International Relations Essay Plans:
The Emergence of theSuperpowers, 1945-1961:
To what extent was the Soviet Union's expansion into Eastern Europe the main cause of the intensification of the Cold War in the years 1945 to 1956? (45 Marks)
In the years 1945 to 1956 the Soviet Union began a rapid expansion of its influence throughout Eastern Europe. During this time Cold War tensions also accelerated rapidly leading many to believe the intensification of the Cold War during this period was a consequence of Soviet expansion however, more factors were at play. This is best seen in the context of American imperialism, American policies and ideological differences.
The Yalta Conference in 1945 clearly highlighted the ideological divisions of both the Soviet Union and America. These divisions played the fundamental role in intensifying international relations and damaging future prospects of cooperation between the two superpowers. During the conference both powers did come to some forms of agreements, notably the Declaration on Liberated Europe however they also proposed conflicting aims which meant the conference ended with no firm agreements on the future of the alliance between the powers or future of a war torn Europe. Consequently, both powers engaged in there own methods of restoring Europe which was seen through the Soviet Union’s rapid expansion throughout Europe and the establishment of a communist bloc. America also changed its stance from an isolationism power to an interventionist expanding its own influence and enforcing collective security - this was seen through the setup of NATO in 1949 which increased American influence in Europe. In addition, it should be added that NATO was set up to expand the influence of existing Western European alliances in the face of increasing fears of the Soviet Union’s expansion. This clearly demonstrates that the Soviet Union’s expansion into Eastern Europe was a fundamental factor in intensifying the Cold War, if not just accelerating divisions.
The Soviet Union’s pursuit of a systematic programme of establishing pro-Moscow communist regimes throughout Europe was a breach of the Declaration on Liberated Europe and strained the relations America. examples of this profound level of expansion include Poland, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia which This was significant to the intensification of the Cold War as America no seen the Soviet’s as a clear threat to democracy and free elections in Europe and that there expansionism was a threat to even their own security. This factor clearly indicates the importance Soviet Expansionism to the intensification of the Cold War and even demonstrates how it provoked America therefore further straining relations and accelerating further aggression and divisions in Europe. This directly links to Soviet Expansion throughout Eastern Europe and consequently the intensification of the Cold War.
Problems over Germany: Conflicts over Berlin and the Berlin Blockade highlighted a more aggressive side of the Soviet Union and expressed clearly how expansion throughout Eastern Europe intensified the Cold War. Moreover, intensification of the Cold War can clearly be seen through the Berlin Airlift to which America provided…