Stalin's Motives for Soviet Expansion

HideShow resource information
View mindmap
  • Stalin's motives for Soviet Expansion
    • Spreading World Revolution: The Bolsheviks followed the Communist ideology and therefore believed that the only way to ensure survival of the revolution was to spread it throughout the world.
      • Evidence that Stalin wanted to Spread a World Revolution:           The creation of Comintern was interpreted by the West as evidence of Soviet expansionism. September 1947.
        • Further, the fall of Nazi Germany allowed Stalin the opportunity to spread Communism. The Red Army controlled large parts of Eastern Europe post WW2. The imposition of communist governments in Eastern Europe, the Greek Civil War, Berlin Blockade and the Coup d'état were all viewed as evidence of Stalin's intention to spread Communism.
      • However, The USSR were not involved in either the Greek Civil War or the Coup d'état in Czechoslovakia. It was arguably a western misinterpretation. This is supported by the fact that Kennan sent his highly influential 'long telegram' in 1946, warning of the danger of USSR and fuelling anti-communism.
    • Traditional Russian Expansionism:
      • Historian such as Sharp and Schuman believe that Stalin's actions mirrored that of the Tsar's. According to this view, any Russian leader would have acted in the manner regardless of Communism. The gains from WW2 were largely the recovery of territories lost in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk 1918. In this respect, he was re-gaining areas that had been part of the Tsarist empire.
      • However the rise of communist regimes was not only restricted to previously Tsarist states, spreading to the Far East. This suggests that Stalin was different to the traditional Tsar's who had previously no interest in the Far East.
    • Defensive Actions to create a buffer Zone against attack from the West
      • The war had taken the lives of over 20 million Soviet lives and left over 25 million homeless. The economy was destroyed and therefore it could be argued that the Soviet's tried to take control of Eastern Europe to create a buffer Zone to protect the Soviet Union from further invasion. Previously, the Nazi's had attacked through the Polish Corridor, so this is an understandable concern.
      • However, Stalin's actions with the Berlin Blockade May 1948- June 1949, show an aggression from the Soviets and it was the first sign of physical action from a superpower. Therefore this contradicts the argument that they were defensive because they acted with aggression.
    • Role of personality
      • Soviet Foreign Policy can be seen as a reflection of Stalin's wary and cautious personality. The 1939 Soviet-Nazi pact shows this as Stalin was forced to sign a pact with a country that hated Communism. Thus he may have been acting defensively.
      • However, personality is a complex thing and despite his cautious nature, Stalin still instigated the Berlin Blockade and although he didn't directly intervene with the Greek Crisis and the Coup d'état. his pleasure at the conversion to Communism suggests he was motivated by more than just his wariness. It is perhaps too simplistic to say that he was either cautious or aggressive.


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Cold War resources »