W2: The Initial Stage of the Cold War: The Origins of the Cold War (Coursework Sample)
Consider the opening chapters of your text to discuss the mindset of the former allies; specifically compare and contrast the ideology of Truman (and perhaps Churchill) with that of Joseph Stalin and the U.S.S.R.
Statement by the President on the H-Bomb
January 31, 1950
It is part of my responsibility as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to see to it that our country is able to defend itself against any possible aggressor. Accordingly, I have directed the Atomic Energy Commission to continue work on all forms of atomic weapons, including the so-called hydrogen or super bomb. Like all other work in the field of atomic weapons, it is being and will be carried forward on a basis consistent with the over all objectives of our program for peace and security.
This we shall continue to do until a satisfactory plan for international control of atomic energy is achieved. We shall also continue to examine all those factors that affect our program for peace and this country's security.
How would you describe the tone of Truman’s statement? Does the language reflect atomic (Hydrogen) capabilities as a deterrent or an offensive possibility for the United States? Most importantly, specify what had just occurred (only months before this...in 1949) which spurred this language and action? Finally, use your textbook and/or outside sources to discuss how Stalin reacted to the West's methodology and rhetoric.
1. Who was to blame for starting the Cold War? What was Truman's reaction? Why did it expand? Was the Cold War inevitable?
2. Analyze the developments from 1945 to 1950 that increased suspicion and tension between the US and USSR.
3. To what extent was Truman's domestic policy considered a success or failure? How did US foreign policy affect our domestic policy?
4. How do you explain Truman's surprise reelection in 1948?
5. In what ways did World War II create a "boom" in the US (1945-1953). Were there limits to this boom?
6. Despite Truman's low approval rating (23%) upon leaving the White House, most historians rank him as a "near great president". Reflect on this assessment in regards to foreign and domestic events.
The Origins of the Cold War
Name of Professor
The Cold War began as a contest between the USA and the Soviet Union after the Second World War. The USA and Britain joined forces with the Soviet Union in their war against Germany during the Second World War. The US developed the atomic bomb in 1945 and it was first used in a war situation in Hiroshima, Japan in the same year. Three days later, the same bomb was launched in Nagasaki, Japan. This was the only use of nuclear weaponry in armed conflict in the world and none has been recorded since then. However, in 1949, Russia developed their first atomic bomb and this sent fear across the globe. Their former allies felt threatened partly because of their approach of communism to governance. The US believed that they were helping Russia in the war to secure freedom for their people and the rest of the world from the dictatorial rule of Adolf Hitler. The idea of Russia developing a nuclear weapon preceded distrust amongst its allies given that Joseph Stalin had entered into a non-aggression pact with Adolf Hitler but still went to war with Germany. It was rather difficult for the allies to trust Russia with nuclear weaponry in their possession.[Schlesinger, Arthur. "Origins of the Cold War." Foreign Affairs 46, no. 1 (1967): 22-52.] [Schlesinger, Arthur. "Origins of the Cold War." Foreign Affairs 46, no. 1 (1967): 22-52.] [Schlesinger, Arthur. "Origins of the Cold War." Foreign Affairs 46, no. 1 (1967): 22-52.]
Truman and Stalin Ideologies
Truman made a firm statement regarding the commitment of the United States on the idea of developing nuclear weaponry and working towards establishing control systems for the ownership and use of nuclear technology. The political system of the United States was and is still based on democracy and their government was installed by the citizens through an open and fair election. It was this kind of freedom that the Americans believed they were fighting to preserve. It was the purpose of the government of the United States to engage in the war as their way of protecting the individual freedoms of the American people. This was also supported by the capitalist mentality in Truman and the US at large. There was fear if the world would have to bow at the superiority of a nation such as Russia that does not believe in capitalism and puts the interests of the society ahead of the individual. The implication of this socialist approach to governance is that there is no idea of
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