Impact of Cold War politics on the USSR

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Origins of the Cold War pre-World War 2

  • From 1917 revolution great mistrust between USSR & West especially after West backed anti-Bolsheviks in Russian civil war.
  • Based on oppositing economic & political systems; democratic capitalism & dectatorial. Both sides had already started proganda war. (Red Scare in 1920s USA & anti-western imperialist propaganda in the USSR).
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Post-World War 2

  • USA and USSR opposing superpowers.
  • Defeat of Germany led to Yalta & Potsdam agreements whereby Europe was split inro two (after much disagreement).
  • With mutual enemy gone previous mistrust return. USSR imposed communism into occupied territory & US provided Marshall Aid. 
  • Escalated into Cold War with both sides fearing the other would try to assert dominance over them.
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Effects on USSR

  • Economically the USSR kept levels of military spending high & geared the economy towards rapid military development to counter America. 
  • Acquired atomic bomb in 1949.
  • Increaed paranoid of Western influence & subversion. 
  • Zhdanov's cultural reforms, Doctors plot & Hysterical isolation.
  • Increased upsurge in Russian nationalist propagandato counter image of superior West. Past inventions falsely attributed to Russians (Radio) & past Russian leaders like Peter the Great praised despite being previously labelled tyrannical imperialist by the Bolsheviks.
  • Development of the Cold War 1945-53 had two general effects once it threatened Stalin's grip on power & so the toralitarianism of High Stalinism was needed to counter the threat.
  • Second it was explioted by Stalin to increase his power through fear.
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