Analyze the responsibility of the USA and USSR for the outbreak and development of the Cold War up to 1945.

The Orthodox View: (e.g. Arthur Schlesinger)

The Revisionist View: (e.g. W.A. Williams)

The Post-Revisionist View: (e.g. J.R. Starobin)

Continuing the evolution of perspective surrounding cold war developments, the Post-Revisionist view emerged as a response to the revisionist stand point. This is one which basically refutes the responsibility of the cold war to be the fault of either superpower and relies more on the concepts of "misunderstandings", the climate of tension, and "poor diplomacy" rather than the idea of intentional agression by part of a single superpower.

The Cold War was caused by the conflicting interests of the United States and the U.S.S.R., compounded by miscommunication and poor diplomacy. The differences in the cultures of the American political leaders and their moral and righteous justifications for diplomacy from Soviet leaders' communist expansionist policies led to the unraveling of the new international order nearly established in Roosevelt's wartime conferences with Churchill and Stalin.
Analysis of President Truman’s ideas at a site called Innocents Abroad: Presidents and Foreign Policy

Instead of simply blaming any one side for the entire Cold War, they argued that both sides were at fault for the cause of the Cold War and the further propagation that occurred once the conflict began. Among its arguments was the idea that, although Stalin had been looking out for the best interests of the Soviet Union at the time, the nations of the West could not know with a high degree of accuracy what Stalin was actually planning, and that perhaps in the pursuit of Soviet interests there might be a conflict with the interests of the West.

Despite these various interpretations of the Cold War, it would seem impossible to accurately determine which of these theories on the origin of the Cold War have any merit as information being released from the Soviet Union prior to its collapse is slowly being released. Perhaps one of the aforementioned viewpoints contains the reason why the Cold War occurred, but it is equally possible that there might need to be major amendments to the theories before one can be used to accurately state the cause of the Cold War. However, what is certain is that as more information is released from the Soviet Union, there will definitely be a renewed effort at examining the Cold War and its causes.

"The New History" (J. L. Gaddis)

Origins in the Russian Revolution:

U.S. Support for the Whites:

The American people had developed a fear of revolution that dates as far back as 1848 when there was a considerable amount of immigration occurring from countries that were undergoing revolutions. This planted the seeds of worry that would eventually spring forth into a mighty oak of conflict. With these revolutionary fears remaining intact until the turn of the 20th century, the people of America became anxious at best when they learned of the growing communist revolution in Russia. This fear of revolution having repercussions on American society is what eventually drove the Americans to support the “Whites” or anti-communist forces in Russia during their civil war. After the defeat of the “Whites” by the Red Army, the hostilities toward Western Nations, here embodied by the anger towards the Americans in their intervention in the revolution, is said to have originated at this point as the democratic capitalist sentiments harbored by the West seemed to be hell bent on undoing the work of their communist revolution.

Lenin and War communism:
U.S. Fear of anti-democratic and anti-capitalist movement leading to the "Red Scare" by 1919/20, links to American Fear of Revolutionaries dating back to 1848 imimgration.

Origins in WWII: (especially tensions at Potsdam)

Formation of the "Iron Curtain"

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent

Extracts from the:
Robert Rhodes James (ed.), Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches 1897-1963 Volume VII: 1943-1949 (New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1974) 7285-7293.
The value of this Iron Curtain speech is that it gives us Britain's post World War II perspective and the speech seems to examine the world's state of security. The writer of this online article, Jen Rosenberg is a historian that has a bachelor's degree in history and has written in several encyclopedias and is one of the authors in the Idiot's Guide to the Great Depression. Also, she is a fact-checker in The Holocaust Chronicle and The Civil Rights Chronicle and currently the History Guide and Specialist in the 20th century on Based on her prestigious history background, she seems to be a reliable resource for dates and facts but, her own interpretation of the history might hinder us from achieving a neutral and objective view of the Iron Curtain.

"Two Rival Worlds"
Marshall Plan (and Comecon)
Communist Popularity in Europe (Britain's withdrawl of aid to Greece)
Truman Doctrine
Alliances (Nato and The Warsaw Pact)

Nuclear Deterance
Arms Race

Cold War Timeline adapted from Learning Curve

Revolution in Russia. The Tsar is replaced by a Provisional Government of elected politicians.

Second Russian Revolution. The Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrows the Provisional Government.

November - December
Lenin begins to set up a Bolshevik dictatorship.

Civil War in Russia: The Bolsheviks (Reds) eventually won because of their ruthless methods and the unpopularity of the opposition (White) forces.
The involvement of foreign armies in the Civil War left bitter memories for many Russians.
Communist Russia was not invited to join League of Nations.

There was a widespread fear of Communist revolution spreading to Britain and USA.

Lenin continued to build a Communist state in Russia.
Russia became Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Lenin died.
1924 onwards

Stalin succeeded Lenin as leader of the USSR. He became an unopposed dictator.
Stalin also built up Soviet industry to make the USSR a major power by the 1930s.

Worldwide economic depression led to major political problems in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Extreme anti-Communist governments came to power in Japan and Germany.

Stalin takes the USSR into the League of Nations.

Germany's new leader, Adolf Hitler, announced plans for a huge rearmament programme. At the same time as he announced rearmament, Hitler also made clear his hatred of Communism and his desire to smash the USSR.

Adolf Hitler took control of large areas of central and eastern Europe.

