“The Cold War was a result of two differing ideologies.” How far do you agree?
The Cold War is said to be the ultimate long-term conflict between two different ideologies. The Capitalists and the Communists aim for two separate goals. Both of the superpowers who lead these ideals, namely America and the USSR, have two different methods of approach on accomplishing their goals. However maybe it wasn’t just the different ideas that caused the Cold War, there must be other factors as well that one must consider.
Communism and capitalism are two opposing ideologies. The only thing that united the Soviets and Americans were their common goals to defeat Hitler and interdependency. They could not have defeated Hitler by themselves and they had to rely on each other in order to execute the task. However by the end of the World War, divisions began occurring mainly because of different viewpoints of each other’s strategy. The US believed the Soviets were practicing the expansion of communism throughout the globe, which led them to enact their policy of containment. Through the containment policy, they created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which was a military alliance focused on promoting the safety of free nations in the world. If there was an attack on one, it was an attack on all and the allying nations will come to their aid. On the other hand, the Soviets believed in the theory that the capitalists will eventually fall to their demise and fight each other and communism will rise up and take over. Therefore, the Soviets simply waited. The only reason they cooperated with the Americans is because it was for the benefit of the whole nation. According to Kennan, antagonism was so embedded in the roots Soviet culture that no negotiation made with capitalist nations was a true and honest negotiation. There was always a benefit for them in return.
The Communists and Capitalists were both scared of what the other would potentially do
Soviets were still bitter about how they took the brunt of the casualties and that the Western Allies were not helping as much as they could with opening a second front
Many of the decisions that each side made were not necessarily based off of their ideology (Realpolitik school)
Use of the atomic bomb put the Soviets on the defensive and once both had acquired one it set up a tension between the two
So as we can see the conflicting Ideologies that America and Russia represent are an important cause of the fifty years of unrest that will follow World War II. While other factors had brought their own responsibility towards fueling the fire. It was inevitable for the worlds leading superpowers with different views on how to manage the world to come in conflict with one another.
The Cold War had resulted from conflicting ideologies between the United States and the Soviet Union. Though ideologies was a major reason that the Cold War had come to fruit, the Second World War had set the stage and also the U.S had supported nations that were not democratic but in lieu opposed Russia.
Examples of confliction of ideologies:
The UUSR and the United States had become entities that were growing and expanding through industrialization and their own economic system. The fact that the USSR and the U.S had viewed bringing peace and prosperity to their citizens and the global community differently made them enemies and split the world into halves. The United States had view the soviets as a twisted and misguided nation that had become nationalized without compensating their citizens in both east Europe and in Asia. The U.S felt threatened by the Soviets and made moves in order to stop communism, both the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine. Both of those policies had enraged the Russians who felt the U.S was infringing on their own sovereignty. The Soviets on the other hand had fought the U.S in Europe with overthrowing nations that were in East Europe in hopes of making a buffer zone for themselves. Ideological factors had caused the Cold War but there were many other causes that didn’t fall under ideological differences.
Communism is defined as a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs. It is usually a one party state in which the industry and agriculture are owned by the state; furthermore, the people are encouraged to work for the common good. The government is in control of many aspects of society with strong censorships and restrictions on personal freedoms and rights.
Capitalism is defined as an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry, including agriculture are controlled and owned by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. Free elections are held with more than one political party and also limits government interference. This allows room for personal rights such as freedom of speech.
The main difference between the ideologies of communism and capitalism is that the resources and means of production lies within the community in communism, and in the individual for capitalism. This means that the profit also goes to differing groups between the ideologies. In communism the profit is equally shared between the people as a whole, whereas in capitalism, the profit goes to the private owner/individual. The main idea that communism stresses in the society and capitalism stresses in the individual really sets a huge divide in the cores of the ideals.
Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were filled with tension during the lead up to World War II and the Cold War. The United States started the arms race when they built their first atomic bomb. The Soviet Union became fearful of the United States and began to build their own atomic weapons. The fear and mistrust carried on throughout the Cold War and was the basis for a lot of the decisions. The ideologies of the two sides were not the main cause for this reason. Peace issues had developed at the Yalta conference when there were disagreements on what the aims should be. Stalin wanted only protection and reparations while Roosevelt and Churchill wanted to build and lead a democratic Europe. The idea to create a democracy fueled the Soviets insecurity and was one of the reasons why they were driven to confront the U.S. The creation of the Truman Doctrine furthered the Soviets mistrust in the United States and created a larger division between the countries. Truman’s doctrine was created to support and assist any free people under attack from an oppressing country. Stalin received this doctrine as the U.S. making the war about the prevention of Communism. This divided the world further into either pro-Soviet or pro-American camps and instilled the fear that the Soviets were a threat. When the Marshall plan was created, the Soviet Union had refused to join because they believed the Americans were simply trying to buy their way into Europe. This idea was again fueled by the Soviet Unions insecurities and fears of the United States