A number of factors were responsible for the Cold War: the ideological differences between the Soviet Union and the West, the nuclear arms race, misperceptions of each other’s intentions and the overestimation of each other’s capabilities. Initial American post-Second World War plans did not go much beyond maintaining peace through the United Nations and encouraging free trade. Churchill was, however, more anxious than Roosevelt about Soviet aims in post-war Europe and the Mediterranean. For his part Stalin felt that the grand alliance of the war years and Soviet victories over Germany had enhanced the Soviet Union’s status as a great power and entitled it to secure and consolidate a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Given the huge Soviet wartime sacrifices, Britain and the United States felt bound, during the wartime conferences in Teheran and Yalta, to acknowledge Moscow’s hegemony in the countries ‘liberated’ by the Red Army. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Soviet sphere of influence expanded from Central Europe, to Northern Europe and to the Far East, to include Manchuria, North Korea and Sakhalin.
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Michael L. Dockrill
Michael F. Hopkins
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number