Hitler demanded that the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia should become part of Germany. At first it looked as though there would be war but, in October 1938, Britain and France effectively gave Hitler what he wanted. Stalin was not consulted and felt betrayed.

Stalin no longer trusted Britain and France to oppose Hitler. He agreed a treaty with Hitler in 1939 not to go to war with him. This gave Hitler the freedom he wanted to attack Poland. This in turn led to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939.

Hitler invaded Poland. In response Britain and France declared war on Germany. Poland resisted for 2-3 weeks but falls when the USSR attacked from the East. On September 27th Germany and the USSR divided Poland between them.

The USSR attacked Finland

The USSR was removed from League of Nations.
The USSR and Finland agreed on a peace treaty.

USSR murdered around 5000 Polish army officers at Katyn.

April - June
German forces occupy Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and France.

June - July
The USSR invaded and retook control over the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia.

June - October
Battle of Britain

Germany, Italy and Japan formed the Axis Alliance.

Romania and Hungary joined the Axis.
January - March
Fierce fighting in North Africa and Balkan regions.

Yugoslavia and Greece fall to German forces.

German along with Italian, Romanian and Finnish forces attack the USSR in Operation Barbarossa (June 22nd). Huge advances are made against the Red Army and along with the capture of Minsk by June 28th.

Germany invades the Ukraine. Britain and the USSR agree to a Mutual Assistance pact.Nazi murder squads began rounding up and killing Communists and Jews within Soviet territory.

United States President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill met and announced the Atlantic Charter. Charter set out their aims for fighting the war and for the world after the Axis defeated. Nazi forces surround Leningrad/Stalingrad and the siege continued until 1944.

Germany captures Kiev.

German forces advance on Moscow. German forces also captured Odessa, Kharkov and Sebastopol.

German forces are driven back from Moscow.
From 1942 until end of war
USA and Britain send supplies and equipment to the USSR via convoys. American and RAF bombers attack German cities through bombing raids.

United Nations Organization formed to oppose the Axis. Nazis held Wannsee Conference which started the "Final Solution" - the mass murder of Jews - into operation.

Germans begin a major advance into the Crimea region of the USSR.

Crimea falls to the Germans who then advanced on Stalingrad.

Red Army forces begin a counter attack to drive German forces back at Stalingrad. The battle of Stalingrad becomes one of the decisive battles of the war.
Months of brutal fighting roll on at Stalingrad resulting in a major defeat for the Germans. Red Army forces began to push back the Germans into central USSR.

Battle of Kursk sees critical defeat of German forces.

Italy leaves the war

The Big Three (Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill) meet at the Tehran Conference in Persia (now Iran).

November - December
Soviet forces continue to push German forces out of Ukraine.
Soviet forces advances into German occupied Poland. German forces finally driven back from Stalingrad.

Red Army forces advance into Belorussia.

April - May
Soviet forces liberate Crimea

D-Day. Red Army forces drive back Finnish troops.

Soviet forces liberate first concentration camp.

Polish resistance rise up in Warsaw. Germans defeated the Poles in bitter fighting. Event was particularly controversial and interesting because Red Army forces did not advance into Warsaw during the uprising as expected.

The Soviet Union and Finland agree to a ceasefire. The Red Army liberated Romania. The Red Army retook the Baltic States.

Red Army forces reached Budapest (capital city of Hungary).
Red Army forces capture Warsaw.

The "Big Three" meet at the Yalta Conference in Crimea.

US, French and British forces enter Germany from the West, while the Red Army enter from the East. It was believed that Hitler committed suicide at this time.

May 8th
Fall of Germany

Potsdam Conference between the "Big Three". The United States carried out the first successful atom bomb test.

The United States dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The USSR declared war on Japan.

September 2nd
Japan Surrenders resulting in the end of the Second Great War

Origins of the Cold War

The alliance between the USSR and the US created during WWII started to diminish even before the end of the War as indicated from the Postdam conference. Please note that these are the consequences of said conference. After the War the Red Army occupied much of Eastern Europe and since Western Europe is placed in a state of weakness this caused a rise in fear of Communist expansion. "Although the Marshall Plan helped restore Western Europe", tension was kept high through varies important events such as: "the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia the Soviet blockade of West Berlin in 1948, the fall of China and the Soviet A-bomb in 1949. Soviet support for the North Korean invasion of South Korea in 1950 confirmed the threat in Western eyes."¹ With the creation of NATO (Western Alliance) in 1949 and the Warsaw Pact (Eastern Alliance) in 1955 the opposing blocs of Communism and Capitalism solidified. ¹

Origins of the Cold War - The National Museum of American History ¹

Did the Cold War start in the period of 1919 - 1939?

