- This interpretation assumes that the Cold War was an inevitable conflict as Capitalism and Communism are completely different.
- Communists beleived that there would be a world-wide revolution, in which Capitalism would be overthrown.
- US economic success depended on free trade with the whole of the industrialised world, whilst the Soviet economis system was based on a rejection of free markets and free trade.
- This interpretation is useful because:
- It explains East-West conflict pre Cold War (E.G. US and British attempts to overthrow the Russian Communist government during thr Russian Civil War, 1918-1920)
- HOWEVER: This interpretation assumes that the leaders were entirely guided by their ideologies, when in reality they were prepared to act more pragmaticaly.
- Some historians argue that Stalin's policies after WWII were the main cause of the Cold War.
- From this view, the Soviet determination to create a sphere of influence can be interpreted as a sign of Soviet aggression.
- Stalin's actions during the Berlin Blockade (1948 - 1949) can be regarded as an attempt to coerce the West into accepting the Soviet plan for the future of Germany.
- According to this interpretation, the USA only played a reactive role, and it was the Soviet Union's aggressive nature which brought about the Cold War.
- HOWEVER: This interpretation overlooks Stalin's committment to Peaceful Coexistence up until 1947.
TRADITIONAL GREAT POWER RIVALRY
- Some historians argue the Cold War was a continuation of existing trends in the relations between the Superpowers
- E.G. The USSR continued the Russian tradition of empire building, and US policy in Asia can be viewed as an extension of the Open Door Policy
- This view plays down ideological differences, saying the Cold War was caused by a clash between the Superpowers, who sought to extend their global influence
- It could be argued that this rivalry was evident at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam
- According to this interpretation, both superpowers were motivated by a desire to protect their own interests, but these actions were misintepreted as aggessive policies, designed to expand their global influence
- E.G. The Soviet Union viewed the Stalinisation fo Eastern Europe as a vital way to secure the safety of the USSR, but the USA saw it as a desire to dominate. Also the introduction of a new currency in Western Germany was viewed as provocative in the Soviet Union