THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COLD WAR

Beginnings of the Cold War – Introduction

Beginnings of the Cold War – Introduction

Introduction

Beginnings of the Cold WarDuring World War 2, the two key players on the Allied side were the Soviet Union and the USA. These two countries, whose economic resources, populations and militaries dwarfed those of the rest of the world, provided the bulk of the muscle that defeated the Axis powers in Europe.

Far from being the best of friends, however, theirs was really a marriage of convenience. Between the Communist Revolution of 1917 and the moment when Hitler turned on Stalin in 1941, the Soviet Union was an international outcast. Why? Because it was a Communist state. And communism terrified the governments (and some of the people) of the USA and the European powers. As we’ve seen, their fear of communism was one of the reasons why they were so lenient towards Hitler during the 1930s.

But the USA and the rest of the Allies needed the might of the Soviet Union to help them defeat the Nazis. And very successful they were as a team, turning the tide of the war against Hitler and destroying Nazi Germany by the middle of 1945.

Whilst the prospect of defeating the Axis powers was something that everyone wanted, it also created a problem for the future. Although the Soviet Union was on the Allied side, it was still a Communist state, and therefore still represented everything the USA opposed. How would the two powers get on once the war was over?