The Russian Civil War 1918 - 21
After the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas II a Provisional Government ran the country until a new government could be set up. This government was highly unpopular by the Russian people. Throughout 1917 it steadily lost support. In November of 1917 supporters of the Bolshevik Party overthrew the Provisional Government in a second revolution and installed a new Bolshevik government under Lenin, Lenin's government face many opponents. Some wanted the Provisional Government restored. Others wanted the Tsar restored in power. Others were furious that Lenin sell Russia out of the war, he gave the Germans huge amounts of land and money in return for peace. These opponents to Lenin became known as the Whites (the Bolsheviks were the Reds or the Communists). From 1918-21 a bitter Civil War broke out in Russia. What was strange about this Civil War was that several foreign states also got involved in the conflict. Britain, America, France and Japan all tried to help the Whites to defeat the Bolsheviks.¹

Churchill Secretary of State for War
Bonar Law
Churchill a Secretary of State for War in Britain has expressed his concern about the Civil War in Russia. He believes that if the Bolsheviks were to take the north of Russia many people will die and valuable resources that the allies can use after the Armistice of 1918 will be "lost". Churchill seems to be with supporting the Whites against the Reds. Churchill states that the Western powers are sitting still and doing nothing while the Bolsheviks are advancing and "infesting" more and more territories.² As described by Mr. Bonar Law (Lord Privy Seal (a top Cabinet job) and also leader of the Conservative Party.), the British policy, concerning the Civil War, was to support the Baltic States against the "menace" of Bolshevism. Mr Chamberlain (Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1919 and the brother of Neville Chamberlain) stated that Britain and France would not be able to directly combat, along a line, the Bolsheviks, since Britain has suffered heavy losses and huge debts, mainly to the USA, from the First Great War.³ Churchill states that the only bright spot in the Civil War was General Denikin of the White forces, who is supported by General Holman of the British forces, operating in Western Russia and the Ukraine. General Denikin plans to advance towards Moscow, he gained access to coal, oil and other valuable resources that will allow him to commit operations in the Winter. Unfortunately Admiral Kolchak (White) has suffered many losses (both in lives and resources) by the full force of the Bolsheviks (it was both Lenin's and Trotsky's plan to attack Admiral Kolchak first then turn to General Denikin).⁴ Mr Barnes (minister without portfolio in the Cabinet , Labour politician and a trade unionist making him a socialist) believes that Great Britain has done enough for the people of the Baltic states and that she (Britain) was backing the wrong group, the real governing power in Russia is the Soviet government. If Britain continues to support temporary governments such as Denikin's and Kolchak's and bolster small states then she needs U.S to guarantee support. The British policy on the Civil War was to continue to resist Bolshevism and continue to support Denikin.⁵
Bolshevik Cartoon. The dogs from left to right are Yudenich, Kolchak and Denikin (Three white army leaders)

This Bolshevik cartoon depicts that the three white army leaders are mostly tools by outside powers trying to defeat communism in Russia, a beginning to the Cold War even before the Second World War?

Learning Curve: Russian Civil War ¹
Learning Curve: Russian Civil War: Historical Source One: Extract from the minutes of a meeting of the British War Cabinet in March 1919 ²
Learning Curve: Russian Civil War: Historical Source Two: Extract from the minutes of a meeting of the British War Cabinet in March 1919 Part 2 ³
Learning Curve: Russian Civil War: Historical Source Three: Extract from the minutes of the British Cabinet in August 1919
Learning Curve: Russian Civil War: Historical Source Four: Extract from the minutes of the British Cabinet in August 1919 Part 2

The Zinoviev Letter Controversy of 1924
Ramsay MacDonald
In 1924 Britain reserved its first Labour government, but it only lasted a year. During the 1920s Britain was deeply divided, Trade unions and workers conflicted with employers and the government over many issues,
one of which was relations between Britain and Communist Russia. The Conservative government refused to have any contact with the USSR. The Labour Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, changed this foreign policy. He signed a number of agreements with the USSR. He also proposed a treaty that would establish official relations between the two countries. It would also give the Soviet Union a large loan to help it develop its economy. Many opponents of the Labour party tried to discredit the Labour party by claiming that it was full of Russian Communist agents. In the late 1924 it was believed that Parliament might reject MacDonald's treaty with the USSR. MacDonald became fed up with criticisms of his government that he called another election late 1924. During the October elections a major controversy occurred after the press gained hold of Zinoviev's letter sent to the British Communist Party. Zinoviev was head of the Comintern, an organization whose job was to spread Communism across the world. The letter seemed to suggest that Russian and British Communists were keen on MacDonald's treaty because it would help them get more agents into Britain.¹ By looking at an except from the letter (Note the letter was translated from Russian) the first thing noticeably was that the letter was meant to stay secret. The letter seems to support MacDonald's treaty as a method to spread Propaganda of Lenin's Communism throughout England and England's colonies and it seems to be a method to successfully spread communism (Revolution) throughout England.²

A letter created by a senior Foreign Office minister to Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald about Zinoviev's letter stating that the Soviets are denying the letter even through the letter is obviously created in Moscow (the Foreign Office spent about two weeks to determine if the letter was genuine). In this letter the minister suggests that the government should publish the letter, as it is unfair to the British people that the government is keeping knowledge of these Russian machinations forever concealed and it may prove to be a powerful weapon. This letter made note of the agreement in May 1923 between Britain and the USSR concerning propaganda, that the "Soviet government should not support with funds, or in any other form, persons or bodies or agencies or institutions whose aim is to spread discontent or to foment rebellion in any part of the British empire, We cannot really rest content with the ridiculous assertion of the Soviet Government that they give no support whatever to the Third International" (Comintern). The writer therefor made a second recommendation suggesting that the Government should send a letter to M Rakovsky (Soviet representative in Britain) demanding a stop to this propaganda.³

