Assess the Importance of Two of the Following Soviet Policies
ssess the importance of two of the following Soviet policies in the origin and development of the Cold War: Sovietization of Eastern and Central Europe; Comecon; Warsaw Pact There are many factors that contributed to the origins and development of the Cold War, such as the clash in ideologies, Marshall Aid, the creation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), various Soviet Policies- just to name a few. Many historians, have argued that it was actually Soviet Policies that were essential to the Cold War’s cultivation.
Due to the nature of the title, this essay will focus on importance of two Soviet Policies: the Warsaw Pact and the Sovietization of Eastern Europe. I believe that the Sovietization of Eastern Europe was an extremely important contributor. Perhaps one could say that the Sovietization of Eastern Europe was one of the most important factors in contributing to the birth and cultivation of the Cold War.
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Firstly, Stalin argued that a Soviet sphere of influence was required to ensure security for Russia and the USSR.
By doing so, this created both a mental and physical barrier between the countries of West and Eastern Europe. This mental barrier was first publicly mentioned in Winston Churchill’s Sinews of Peace speech, in which he spoke ‘From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe’. This ‘iron curtain’ was later manifested into a wall that spanned from the Baltic Sea to Czechoslovakia.
Though people had accused Winston’s speech as unnecessary, it would begin to set in their minds a division. By creating a wall across Europe, as well as preventing emigration to and fro, it would cement a real divide, instead of promoting cooperation and a thaw to the Cold War, thereby, heightening the Cold War further. Secondly, the Sovietization of Eastern Europe went against all of the promises that Stalin made at the Potsdam and Yalta conferences. Secondly, very few of the satellite states were particularly keen on communism- they did not appreciate the idea of being told what to by the Kremlin.
As a result, they were forbidden from accepting any Marshall Aid. One could say that this was a rather important factor that led to increased tensions between the Cold Warring sides The Warsaw Pact of 1955 is also a very important factor in the development of the Cold War. The Warsaw Pact was created as a response to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in which member states were bound by a pact of collective security should any member state be attacked by an outsider. One could argue that the creation of NATO would heighten the great tensions of the Cold War.
However, by creating another pact, this policy showed the USSR was also preparing for war. This move definitely did not ease any tensions, but instead, developed them during the Cold War. Also, by creating a Warsaw Pact, it was obvious that Russia would be leading the eight states. This allowed Russia greater military control, thus implementing greater divides. Both the Warsaw Pact and NATO were like the old alliances that existed before the First World War- hiding behind a wall of ‘collective defence’, but in truth, were ready to declare war on each other at the press of a button controlling a nuclear bomb.
Both the Sovietization of Eastern Europe and the Warsaw Pact did not ease any tensions, but instead, cultivated them further. Perhaps these moves were genuine, maybe Stalin really did believe that the USSR required security, and the Warsaw Pact was really just for collective defense. But one has to ask, why would such measures be required, if the main motive was peace? Shouldn’t Russia have concentrated its foreign policies on helping Europe rebuild? It was highly unlikely. This is not to say that Soviet foreign policies were the only ones to blame for the birth and cultivation of the Cold War. The Allied Nations had a part to play as well.