Collapse of the Grand Alliance
To what extent was the United States responsible for the collapse of the grand alliance at the end of the Second World War? The Grand alliance was between the globe leading powers USA (Roosevelt), USSR (Stalin) and Great Britain (Churchill). This was a marriage of convenience riddled with tension, mistrust and suspicion. The three leaders where knows as the big three who all agreed that defeat of Nazi Germany was in the interest of national and the world security. After Hitler was defeated April 1945, Germany was defeated and the World War 2 came to an end.
The common enemy of the USA and the USSR. The collapse of the grand alliance was inevitable, a common enemy was the only thing that was keeping them together. The United States has shown hostility towards the Soviet Union ever since the Bolshevik revolution. The USSR saw the United States as a ring leader of capitalist power which have sought to strangle their regime at infancy.
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Ideologically communism was a polar opposite to capitalism . communism capitalism could not co-exist if the political leaders saw some advantage in it.
The war resulted in the death of 26 million soviets and the destruction of soviets agriculture, Stalin was determined to prevent such lost appening in the future. Stalin was determined to make Poland its buffer zone against further attacks from Germany. This did not sit well with the west especially with the USA who believed that countries should be independent and have self- determination. When the grand alliance meet in Yalta February 1945 the big three agreed that Europe should be liberated and Poland should hold democratic free elections.
Stalin had a different idea democracy from Roosevelt. The USSR would not let Poland have a non-communist government because of fears that Poland may ecome be a doorway for Russians enemies also Stalin though that a “friendly’ Poland was essential for the USSR security. The USA and the USSR had fundamental differences in ideology which lead to the break down in the grand alliance. In Yalta Russia agreed to let Poland have fair and free election and let the polish government who was in exile in London be part of this.
Even though Stalin agreed to this and joined the united nation he did not allow Poland to set up a self-governing government without intervening. The USSR breach the Yalta agreement and occupied Poland, which was one of the reasons why the grand alliance collapsed. Roosevelt dying and Truman taking over meant a change in leadership. Truman was not consulted about foreign affairs by the ex-president so Truman was in-experience and ill-prepared. Truman was suspicious of the USSR right from the beginning and hated communism.
Truman taking over from Roosevelt meant a change of approach to the way the dealt with communism. During 1946 American perception of the Soviet Union changed for the worse. From the opening months of that year the Soviet Union was seen no longer as an ally but as potential adversary. George Kennan, an official in the US Embassy in Moscow, was instrumental in changing attitudes towards the Russians. On 22 February he sent the State Department a telegram which offered a historical analysis of Soviet foreign policy.
Britain’s wartime leader, Winston Churchill, the Soviet Union by his “iron curtain” speech in Fulton, Missouri, in March 1946. Churchill warned that the only way to deal with the Soviets was to be firm with them in negotiations. two men contributed to changing attitudes towards the Soviet Union within the political elite in Washington which were also matched by a shift in the ood of the American public. The USA treating the USSR like an enemy rather than an allie is one of the reason why stalin was so fearful of the west and a revionist would argue that its one of the reason ewhy stalin had certain foregin policies.
The USA had a monopoly of atomic bomb and used it as diplomatic tool. The USA wanted to make the USSR stick to the Yalta agreement and contain there expansion. The USA failed to scare Stalin with their monopoly of the atomic bomb. The soviets where obsessed with national security so it response was to develop their own nuclear weapons. At the Potsdam conference there was disagreement the USSR wanted to destroy Germany by making Germany pay big reparation which they could not afford. However the USA wanted to rebuild and liberate Germany.
They compromised by giving the USSR zone reparation from the western zone, to make up for the loss Russia faced in the second world war. Stalin blocked economic unity in Germany. Soviet demanding bases on the Dardanelle’s in turkey American’s gradually began to look at Germany as a vital battleground in the Cold War. They wanted Germany to become an American ally and a solid buffer against communism in central Europe. To win the support of the west German people, a number of steps were taken to revive Germany more quickly than had been planned at the Potsdam Conference.