In a "publicize" letter from Prime Minister MacDonald to M Rakovsky (Soviet representative in Britain) it mentioned that 1.) MacDonald is concerned that the letter by Zinoviev, who is the president of the Communist International, contains instructions to British communists for the violent overthrow of existing institutions in this country, where the corruption of the Royal military will be the means to that end. 2.) That the British government will regard it as a direct interference from outside in British affairs. 3.) That no one will doubt that the Communist International's intimate connection and contact with the Soviet Government. "No government will ever tolerate an arrangement with a foreign Government by which the latter is in formal diplomatic relations of a correct kind with it, whilst at the same time a propagandist body organically connected with that foreign government encourages and even orders subjects of the former to plot and plan revolutions for its overthrow"⁴

Punch Magazine October 29, 1924 The man with the sign is Zinoviev

This cartoon from Punch magazine, which is a British magazine, depicts Zinoviev carrying a sign saying "Vote for MacDonald (In reference to MacDonald's change to foreign policy with the USSR) and ME". This cartoon obviously is expressing the belief that MacDonald's new foreign policy is causing communism (which is untrusted, as depicted by the way Zinoviev looks) to spread in Britain. The line "On The Loan Trail" may also depict that the movement is not as popular as probably hoped by Zinoviev. Would this letter help fuel the development of the Cold War by creating mistrust with the USSR or/and even cause fear of communist expansion?

Learning Curve: Zinoviev Letter Controversy
Learning Curve: Zinoviev Letter Controversy: Historical Source One: Extracts from a letter by Comintern President Zinoviev to the British Communist Party, September 1924
Learning Curve: Zinoviev Letter Controversy: Historical Source Two: Part of a private note from a senior Foreign Office minister to Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, October 15th 1924
Learning Curve: Zinoviev Letter Controversy: Historical Source Three: The public response of Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald to the Zinoviev letter, October 24th 1924

The Munich Agreement of September 1938
Edouard Daladier
Neville Chamberlain
In September 1938 Adolf Hitler (Germany) threaten to go to war with Czechoslovakia, if Czechoslovakia refuse to accept Hitler's territorial demands. As it appears both France and Britain have signed treaties with Czechoslovakia meaning that if Czechoslovakia were to go to war with Germany, both countries would be forced into the conflict, which is not acceptable. In an attempt to avoid war both Neville Chamberlain (Britain) and Edouard Daladier (France) accepted most of Hitler's demands in a conference in Munich, which effectively placed Czechoslovakia in a bad position as it would be alone if it were to enter war with Germany. Due to the Munich agreement Czechoslovakia gave in to Hitler's territorial demands. On March 1939 Hitler broke the agreement and took the rest of Czechoslovakia. The question for this event is how did this effect the USSR? Well Britain and France tried to form an anti-German defense with the USSR, but in August of 1939 Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler, which outlined that neither country will attack the other and that both countries are to provide various help to each other. Both Britain and France were appalled with Stalin's actions, but in response Soviet politicians argue that Britain and France sold out the USSR to Germany at the Munich conference by 1.) Stalin was not consulted about the conference and 2.) It allowed Germany to direct its aggression eastward "by rejecting the idea of a united front [against Germany] proposed by the USSR, Britain and France played into the hands of Germany … They wanted to direct German aggression eastward against the USSR and the disgraceful Munich deal achieved this'" - Soviet historian Yuri Kukushkin, History of Russia.

Map based on the one drawn up from the Munich Confrence on September 29, 1938
The shaded areas of the maps mainly contained German speaking people, they also contained vital raw resources and vital rail links for Czechoslovakia. Also the shaded areas (map two) contains Czechoslovakia's border defense posts which makes Czechoslovakia defenseless from any attack. Finally the shaded areas also contain major industries, most notably the Skoda arms factory, which helped supply Germany with many tanks that were used to invade East Europe
Czech Map 2

In a private letter from Trade Minister Oliver Stanley written to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on October 3, 1938. Stanley wanted to see if Chamberlain would keep him in Cabinet. Also in this letter Stanley does express concern about the Munich conference, even though he will defend it since he must do what the Cabinet wants, particularly the reliability of the Nazi's promises to stop expanding. He believes that Chamberlain is wrong in saying that the Munich Agreement would "bring peace in our time" but he believes that it is only an unsteady truce.

In a private report from the British Ambassador in Moscow, that committed on Soviet newspapers reactions to the Munich conference. It is important to note that the press was censored and only things Stalin wants or agress with were written. In a communiqué (statement) by the state news agency TASS, it stated that the Soviet Union was not consulted on the fate of Czechoslovakia but rather was informed on already completed facts. It concluded that the Soviet Government had nothing to do with the Munich conference. Other newspapers such as the Pravda and the Izvestiya written hostile articles on Chamberlain and Monsieur Daladier, stating that they did not achieve peace at Munich but "rather accomplished an act of unparalleled shamelessness"

Did Stalin Joined Hitler because France and Britian did or did he join to gain what he wants?

This Cartoon was created by David Low who criticize European dictators, especially Hitler. When Stalin signed the Nazi-Soviet pact, thus creating an alliance between the two dictators, he was placed well under this assault. The two of them are in a boat floating over the Baltic, which is a sea north of Germany. The independent Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia which originally belonged to the Soviet Union until 1918, and Stalin was keen to get the Baltic states back. A term from the Nazi-Soviet pact was that the Germans will allow the Soviet Union to said territories without German opposition, also the agreement split Poland between the two Nations. Critics, especially David, believed that Stalin signed this pact because of the possible gains outlined by the agreement not because of the actions at Munich. So did Munich help push Stalin to an alliance (even temporary) with Hitler and help fuel the Cold War?

