Origins of the Cold War

The Cold War was a result of confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. Since the Cold War consisted of tension more than actual fighting, it got the nickname "`Icy Tension." Most would assume that because the U.S. and Soviets fought as allies in WWII, their relationsh
ip would be "firm and friendly." In America, we have the tendency to blame the Soviet Union for the cause of the war, but some would actually argue that Russia had a big part of it. Some reasons were because Russia was afraid of our atomic bomb and their dislike of capitalism. They were determined to spread communism throughout the world, but were afraid that it would result in America attacking them. Also, Russia's need for a secure western boarder played a part.
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A news report on February 3, 1946 stated that a Soviet spy ring had successfully transmitted secret information about the U.S. atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. On February 12, the State Department informed the Soviets that the U.S. was "deferring recognition of the Hungarian government until Bulgaria reached a reparations agreement with Greece." Also, on February 22, Truman stated that he would "actively support Iran's independence and territorial integrity." The loss in Iran's oil would be a serious loss for the economy of the Western world. The Soviets had threatened the oil of the Middle East, which made the defense of Turkey an American interest for the first time. The United States made it clear that they would not stand the Soviet's aggression against Turkey when they sent the U.S.S. Missouri to Istanbul. This was a serious warning to Moscow.
The main reason why the Soviet Union was mad, though, was because Truman would not share American secrets about nuclear weapons. Truman decided, in 1946, that he was "tired of babysitting the Soviets." In response, Stalin decided to give a speech, that February, stressing that Soviet communism cannot exist with western democracy.The Soviets were in no rush because they thought that they had history on their side. Also, they did not want to risk a major war. The Sources of Soviet Conduct was published which gave Washington "its own hard line." This resulted in containment.


After WWII, the west felt threatened by the "continued expansionist policy" of the Soviet Union. It didn't help when the Red Army seized power in Eastern Europe. As Western Europe grew weaker, communism spread further. The west felt the need to contain communistic states. In return, the Soviet Union challenged the west by creating a blockade of the western sectors of Berlin. The United States, joined by 11 other nations, signed the NATO. To counterbalance, the communistic party formed the Warsaw Treaty Organization. The NATO was supposed to keep the freedom of the North Atlantic community safe. The Warsaw Treaty Organization was initiated as an "alliance made necessary by the remilitarization" of West Germany.

Decline of the Grand Alliance

"The need for the Big Three to cooperate to defeat the Axis powers was the cement that held together the Grand Alliance." Once Japan surrendered during WWII, these bonds quickly crumbled. At the time, the Secretary of State was Byrnes. He believed that things the United States enjoyed, such as military and economic superiority, would allow him to dictate the terms of the peace treaties. Byrnes was ignored and told that unless Britain and the U.S. accepted the Soviet Union's versions of the Romanian and Bulgarian peace treaty, he would never get his way. Molotov said this because he did not want to accept the Italian treaty. Another unexpected move made by Molotov was when he demanded a role for the Soviet Union in the occupation of Japan. This argument took place at the London conference of Foreign Ministers in September 1945. The whole room broke out in a riot. After the failure of the London conference, the Soviets appeared "increasingly menacing" to the west. They began to pressure Turkey to send warships though Bosporus and the Dardanelles. Also, an intimidation campaign against Iran was launched that was designed for the Soviet Union to win. A Republican observer stated that " it was no longer necessary, nor was it healthy, to hide the fact that fundamental differences now exited between the United States and the Soviet Union.

U.S. and Soviet Union Meltdown

Stalin is mad about the lack of second front. His men were getting slaughtered while U.S. troops were staying in Africa. He thought that the second front should have happened a lot sooner. Also, since the U.S. had helped rivals in Russia, tension was building up. The U.S. also had reasons to be mad, though. Stalin was once allies with Hitler, creating tension between the two countries. The main reason why the U.S. was aggrevated though, was because Stalin was communistic. Americans were "haunted by communism" because they were afraid that it would destroy their country. They needed to find a way to stop it from entering the United States. They supported some countries, such as Nicaragua, because communism usually hits poor areas. The theory was that if they poured money into poor countries, then communism wouldn't spread there.

Soviet's Atomic Bomb

The Marshall Plan helped restore Western Europe, but
tension still remained high. The Atomic bomb was one
reason. In 1949, the Soviet Union shocks the west by
dropping their first atomic weapon. Some wondered if
this was the beginning of a nuclear arms race. The
atomic bomb, which Americans nicknamed Joe-1, was
equivalent to the one the US had dropped in Nagasaki
four years earlier. Their first nuclear weapon was a
big part of the tension during the Cold War. President "Kennedy once stated... that the United States had the nuclear missile capacity to wipe out the Soviet Union two times over, while the Soviet Union had enough atomic weapons to wipe out the Unites States only once..."


Both sides, the Soviets and the United States, were afraid of their opponents nuclear weapons. The U.S. had tested its first Hydrogen bomb in 1952. The Soviets followed in their footsteps in 1953, testing their own Hydrogen bomb. Since neither side wanted to start a nuclear war, they used brinkmanship. "Brinkmanship is the ostensible escalation of threats in order to achieve one's aims." This word saved both countries from a nuclear attack, but not every American favored dealing with the war this way. In order for brinkmanship to be effective, the threats need to escalate over time. Eventually, the threats could become so huge that both sides would back down. Even today, we still need ways to stop terrorism at the source. Hopefully, Osama Bin Laden's death will help put an end to that. Like in the 1950's, if we don't find a way to stop terrorism, they may strike again.

Brinkmanship was what some believed the
solution to stop the start of a nuclear war. Had brinkmanship not been used, the Cold war could have died off quickly, but because it had, the war further escalated. Another problem was that once Dwight David Eisenhower became President in 1953, he started a new foreign policy for the United States:
“If a missile fired from any of the Soviet Union satellite countries strikes any NATO European country or the United States, the United States would consider the missile as being fired by the Soviet Union and thereby the United States would immediately attack the Soviet Union.”
As a result of this, the Soviet Union was forced to take control of all weapons and make sure that none of their satellites countries do anything that might spark a major war.

Work Cited

Kreis, Steven. "The Origins of the Cold War." The History Guide. N.p., 08/04/2009. Web. 26 Apr 2011. <>.

Leffler, Melvyn, and David Painter. Origins of the Cold War. New York: 1994. Print.

Trueman, Chris. "The Cold War." History Learning Site. N.p., 2000. Web. 29 Apr 2011. <>.

"The Soviets Nuclear Weapon Program." Nuclear Weapon Archive. N.p., 12/12/1997. Web. 29 Apr 2011. <>.

Sullivan, Charles. "Brinkmanship: Diplomacy That Won the Cold War." KTF Media Group. N.p., 2/5/2011. Web. 2 May 2011. <>.

Powaski, Ronald. The Cold War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. print.