PRINUMS- Start of the Cold War


Terhan (1943) and Yalta (1945) Conferences:

  • Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill
  • The Grand Alliance during wartime
  • Roosevelt willing to compromise, more liberal and optimistic, made concessions
  • Churchill strongly anti-communist, suspicious of Stalin but willing to work with him (but Iron Curtain speech 1946)

Potsdam Conference (1945)

  • Roosevelt and Churchill replaced by Truman and Attlee
  • Truman very anti-communist, wanted to prove himself as a leader to the communist fearing US population, suspicious of red army expanision in Europe, atomic bomg without telling Stalin
  • Attlee also at a disadvantage, anti-communist
1 of 7

Russia (USSR)

  • Expansionist, violated Yalta and Potsdam agreements by imposing control over Eastern Europe
  • Marxism idealogy of spreading revolution around the world
  • e.g. Stalinisation of Poland, Hungary, Bugaria, Romania and East Germany 1945-4; coup in Czechslovakia in 1948; Berlin Blockade of 1948-9
  • COMINTERN 1919, and COMECON 1949, designed at economic control of Eastern Europe
  • Sphere of influence, salami tactics, satellite states
2 of 7


  • 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia- Marxist ideas of communist imposed
  • The USA supported the Whites in the 1918-21 Civil War
  • Focus on workers rights, same amount in and getting equal reward
  • West believed in democracy, right to vote etc.
  • Stalin's use of terror and supression of freedom of speech
  • The Red Scare in the 1920s USA
  • Communists promoted revolution on a global scale
  • Stalin rigging elections in Eastern Europe
  • COMIFORM, 1947 to increase Soviet control- wanting to undermine Captialism
  • USA' Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine 1947- undermining Stalin by trying to create Capitalist societies
3 of 7

National Interests

  • Stalin could have just been making a buffer zone to protect him from invasion like the Nazi one of 1939
  • e.g. Stalin didn't take over Finland, even though the Communist Party wanted his help, also left Greece alone because it was Western sphere of influence
  • USA's Marshall Plan could have just been trying to establish good trade links towards their goal of creating an international free trade zone
  • The USA drive for markets post WW2, wanted an open door policy to boost trade
  • Berlin Blockade- fear of Western usurption, Stalin wanted German unification in 1945
  • USA getting involved with Greece was more ideology than national interest
4 of 7


  • Based on actions of dollar diplomacy and need for captialism
  • Dropping of the atomic bomb was aggressive- 'the first act of the Cold War'
  • Marshall Aid an attempt to build a 'Western bloc'- Stalin saw this and undermining him and trying to get Europe dependant on the USA
  • Truman's containment policy
  • Formation of NATO was to defend capitalism
  • USA trying to force the USSR to accept an open door policy in Eastern Europe
5 of 7


  • USA saw the USSR as expanisitionist but they may have just been trying to get security- USA could not empathise with this fear
  • Stalin saw the formation of new currency in Germany by trizonia as aggressive but it may have just been trying to improve their economy
  • The USA exposed USSR economic weakeness with the Marshall Plan
  • USA saw all expanision as ideologically based- but the USSR did not help China for example
  • COMECON was only a response to Marshall Aid
  • Stalin had had the approval of Churchill and Roosevelt to create a buffer zone 
  • The USA refused to share military technology which increased Soviet fears and so started the arms race
  • The USA were unwilling to see German economic assets stripped to give Stalin reperations which he saw as trying to deliberately weaken the USSR
6 of 7


  • Wanted security through expansion and a sphere of influence
  • Was suspicious, cunning and authorative
  • Very xenophobic
  • Used terror in 1930s
  • Rigged elections and staged coups in Europe to get communist governments in power
  • Feared a war waged by Captialist powers- introduced his 5 Year Plan  to strengthen the Soviet economy because of this
  • Berlin Blockade 1948-9 was a period of high tension caused by Stalin's supicion
  • Staged his Red Army in Europe which violated conference agreements and caused tension
7 of 7


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Cold War resources »