Learning Curve: Munich Agreement
Learning Curve: Munich Agreement: Historical Source One: A private letter from Trade Minister Oliver Stanley to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, October 3rd 1938
Learning Curve: Munich Agreement: Historical Source Two: A report from the British Ambassador in Moscow to the Foreign Office, October 1938. It is commenting on how the Soviet newspapers reacted to the Munich Agreement

Based on these three sections, did the Cold War hailed its origins or at least some of it in the years 1919 - 1939? Would these events cause the Cold War or are these events just the build up of tension, like the "powder keg" idea before World War One where the tensions build up but enventually "all hell breaks loose" due to one or few spark events?

How Strong was the Alliance of the Allies and did Weaknesses of the Alliance help lead to the Cold War (1941-1945)?

The Official (Public) View of the Relationship between the Soviet Union and the Allies
It is important to note that Stalin can be viewed as an enemy to the Allies since he signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler (Nazi-Soviet pact), which resulted in them attacking and splitting Poland, the Soviet attack on Finland and the Soviet conquest of the independent Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Even with this and the fact that Stalin is a communist dictator (which is not favored by the Allied countries) the relationship between the Allies and the Soviet Union changed after Hitler attacked the USSR in Operation Barbarossa, in 1941, which resulted in Stalin looking for some new allies and the Allies were using this as an chance to strike at Axis Europe. When the Allies, namely Britain, joined with the USSR propaganda was initiated to show the public the strength of the Allies' alliance

Propaganda Poster produced by the British Ministry of Information in the second half of 1941

This poster was created half-way through 1941 by the British Ministry of Information, who's job was to provide information, such as rationing, etc to the public as well the Ministry was meant to help boost British moral which pretty much means they produced propaganda. At this point in the war the British was fighting the Axis pretty much alone and the Soviet Union was being assaulted by the Germans in operation Barbarossa. Because of this the two were able to ignore (temporarily) the troubles between the two nations and unite to fight a common enemy, Germany. The term Fascism was used by the Soviets to describe Germans even though Fascism came from Italy, but the Nazis have some traits similar to Fascism such as the concept of the superior race and the hatred against communists.

"Greetings to the heroic warrior of the Soviet Union from British allies fighting with him" Created by the British Ministry of Information

This poster was also created by the British Ministry of Information. As you can see this poster shows three British military personnel shaking hands with three Soviet military personnel over a dead dragon symbolizing the cooperative aggression against Nazi Germany. Also each personnel is shaking hands of the same type (Navy with Navy, etc.). This is the case because RAF bombers commence missions over Germany then land in the Soviet Union to re-fuel also Soviet pilots are trained to fly British planes. The British navy (along with American) transported supplies to the USSR to aid it in the fight against Germany. The army commanders of both nations also came and worked together on how to fight Axis forces.

There was a report by British officials in Moscow that reported on Soviet newspaper reactions to the Tehran Conference. The British stationed officials in both the United States and the USSR to study the media of their particular country. The report stated that the Soviet newspapers and people showed large levels of enthusiasm and agreement with the conference and its declaration. This is well indicated by the notes on several Soviet papers such as "'Pravda' says that the Conference was a logical development of the closest friendship and collaboration between the US, UK and USSR, forged during the war.", "'Izvestiza' says that anyone who reads the Declaration will realize that the outcome of the war has been decided beyond doubt." and the "'Red Star' says that the Declaration proves the complete failure of Hitler's strategy.". It is important to note that Soviet newspapers are censored by the government so the papers reflected the opinions of the Communist party. Also note that the declaration stated that, along with an alliance against the Axis, that the Allies stays "friends" after the war.

A Propaganda Poster by the British Ministry of Information

This poster was created and released by the British Ministry of Information for propaganda purposes. One of the largest decisive conflicts in the Second World War was on the Eastern front and since both Britain and the United States were not in position to launch operation Overlord until 1944, even though their fighting in Italy and Africa, the support of the Soviet Union against Germany is very important. This poster depicts one of the major concepts of World War Two the war in the air. The poster shows the important element of the Eastern campaign, the bombing of towns and cities to hamper the German war economy/machine. These air raids also drew away Luftwaffe attention and some equipment away from the USSR to protect these raided locations. Stettin was a port city which supplied German forces in Russia and it a major producer of artificial fuel from coal.

Propaganda Poster by the British Ministry of Information

During the war the Allies sent war supplies to the Soviet Union to aid them since D-Day did not occur until June 1944. The convoys traveled on treacherous routes to the USSR, the routes have the risk of freezing the weather was harsh and the routes had Axis presence. It is argued that if Russia did not receive these supplies from both Britain and the United States the Soviet Union would have fallen to Germany due to lack of supplies and strain of the Soviet economy. The convoys helped supply the Soviet Union over 500,000 motor vehicles and 1,900 locomotives, as well as half of its supply of copper and rubber tires. These supplies helped to cover the USSR's needs on small time supplies (boots, non-military vehicles, etc.) which allowed the USSR to concentrate on war material (munitions, tanks, etc.)

Learning Curve: The Public View of the Allied Alliance
Learning Curve: The Public View of the Allied Alliance: Historical Source One: Handwritten notes on the cover of a report written by British officials in Moscow in December 1943. Report that describes the reactions of the Soviet media to the Tehran Conference between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill in November 1943
Learning Curve: The Public View of the Allied Alliance: Historical Source Two: The reaction of the Soviet newspaper Izvestiya to the Tehran Conference in November 1943. The translation is by British officials.

