Stalin’s Expansion in Eastern Europe and the Potsdam
In 1 945, Stalin using his salami tactics and slice by slice started spreading communism in eastern Europe as he wanted a friendly buffer of states for retention as in 1914 and 1941 he was attacked by Germany and his allies were very delayed in opening up a second front therefore meaning by the time they did USSR had lost millions of soldiers. He appointed communist leaders to take over, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Albania, Romania, East Germany and Poland, this was Stalin ‘soviet sphere of influence.
This is important because the USA wrongly perceived this as a world revolution therefore increasing the Cold War hostility to rise. USA strongly believed in democracy and the right to choose your own overspent, so they were very opposed to Stalin soviet expansion as the countries been turned communist did not choose this. Bulgaria, were very opposed to communism but in 1944 there was an election and the communists executed leaders of other parties.
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He did similar things with the rest of the countries, stamping out the opposition in Hungary and even forcing the Romania king to abdicate.This is important because Stalin soviet expansion led to a number of chain events as both superpowers disagreed greatly on catheters governments. Britain’s announcement that it could no longer fund the civil war in Greece ND Turkey forced the USA to activity contain communism instead of just threatening it, this idea of containment was enforced by the USA Truman Doctrine speech announcing it would offer advice and financial support to any country within or outside its borders to fight communism and wishing to develop capitalism.This is important because this increased Stalin suspicions and also he believed this was a declaration Of war.
However, the Potsdam conference in July 1 945 played a big part in increasing tension. There they disagreed on many points. By this time the leaders of USA ND Britain had changed. Clement Attlee taking over the position for the USA and Harry Truman taking over from Winston Churchill. This is important because with new leaders, comes new personalities and Truman was very much more anti-communist.The difference in personalities made it very hard to agree on decisions which was the reason for the conference. The USSR suffered the most damage in the war, losing 20 million Russians meaning he wanted high reparations from Germany, however Truman wanting to learn from the Treaty of Versailles and League of Nations past mistakes led to disagreement .
This is important because Trumann resistant would only of caused Stalin to be angered more and would further increase Stalin hatred of Truman. However they did agree in the end that Stalin deserved reparations.Tensions were very high at Potsdam, as by that time there was an extreme unbalance of power as the USA atom bomb had successfully been tested, further increasing rivalry. This is important because this would lead to an arms race as the USSR would be racing to build its own atom bomb to restore balance. At the Yalta conference it was agreed that Poland would be liberated from occupation by the Germany army and free elections would take place however Stalin broke this agreement therefore because of that an element of mistrust would surround the three leaders.There was also an disagreement over a soviet policy in eastern Europe as Truman wanted to avoid this but as it was agreed at Yalta he was forced to accept this. In conclusion I believe Stalin soviet expansion affected the Cold war more as its expansion was perceived as a world takeover when really Stalin only wanted socialism in one country.
This misunderstanding led to a chain reaction and more hatred between the two superpowers.