The Beginnings of the Cold War 1945-1949
THE YALTA CONFERENCE FEB 1945
-February 1945, the Allied leaders (Stalin of the USSR, Roosevelt of the USA and Churchill of Britain) met in Yalta in Ukraine to plan what was going to happen to Europe after Germany's defeat in the Second World War.
-This is what the Big Three decided on:
- Stalin (USSR) agrees to enter war against Japan after Germany surrenders
- Big Three agrees that Germany would be divided into four zones- American, French, British and Soviet. The German capital, Berlin, would also be divided into four zones.
- Countries that were liberated from the German army would be allowed to hold free elections.
- The Big Three agree to join the United Nations Organisation, aiming to keep peace.
- The Big Three agree that eastern Europe would be under 'a Soviet sphere of influence'.
-What was going on behind the scenes at Yalta?
- Although the Big Three appear to get on well at Yalta, in reality they mistrusted each other and disliked the countries' policies.
- Stalin viewed Roosevelt as a 'trickster', knowing that he does not support pr approve of communism.
- Stalin also viewed Churchill as an even bigger 'trickster' than Roosevelt, thinking Churchill to be 'dangerous'. Churchill does not support or approve of communism either.
- Churchill thought communism to be 'dangerous' and a threat to commercialism and the West. He mistrusted Russians
- Churchill also thought Roosevelt to be too 'pro-Russian'
THE POTSDAM CONFERENCE JULY-AUGUST 1945
-Three months after the Yalta Conference, Hitler commits suicide and the Second World War was over. A second conference was arranged in Potsdam, Berlin.
-The changes that had occurred in the five months between the two conferences were:
- Stalin's armies now occupied most of eastern Europe, including the Baltic States, Finland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania. Stalin had setted up a communist government in Poland, which was against the wishes of the majority of the Poles, Britain and USA. Stalin claimed that his control of eastern Europe was a defensive measure against possible future attack.
- The USA also had a new president, Harry Truman. Truman was different from Roosevelt in the sense that he was more suspicious of Stalin and communism.
- The USA had successfully tested an atomic bomb, which indirectly threatened the USSR as now the USA had an advantage over them.
Halfway through the Potsdam conference, Churchill was replaced by a new president, Clement Atlee. The conference became dominated by by rivalry between Stalin and Truman.
-Disagreements between Stalin and Truman at Potsdam:
- Stalin wanted to cripple Germany in order to protect the USSR from future threats. Truman did not want to repeat the mistakes of the Treaty of Versailles after the First World War.
- Stalin wanted compensation from Germany in the form of reparations for the millions of Russians killed in the war and the destruction in Russia. Truman resisted this demand because he did not want to repeat the mistakes of the First World War.
- Although it was agreed that…