The Unofficial (What the Public did not See) View of the Relationship between the Soviet Union and the Allies
Was the relationship between the Soviet Union and the rest of the Allies warm as the media portrayed or was there mistrust and was this mistrust just isolated incidents or a indication of the upcoming Cold War?

Churchill Tank
An extract from a December 1942 War Cabinet meeting concerning British convoys to the USSR discuss the problems of sending the USSR war material. In this case the British is able to send the USSR "low priority goods" such as foodstuffs due to being in large supply, but the War Cabinet agrees that Britain can't supply the Soviet Union with many tanks and aircraft without hampering itself. It is important to note that the Allies are fighting in North Africa and in the Middle East so war material are needed to keep up the effort so this helps to point out why the War Cabinet has problems to supply the USSR with tanks and aircraft, but the USSR needs tanks that can combat the heavily armored German tanks so when the Soviet Union receives lightly armed tanks, such as the Churchills (a tank) carrying 2 pounder guns, over better tanks, such as the 6 pounder Churchills, they may feel betrayed as they request better tanks and but receive less powerful ones which can't help them in their fight against Germany. The reason why both sides require tanks and planes is because the USSR is fighting in vast open fields (Tanks and aircraft are vital in this kind of warfare) and Britain is fighting in Desert conditions (Which also considers tanks and planes as vital material).

Rudolf Hess
Anthony Eden
On February 17th 1943 British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden sent a telegram to the British Embassy in Moscow. In this telegram Eden tells that a Soviet Ambassador told him that there are people in the Soviet Union (especially in the military) who believe that Britain (and probably US though not mentioned) is not putting much effort into the war. It is also believed that high ranking officials in the communist party also believe this. Some of the reasons why the Soviet people would believe this is because the USSR is fighting on the Eastern front alone (as in only Russian troops are on the line) this is due because the Allies could not open a second European front until 1944. Another reason is many Soviets are unaware of Allied campaigns in North Africa, the Allied convoys and the results of the Allied bombing raids against Germany. Also the Soviets treatment of the Hess incident (which occurred in 1941 where Rudolf Hess, a senor Nazi, came to Scotland to negotiate peace and an allaince against the Soviet Union but was rejected and arrested. This event was viewed as suspicious by the Soviets because they still remember the Munich agreement) and the belief that some British politicians favored appeasement (At the time of this telegram this is not a true problem in Britain but was in 1940) helped to fuel this mistrust. Eden asks if the British minister in Moscow could discuss this problem of mistrust and misinformation with Stalin at there meeting referencing material such as the Russian media depiction of the Hess incident. Remember the Soviet Government censors the media so the media would only express information and opinions allowed by the party.

A British official located in Chicago, who's job was to study and report on the media in that particular region of the United States, wrote a report in 1943 on media aggression, by the Chicago Tribune, against the USSR. Chicago is located in the the Midwest region of the US. This region typically expresses anti-USSR opinions. The anti-Soviet campaign believes that the Soviet Union is purely aggressive and amoral and it only joined in the War because Germany attacked it not because it was against Fascism/Nazism on moral grounds. The campaign believes that the USSR is as much of a threat to world security a Germany. This is the case because of the Polish border dispute, the dissolving of the Baltic states in 1940 and the war with Finland in 1939. Also the anti-Soviets believe that Russia is untrustworthy because they haven't opened a second front against Japan. Note that Russia did not declare War on Japan until after Germany was defeated in 1945. Leon Stolz, editor of the Chicago Tribune, stated, in an interview with the official, that the war in Europe is coming to a close and people need to become aware of the Bolshevik threat.

In an extract of the minutes of the 1944 meetings of the British Cabinet on the question of the future of Poland. The extract discuses about the Polish question and points brought up by the Polish Government exiled in London. The Polish Government believe that Russia is not truly interested in an independent Poland but rather a puppet government under Soviet control, the British Foreign Secretary also believes this to be true. It is agreed that if agreement is impossible with the Russians then war with the Western powers is possible. This fear brings up a similar concept of appeasement as Munich (Peace with Germany, hope to prevent war). Even though there is the opinion that the Soviets could fall short on it's end of these particular agreements this seems unlikely since the Soviets have much to gain with maintaining good relations established at the conferences and there is a belief that Russia intends on cooperating with the United States and Britain.

Learning Curve: The Anti-Public View of the Allied Alliance
Learning Curve: The Anti-Public View of the Allied Alliance: Historical Source One: Extracts from a War Cabinet meeting concerning convoys of supplies to the USSR, December 1942
Learning Curve: The Anti-Public View of the Allied Alliance: Historical Source Two: A telegram from the British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden to the British Embassy in Moscow, February 17th 1943
Learning Curve: The Anti-Public View of the Allied Alliance: Historical Source Three: Part of a Foreign Office report on attitudes in the USA towards the USSR, April 6th 1943
Learning Curve: The Anti-Public View of the Allied Alliance: Historical Source Four: Extracts from the minutes of meetings of the British Cabinet on the question of the future of Poland. The minutes refer to meetings in January 1944

