Question 6
Quick revise

Was the Cold War ‘a conflict between two opposing ideologies’?

Paragraph One

  • USSR Marxist-Leninist single-party dictatorship with a command economy
  • USA a liberal democracy with market economy
  • Ideological struggle because both believed in superiority of its system
  • Both willing to use force to defend and/or expand their respective systems
  • Alternative view of Cold War – a struggle between economic interests
  • Or- a conflict between two powerful rivals that would happen irrespective of domestic political systems

Paragraph Two

  • Between world wars US and USSR did not fear attack from each other – this came after 1945
  • 1941-45 both faced danger from Germany and Japan
  • 1945 this threat was gone and Great Britain, France and China weakened by the war so US and USSR superpowers
  • If both had been democratic or communist there would probably still have been antagonism – ideology gave rivalry an edge
  • Mutual suspicion led them to interpret the actions of the other in the worse possible terms
  • Timing and circumstance vital to explaining this

Paragraph Three

  • USSR – by 1950 America believed USSR wanted to spread soviet communism all over the world
  • Other communist movements (China, Yugoslavia etc.) not under control of Moscow
  • Areas occupied by Red Army in World War II forced to have communist dictatorships – part of Stalin’s desire for a buffer zone of friendly states after the destruction inflicted by Nazis on USSR – communist government would guarantee their compliance i.e. ideology gave security
  • USA – 1945 wanted non-communists included in East European governments
  • Americans became convinced of need for ‘containment’ through evidence that Soviets wanted to expand beyond Eastern Europe – Iran and Turkey 1946; Greece 1947
  • Communist governments if established in Western Europe would endanger democracy and private enterprise
  • Also – US would be threatened if Western European industrial resources fell under Soviet control
  • So US helped West Germany’s economic and military recovery after 1947 – the very threat that Soviets had tried to prevent

Paragraph Four

  • Security and ideology as motives were now inextricably linked
  • 1946-8 differences became more of a threat because of the decline of other powers
  • Soviet activity in Iran, Greece and Turkey (1946-7) and American policy regarding West Germany 1947-8 made each side believe that their existence was endangered
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