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Post-WW II era / development of animosity between the US and the USSR

FredParisFrance 61 / 7  
Nov 7, 2007   #1

Could you please read my essay and give me some feedback? Thank you very much!

The prompt is:

From 1941 through 1945, the United States and the Soviet Union were allies, friends in the great global conflict to end Nazi tyranny in Europe and Japanese militarism in Asia. Yet, the ink was barely dry on the agreements made at Yalta in Feb 1945 and later at Potsdam in Jul 1945, when observers could already see the Grand Alliance coming apart. Within three years, the two countries would be in an ideological conflict, the Cold War that lasted until 1991.

Identify and discuss what you believe to be the one most significant reason for the development of this animosity.

Thank you in advance

World War II is a particular importance as regards politics since it epitomizes the fact that completely opposite political ideologies such as capitalism and communism can bridge the gap of their discrepancies to fight against a common threat such as Nazism. As soon as the menace had been cleared, this Grand Alliance decided to set up the new geographical and political limits of the post-WW II international stage at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had the same objectives, i.e. security and development, which required the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany in addition to its complete demilitarisation and denazification. Although, retrospectively, the collapse of the Yalta system was predictable, the first signs of disagreement were exacerbated by those leaders' willingness to shape the international stage according to their respective political visions of what could have been the best governance system for humankind, which was epitomized by the partition of Europe in the wake of the armistice.

Acrimony emerged within the Grand alliance because of the Allies and Soviets' desire to secure peace in Europe, and thus, avoid another global conflict. The prospect of another war that could break out in Europe would have been catastrophic, not only for the Europeans but also for the US and the USSR. Indeed, WW II had caused the death of millions of people (of all extractions) and the US, the USSR, and the Europeans could not afford to wage a new war, especially since the emergence of nuclear arsenals, if they wanted to avoid the complete annihilation of their nations and peoples. Moreover, in case of war at this particular time, US leaders certainly realized that the USSR could easily conquer Europe due to a lack of resistance thanks to the disastrous economic and demographic plight of European States. Consequently, communism would have managed the Eurasian continent and could have also enticed African states, which would have meant that communism would have virtually overwhelmed capitalism.

On the other hand, such a situation was not so evident in the light of what happened in Yugoslavia. Actually, communist governments had established strong powers that were loyal to Moscow in Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. However, the leader of the Communist resistance movement in Yugoslavia (Josip Broz, also known as Tito) set up an independent Communist state although he had been a loyal Stalinist until the end of the war. Furthermore, the opposition between the Communist resistance and the monarchy in Greece was also a source of worry for both the Allies and the USSR. The members of the Grand Alliance were fully aware that two World Wars had not quenched the ashes of nationalism in Europe. Since capitalists and communists needed to secure peace in Europe to preserve or develop their spheres of political influence, they were compelled to agree on a peace settlement, in the case in point the Yalta Conference, which could be interpreted at will without arousing anger in the other camp. Politically speaking, that was, to some extent, a success since both competitors had implemented policies to counter their opponents' moves. The capitalists implemented a doctrine of containment, through the Truman doctrine and the Marshall Plan, while the communists entailed the partition of Germany into two states and assured their political domination in Eastern Europe.

Eventually, the search for peace brought the creation of a new source of tension between the US and the USSR, referred to as "Cold War" by the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as early as March 1946. First, the hostility between capitalist and communist governments separated Europe in two blocs that were led by two power poles, i.e. the US and the USSR. Then, all over the world, nations took a stand for the US (for example through the appurtenance to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), against (for instance through the belonging to the Warsaw Pact), or for neutrality (for instance through the commitment to the Non-Aligned Movement). Although the development for such an animosity on the international stage may have mainly emerged from an opposition of worldviews, that antagonism was the reflection of global concerns making the headlines nowadays such as "Is peacekeeping preferable to peace enforcement?" However, those issues raise a more universal question: on what grounds should peace be the key plank of international relations?

EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Nov 8, 2007   #2

You have, as usual, written an excellent essay! It was not immediately clear to me, however, what you were saying was "the one most significant reason for the development of this animosity"; were you saying it was "those leaders' willingness to shape the international stage according to their respective political visions of what could have been the best governance system for humankind"? You might want to make this just a little clearer. Your conclusion also leaves things a bit up in the air; just something to think about. Other than that, I have only these suggestions:

World War II is of particular importance as regards politics

had the same objectives, i.e., security and development - i.e. require a comma both before and after it.

Very good work!


Sarah, EssayForum.com

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