The Yalta Conference
Throughout the war the Allies were in constant contact with military officials and politicians. The Big Three (Leaders of Britain, USSR and US) met three times the first being at Tehran in 1943, then Yalta in 1945 and finally in Potsdam again in 1945. At Yalta Churchill (Britain), Stalin (USSR), Roosevelt (United States) met to discuss what shell be done after World War Two. The Big Three discussed what shell be done to Germany after it's defeat, how the United Nations should be form, the USSR's declaration of war against Japan, reparations paid by Germany to the USSR and the borders of Eastern Europe especially Poland. The meeting was filled with smiles and good will but is this a correct view of the relations between the leaders at the conference. At the conference the Big Three agreed to sign a protocol which each leader interpreted differently, the protocol covered:
  • The set-up of the United Nations.
  • Declaration on a Liberated Europe which means that all countries liberated from Germany would be free to pursue their own system of government.
  • The occupation of Germany and making it pay reparations.
  • The tracking down of war criminals.
  • The question of Eastern European borders.


As you can see in this photo you can see that Churchill and Roosevelt are all smiles while Stalin is serous and looking away from the two other leaders and this is a posed photograph. Also you can notice that the military officers of both the US and Britain are grouped close together while the officers of the USSR are separated from them. The problem is this is only a simple posed photo which could mean little in the grand scheme of things a further review of the conference is needed to determine if it had any real significance in the creation of the Cold War.

An extract from the Yalta Protocol goes over the concept of the creation of the World Organization and its members which should also include the Ukraine and White Russia (Whites are against the Soviet Union). The Protocol went over the concept of allowing liberated states to choose their government system and this process should be monitored to provide assistance but the Protocol can also appear to support direct foreign intervention in these countries which the Soviet Union did to it's Eastern Bloc.

In an extract from Roosevelt's speech to the US congress concerning the Yalta conference, Roosevelt states that the relations at the conference were warm after much open disagreement. In another extract from his speech Roosevelt talked about the "Polish Question" which if left un-discussed would surly lead to conflict after the war. Roosevelt states that the "Polish Question" came to a compromise where non of the leaders fully agree with to the extent they wanted the agreement to go. Stalin wanted Poland for defense since Poland was a corridor for an attack against the Soviet Union, this corridor has been used by Germany twice (In WW1 and WW2) and Britain and the United States wanted to make Poland a strong democratic state. Part of the compromise was that the USSR receives parts of eastern Poland while the western border expanded to include some German territory, also a temporary government will be set-up comprising of Pols supporting the Soviets and Pols supporting Britain, but due to the presence of the Red Army (at the time the Red Army controlled most of Poland) the British supporters will be pressured to support the Soviets.

In a May 12th 1945 telegram from Prime Minister Winston Churchill to President Truman, Churchill expresses concern due to the transfer of American forces out of Europe to the Pacific to fight Japan and the fact that British and Canadian forces will soon leave also France has not develop a strong enough military presence in Europe. Eventually only enough forces will be present to hold down Germany (at this this time Germany has already been beaten). Churchill believes this to be a problem because he fears that without significant presence they can't control the USSR as in there is a fear that the Soviet Union can not be trusted "I feel deep anxiety because of their misinterpretation of the Yalta decisions, their attitude towards Poland, their overwhelming influence in the Balkans excepting Greece, the difficulties they make about Vienna, the combination of Russian power and the territories under their control or occupied, coupled with the Communist technique (The concept of local Communists using the support of Red Army presence to take over the country) in so many other countries, and above all their power to maintain very large Armies in the field for a long time."

Prime Minister Winston Churchill received a report from the Joint planning staff (the highest British military authority) who's job was to work on a secret project termed "Operation Unthinkable" which was the Allied assault against the USSR. Churchill authorized this project because he felt that he could not trust that Stalin will hold true to the agreements at Yalta due to events like the Nazi-Soviet pact. The planning staff reported on the possibilities of such an event, in the end Churchill rejected the plan since a war with Russia will be very difficult to win. The operation follows the assumptions that the public of both the United States and Britain will accept this plan and both countries will gain support from Poland and the remains of the defeated German military (throughout the war Germany created propaganda telling the Allies that the USSR is not their ally, Germany was attempting to get the Allies to stop their aggression against Germany and support her against the Soviet Union). The point of the attack is to express the will of the Allies on the USSR, as in allow the Allies to gain an upper hand in after war negotiations (Such as the Polish question). To gain temporary power the Allies must gain a swift victory or for a lasting will (or by decision of Soviet Union) a total war must be fought, which the Soviet Union is in position for. The only ways to defeat the Russians in total war is either by defeating them in key decisive battles or by destroying their war capabilities (Factories, etc.).

As you can see the Yalta conference has expressed healthy relations among the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union, but at the conference there were also many disagreements and compromises among the powers. It is also indicated that the Allies (Britain and the United States), especially Britain did not truly trust Stalin, believing that he won't uphold to all the agreements met at Yalta. This distrust even almost led to a war with the Soviet Union. It is important to note that the reason why the Allied assault against Russia was called off is because a total war with the USSR would be very difficult (if not impossible) to win so it wouldn't be wrong (Though don't 100% stick to that belief) to believe that negotiations with the Soviet Union were influenced by the fear of going to war with them.

