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Grand Alliance after World War II - Essay Example

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When World War II ended, the Grand Alliance of the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States gave the people of the world a glimpse at a demilitarised future that offered a new spirit of peace and cooperation. However, by the end of 1947 the Alliance had been split with an irreconcilable wedge driven between the East and the West…
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Download file to see previous pages The seeds of suspicion sown on both sides and the anxieties of a cooperative post-war worldview resulted in the exaggerated misinterpretation of the motivations of the adversarial ideologies.
At the foundation of the split in the Grand Alliance was the mutual fear that each adversary had expansionist policies as its driving force behind their foreign policy. While the Soviets professed a desire for coexistence and cooperation, the West discounted these attitudes and instead focused on Soviet demands for influence in the Near East, Middle East, and Far East (Roberts 21). The United States held the position that the Soviets had a program designed and driven by their goal of world domination. With the post-war Soviet encroachment into Eastern Europe, Kennan's policy of containment had realigned British and American thinking to accept a more aggressive policy of rollback. By the end of 1946, Truman and Attlee were both in agreement that the Soviet Union " posed a direct threat to Western interests and were agreed on the pressing need to modify Soviet behaviour" (White 35). The United States and Britain discounted the ability to negotiate with the Soviets. Soviet statements and activities promoting themselves as an equal partner were interpreted as expansionist and aggressive.
Stalin was
Stalin was also suspicious of the West's motivations and interpreted their foreign policy as being designed to dominate the world stage and the Soviet Union. At the foundation of this mistrust was the atomic bomb and the West's refusal to share nuclear technology. Stalin understood the implications of possessing the atomic bomb, and the fact that the Americans and British had kept it a secret prompted the Soviets to embark on an intense program to develop their own nuclear technology triggering the beginnings of a nuclear standoff (Zubok and Pleshakov 44-45). Stalin would not accept being anything less than an equal partner in the Grand Alliance and was willing to postpone any premature confrontations before getting the bomb. This put the Soviets into the position of retuning to the old Leninist model of igniting revolutions in Iran, Greece, and elsewhere aimed at increasing communist influence and providing the USSR with greater national security (Zubok and Pleshakov 45). Stalin's activities were a response to the unrealistic perception of the threat that the West posed to the Soviets.
The mutual suspicions and reactionary fears on both sides began during the war and were a product of wartime necessity. At the heart of the situation was the division of Europe and the Soviet influence in the Eastern satellite countries. The political landscape in Europe was born out of the realities of providing security in Europe during the war. Wartime agreements among the Grand Alliance had given political control of Eastern Europe to the Red Army as a means of providing security for the region during the war and had been bolstered by the growing impact of the communist party in these countries during the post-war period (Roberts 18). By March, 1946 former Prime Minister Churchill was denouncing the growing Soviet influence and gave a speech in Fulton Missouri which coined the phrase 'iron curtain' (Roberts 14). While there was still a spirit of cooperation among the Alliance, the policy of mistrust was ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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