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Did Stalin cause the Cold War?


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Source 1 - Extract from a document published by the Foreign Office in 1983. It analyses Soviet policy in Eastern Europe since 1945

Source 2 - Part of a report summarising the British government's view of Soviet policies 1946-47

Source 3 - A report to the British Cabinet in 1947 summarising future British policy towards the USSR

Source 4 - A cartoon from the British newspaper the Evening Standard published in March 1948

I have set out in an earlier paper the steps that have been taken by Soviet Russia from the days of the war-time conferences until the present.

There is only one conclusion to draw. After all the efforts that have been made and the appeasement that we followed to try and get a real friendly settlement on a four power basis, not only is the Soviet Government not prepared at the present stage to co-operate in any real sense with any non-Communist controlled Government, but it is actively preparing to extend its hold over the remaining part of continental Europe and, subsequently, over the Middle East and no doubt the bulk of the Far East as well. In other words, physical control of the Eurasian land mass and eventual control of the whole World Island is what the Politburo is aiming at - no less a thing than that. The immensity of the aim should not betray us into believing in its impracticability. Indeed, unless positive and vigorous steps are shortly taken by those other states who are in a position to take them, it may well be that within the next few months or even weeks the Soviet Union will gain political and strategic advantages which will set the great Communist machine in action, leading either to the establishment of a world dictatorship or (more probably) to the collapse of organised society over great stretches of the globe.

Source 5 - Extract from a report from the Foreign Secretary to the British Cabinet in March 1948. The title of the report was 'The Threat to Western Civilisation'

The following circumstances should not be forgotten. The Germans made their invasion of the USSR through Finland, Poland, Rumania, Bulgaria and Hungary. The Germans were able to make their invasion through these countries because, at the time, governments hostile to the Soviet Union existed in these countries ...

Possibly in some quarters an inclination is felt to forget about these colossal sacrifices of the Soviet people who secured the liberation of Europe from the Hitlerite yoke. But the Soviet Union cannot forget about them. And so what can there be surprising about the fact that the Soviet Union, anxious for its future safety, is trying to see to it that governments loyal in their attitude to the Soviet Union should exist in these countries?

How can anyone who has not taken leave of his senses describe these peaceful aspirations of the Soviet Union as expansionist tendencies on the part of our state?

Source 6 - Stalin's comments on his policies in Eastern Europe, printed in the Communist Party newspaper Pravda in March 1946

Every now and again official representatives of the USA and Britain accuse Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria of violating the peace treaties. Recently such accusations were made by the US State Department and the British Minister of state, McNeil. Both asserted that these countries were not observing the peace treaties which bound them to safeguard human rights and economic interests of the UN and their citizens in these countries. Well, these accusations are absolutely groundless.

In reality, all these countries are strictly observing the terms of the peace treaties. Human rights are not violated in any of them. Political freedom is secured to all citizens irrespective of race, sex, nationality or creed. These rights are embodied in the new constitutions and the possibility of exercising them is safeguarded. Racial discrimination is a crime punishable by law. Women enjoy the same rights as men. There is full freedom of conscience. Freedom of assembly, organisation and the press is secured. The overwhelming majority of the working people of these countries is organised in political TU [Trade Union], cultural and cooperative unions and associations on a democratic basis. There is no censorship in Rumania, Bulgaria and Hungary. An enormous number of newspapers and magazines of the most varied trends are published in the three countries.

When the US state Department and the British Minister McNeil speak of Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria violating the peace treaty relating to human rights, they are obviously not thinking of honest citizens of these countries who enjoy full political freedom, but of their own agents, spies and wreckers. McNeil even named the people he had in mind. These are the reactionary Fascist groups and gangs who have been convicted of subversive terroristic activities, designed to overthrow the people's democratic governments of these countries. But the governments of Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria in no way violated the peace treaties when they adopted measures to frustrate the criminal, anti democratic activities of Maniu, Petkov, Nagy and their like. On the contrary, these governments acted in full accordance with the treaties, which bind them not to suffer the existence or the activity of organisations of Fascist type …

Source 7 - BBC transcriptions and summaries of broadcasts by Moscow Radio in 1949

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