Learning Curve: Yalta
Learning Curve: Yalta:Historical Source One: Extract from the Yalta Protocol - the agreements signed by Britain, the USA and the USSR at the Yalta Conference February 1945
Learning Curve: Yalta: Historical Source Two: Extracts from US President Roosevelt's speech to the US Congress on the Yalta Conference, March 1st 1945
Learning Curve: Yalta: Historical Source Three: Extracts from US President Roosevelt's speech to the US Congress on the Yalta Conference, March 1st 1945, referring to the question of Poland
Learning Curve: Yalta: Historical Source Four: Telegram from Prime Minister Winston Churchill to US President Truman, May 12th 1945. It comments on relations between the Allies in the months after the Yalta Conference
Learning Curve: Yalta: Historical Source Five: Part of a report from British military leaders to the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, regarding a plan called 'Operation Unthinkable' - a surprise attack on the USSR, 1945

The Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam conference occurred from July 17th to August 2nd 1945. President Truman (USA, Roosevelt died in April), Prime Minister Churchill (He represented Britain until he lost an election to Labour leader Clement Atlee, some time in the middle of the conference) and Secretary Stalin (USSR) met again to discus what to do after the war. Did this conference show any form of good faith or was the cracks of the alliance exposed?

Cartoon Created by the British Daily Mail in July 16, 1945

This British cartoon was created by the Daily Mail July 16th 1945. The cartoon is meant to show that the Potsdam conference is meant to be where the Big three meet to discus on how to rebuild society and devastated areas. As this cartoon shows it is public opinion (or at least one of many) that the three powers are going to work together to rebuild "The Civilized World". Was this cartoon an accurate perception of the conference or did it turn out differently.

Posed photo of the Big Three at Potsdam

As can be seen with this photo all is well among the three leaders, but is this a true perception? This conference was a continuation of the other two (Tehran and Yalta) as in all the same topics are discussed but a new problem comes into existence along with another already presented during the Yalta conference. This new problem is the creation of the Atom bomb which the Americans posses (Now the fear of this deadly weapon is not truly present until after the two bombs dropped on Japan). This problem can be argued to be meant to counter the large land armies of the Soviet Union (the other problem), which at this time occupied much of Eastern Europe which will lead to further problems between the Americans and the Soviets (Berlin blockade for example).

After the Potsdam conference Truman presented a speech (August 10th 1945) reporting on the events of the conference to the American congress for approval. At the conference they discussed the German reparation question where Truman wanted to be careful of because if they demanded money then German's economy will suffer and it will ask for a loan from the US again leading to another interwar years crisis. To prevent this problem from happening again the Big Three agreed to take reparations as war based machinery (Weapons factories, tanks workshops, etc.) which can be converted to non war material for use by countries who receive reparations and Germany would still have want is needed to make a peace-time economy. Another aspect of Truman's speech was on the Atomic bomb which he wanted to make sure it does not fall into enemy hands (Is the enemy the Axis or does it extend on to other nations such as the USSR?). To do this a secret agreement is made between the US and Britain to keep this bomb a secret until they could find a way to control it, these two countries will be viewed as trusties of the bomb (attempt to maintain more power then the Soviet Union? They have the armies but we have the bomb)

On August 11th 1945 "The Economist" (A British Journal) wrote an article on the Potsdam conference referring to the German reparations. It discussed the idea that Germany is treated unfairly by Stalin (who demands much as reparations) and that the Allies should pursue the democratic goal (Liberty, freedom, prosperity) rather then trying to create a future alliance (with the USSR). There is a belief that Stalin only wanted to gain much in reparations from Germany because the Western banks do not want to lend the USSR "reconstruction credits" (loans) to help in its reconstruction. Is it possible to believe that if the west supported Russia in its reconstruction the Soviet Union would not be so harsh with Germany or would this still have lead to future conflicts in Germany?

Based on these sources is it possible to believe that the conferences and the wartime alliance only appeared friendly on the cover or towards the public (in a popular belief, this does not mean opposing views did not surface). Even though on the cover the alliance was strong, underneath the alliance had its cracks. Churchill did not trust Stalin to hold his end of agreements reached at the conferences probably due to events like the Nazi-Soviet pact, this mistrust has even led to a war between the Soviet Union and the Allies even before World War Two ended. Churchill's fears, though do hold true since Stalin's mass armies pressured Eastern Bloc countries to pursue communist systems. Also we saw that near the end of the war the media of both US and the USSR become hostile to the Alliance. Americans are bringing back the fear and aggression against communism (as represented by the Chicago Tribunal's campaign against the Soviet Union) and the USSR's media (Which is censored by the Government) is expressing distrust of the British support in the war. Pretty much the Alliance had disagreements and only agreed to compromises that not everyone is really happy with and high levels of distrust.

Learning Curve: Potsdam
Learning Curve: Potsdam: Historical Source One: Extract from a speech by President Truman on the Potsdam Conference, August 1945. This extract covers the issue of reparations from Germany
Learning Curve: Potsdam: Historical Source Two: Extract from a speech by President Truman on the Potsdam Conference, August 1945. This extract concerns the use of the atomic bomb
Learning Curve: Potsdam: Historical Source Three: Extract from an article in the British journal The Economist, August 11th 1945

Now, after reviewing these sources, did these events lead to the Cold War where a nuclear holocaust may have come into being or was everything covered on this page just powder that needed an ignition source to cause the Cold War? If so what/who is this source? Was it Stalin (Popular belief that the leader of the Soviet Union caused the Cold War), Truman (USA) or/and Churchill? To answer this we must analyze the actions of each leader/country after the Second World War. To continue the studies of my (Marcin's) Cold War project please refer to the page "Who Caused the Cold War?"