Why did relations between the USA and the USSR change in the period from the end of WW2 and the beginning of the Berlin Blockade 1948? Essay

Why did relations between the USA and the USSR change in the period from the end of WW2 and the beginning of the Berlin Blockade 1948? (15)

In the period from the end of the Second World War to the beginning of the Berlin Blockade there were significant changes in the relations between the USA and the USSR and these were due to many causes.

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At the Yalta conference in February 1945 the USA and the USSR were getting along quite well, making decisions about what should happen to help resolve the problems that the war had caused. There were no real disagreements apart from over Poland’s government but this was soon resolved as Britain and the US persuaded Stalin to allow Poland to have free elections. So overall the relationship between the USA and the USSR did not seem bad at all. However in the time between the Yalta Conference and the Potsdam Conference many things changed.

Stalin went against some of the agreements that had been made at Yalta, such as setting up a communist government and this meant that the USA lost trust in him. Also Truman took over as president and he did not trust Stalin as much as Roosevelt had which created more tension between the two sides. The occupation Stalin had over East Europe also worried the Truman because he felt that Stalin was taking over.

The creation of the ‘Soviet Satellites’ was a change because all of a sudden Stalin seemed to have a lot of control over Eastern Europe. The Soviet Red Army took over large areas and stayed in the countries they had liberated. Elections were rigged in order fro Communist parties to take control and Stalin also set up a trading alliance known as Cominform or Comecon and this was to allow trade between communist countries. It led to a complete divide between the East and West of Germany and it appeared to the USA that Stalin was trying to build up a communist empire. This meant there was an either bigger lack of trust between the superpowers, causing them to take actions into their own hands.

In 1947 President Truman set up both the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Aid. The Truman Doctrine was set up in order to contain communism, therefore stopping it from spreading into other countries. Truman had recently helped Greece defeat the communists by giving them supplies and Truman was convinced he needed to give this help to other countries too. The doctrine meant that the USA provided military and economic support to those countries threatened. Marshall Aid was set up in order to help Europe get back on track after the war.

He helped to recover their economies in order for them to be able to trade with the USA again and provided them with a lot of aid. This frustrated Stalin as he had not been consulted about it and he refused to join the programme, setting up his own instead (Cominform). It was clear that a Cold War was beginning to develop between the two sides and that there were going to be consequences.

In June 1948 Stalin blocked all routes in and out of Berlin, including road, rail and canal routes. This was because of a build up in tensions between the superpowers which started when the USA and Britain merged their zones of Germany together, creating Bizonia, and later when France joined; Trizonia. This worried Stalin because he felt like they were ganging up on him. He tried to force the western allies out of Berlin and this eventually led to him creating the whole Berlin Blockade. This turned the USA and Britain completely against the USSR, stopping them from being allies anymore.

Overall it is clear that there are many reasons why the relations between the USA and the USSR changed in the period between the end of WW2 and the Berlin Blockade. This was mainly due to Stalin going against the other superpowers and the agreements they had made with each other. However some may argue it it the USA’s fault because they did not discuss some of their decisions such as Marshall Aid, with the USSR before going ahead with it.

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