different ways.
In 1941, in the middle of the Second World War America joined in the war. At this point the Soviets idea was to clash with USA’s long term plans, because they wanted revenge from what had happened in the First World War. Until about 1945 the two parties tried to destroy the other. A turning point was February 1945, at Yalta. This was when a meeting took place between the ‘BIG THREE’, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin.At this conference it was decided that Germany would be spilt into four zones, as she had surrender the war, everyone agreed to this and signed the declaration for liberated Europe. At the time all Roosevelt and Churchill wanted was for USSR to have a democratically elected government, like the capitalist way, but it didn’t seem as though Stalin was interested, because the communist way was to have one party only which would be the communist party, as they would know what it best for the whole country.
Roosevelt wasn’t really sure whether Stalin would keep his side of the deal, but he kept quiet to see what would happen in future. At this point in time USA and USSR were allies, because their aim was to destroy Germany, and it was clear that they had succeeded because Germany had dropped out of the war, and had made a great loss. The Yalta conference was followed by the Potsdam conference in July 1945, this was again the ‘BIG THREE, meeting, but it was the new president of USA, because Roosevelt passed away, this president was Harry Truman.This meeting was to decide the post-war settlement resulted in further disagreements between the allies, particularly in relation to Germany and reparations. A feud had already started between USA and USSR, and Truman had decided that he wasn’t going to tolerate the Soviet Union like Roosevelt did, he knew that they wanted the same things as America but he didn’t like the way in which they went about it. Because of the attack on Pearl Harbour, USA wanted to ‘get their own back’ on Japan and to do so they attacked Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 with their new weapon, the atomic bomb.
Even though it was believed to be revenged on the Japanese it was also an act to show the Soviet Union the strength of America and to show them what kind of damage their new weapon was capable of. After Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech in 1946, this just added more salt to the wound, because he announced that there would be a division in Europe. Even though this wasn’t what Britain or USA wanted they still went through with it, because he felt this was the only way to sort out unresolved issues to do with America and the Soviet Union, as this would show the Soviets that America meant what they said.Followed by the speech was Kennan’s long telegram, in this there was a mention of the Soviet Union being dangerous and their determination spread communism. He also suggested that USA adopt a policy of ‘CONTAINMENT’, which would avoid war but prevent the Soviets from expending their power. All this just made matters worst because the Soviets had spread communism to eleven states in Europe already, and America feared that it could be even more in future, so they had to come up with a way to stop it.In 1946 after the Truman Doctrine and Marshall plan, it had reached as far as, countries having to decide whether to follow the communist way or the capitalist way.
At this point the Soviet Union knew that they may not get as much support as blank cheques where being distributed by the USA amongst the countries in Europe. This was to help countries with post-war rejuvenation and any country that demonstrated it was in danger from communism could cash in the cheque.It was obvious to both sides that the other wasn’t willing to back down, even though the Soviets knew what was to come ahead they still wanted to battle it out, because they wanted the whole of Europe to live the communist way, and they felt proud of themselves for convincing eleven states already.
So in September the communist answer to the Marshall plan was the establishment of Cominform, and this was to persuade there followers of communism to stay with them, and this influence came on by propaganda.All the propaganda used such as pictures, posters advertisements on the radio etc, had a technique of brainwashing the audience, because there was no other way that they could gain so much support. It seemed as though this was the highest point of this feud, because things couldn’t really get any worst, because it had already got to a point where people had to chose their way of life the communist way or the capitalist way and for many of them this was a difficult decisions to make because on one hand their country was being handed blank cheques and on the other they were getting brainwashed.The Berlin blockade of 1948 was the first open confrontation between the Two super powers, over who should control Berlin. This was a very serious point in time because all roads in West Berlin were cut off by Stalin, which meant nothing or no one could get pass. Because of Stalin’s actions many women and children starved, as there was no food, innocent people were suffering the consequence of his actions. This went on for about a year then ended in 1949, because Stalin acknowledged the failure of the blockade and allowed import and export lorries etc to drive through Berlin again.He had to open roads again because the main aim was to stop USA providing food, but they still managed to do so using airlift and other commodities.
Finally in April 1949 NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) was established to provide protection to Western Europe by protecting the participating countries with Americas nuclear monopoly and was to enable economic recovery and resistance to internal subversion.Even though this wasn’t a regular war people in Europe actually feared that it might have lead to World War Three and they would be in the centre of it. The cold war was a war of words between USA and USSR. It was based on indirect fighting. It was a war of ideology and competition for power.
Eventually it ended, and as we know it today USA and USSR remained the tow super powers of the world.