A2 Unit 3: Cold War
A2 Unit 3: Cold War
The Cold War
Orthodox – a product of aggressive/ expansionist foreign policy of the Soviet Union
Three Major Western explanations for the Cold War – see textbook c.3 Revisionist – result of provocation of the USA
Post-Revisionist – accepts USA used economic power but also accepts Stalin as an opportunist
Origins of the Cold War • The origins go as far back as the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution • This established an alternative model of social/economic organisation, which saw itself as the successor to western capitalism, so antagonistic …
A2 Unit 3: Cold War
A2 Unit 3: Cold War
Key Interpretation • Ideological confrontation is one of eight explanations for origins of Cold War – Cold War inevitable conflict as capitalism and communism fundamentally antagonistic – Marxism-Leninism, official ideology of USSR, committed Communist Party to world revolution to overthrow capitalism – US economic success depended on free trade; Soviet economic system rejected free markets and free trade
• Useful interpretation as explains East-West conflict before Cold War …
• Evidence of ideological conflict: – GB/US troops intervene in Russian Civil War (1918-20) – Western powers refuse to recognise legitimacy of USSR until 1930s – US ‘Red Scare’ (1919) saw US government hunt down and expel left-wing radicals from USA – USSR foreign policy (1917-41) largely based on assumption that Western capitalist powers hostile to communism – Soviet propaganda (1917-41) consistently anti-capitalist
• However, assumes superpowers’ leaders entirely guided by ideology … in reality, often prepared to act more pragmatically
Ideology and the Cold War • WW2 led to decline of European empires and rise of two superpowers, USA and USSR • Both had differing ideological interests • And both also differing strategic interests and a legacy of mistrust …
A2 Unit 3: Cold War
A2 Unit 3: Cold War
Second World War and the two superpowers • So, in spite of ideological differences and mistrust, USA and USSR became two-thirds of the Grand Alliance formed to fight the Axis Powers • Furthermore, WW2 changed the power-relationships across the world: – As well as the rise of two very different superpowers: USA and USSR … – WW2 saw the decline of the French and British Empires and so the decline of European influence on the world
A2 Unit 3: Cold War
A2 Unit 3: Cold War
USA’s vision for the post war world: the Atlantic Charter • USA and Britain outline their vision for the post war world • 14 August 1941 Atlantic Charter • TASK: read and discuss handout: – Which ideology is dominant in the Charter? – Which parts of the Charter might Stalin disagree with?
1941 – Marriage of Convenience? • So, although the USA and the USSR were allies against Nazi Germany from late 1941 – the alliance was unexpected – Why? – Also, what might happen if the reason for the alliance was removed?
• 1st January, 1942 – Declaration of the United Nations signed by 26 Allied nations • TASK: read and discuss handout – What is the Declaration based on? – Which parts of the Declaration might cause problems for Stalin?
A2 Unit 3: Cold War
A2 Unit 3: Cold War
Increased tensions during WW2 • 1942 Stalin requests USA/GB open up a second front … delayed … further delayed in 1943 … does not happen until June 1944 – how might Stalin interpret this delay? • Katyn Massacres (Occurred 1940) discovered 1943 • Warsaw Uprising 1944 – How might the West interpret these two events?
• August 1945 …
TASKS: 1. Watch episode 1 of the BBC/CNN documentary on the Cold War: Comrades 1917-45 – Use the worksheet: 02a The Origins of the Cold War: Comrades 1917-45 Question Sheet from Moodle to help you make notes as you watch the documentary
2. Read the introduction and chapter one of your textbook 3. Read the articles of the week: – Peter Moss 1970s textbook on Ideology – Sean Lang Ideological Differences
Capitalism and Communism ‘card sort’ Activity Sort the following descriptions under the headings Capitalism and Communism and copy them into a table like the one below: Capitalism – in theory
Communism – in theory
A controlled economy
Average standard of living is high, but there is often a wide gap between rich and poor
Choice of many political parties for Government, chosen by the people, i.e. a democracy
Any person should be free to start a business and employ people
No private person should be allowed to profit from the work of other citizens Everything belongs to the state and should be run by the government on behalf of the people. A classless society achieved by revolution.
Political parties are the result of competing classes. In a classless society there is no need for political parties except one.
Opportunity for all All industry, business and agriculture should be owned by private people or firms. Competition between rival factories or shops or farms will cause prices to fall and make firms more efficient.
Fairness and equality for all Only one party of Government – no need for any more All citizens have the right to freedoms such as the freedom to vote, freedom of speech, freedom of worship and a free press.
Lower average standard of living, but (in theory) everyone is equal
Any profit he or she makes is reward for hard work A free economy All profits, instead of going into the pockets of one owner or even shareholders, goes to the state – everyone benefits
The Atlantic Charter August 14, 1941 A joint statement by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill of their mutual goals for the post-WWII world. The President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, representing His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, being met together, deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world. First, their countries seek no aggrandizement, territorial or other; Second, they desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned; Third, they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them; Fourth, they will endeavour, with due respect for their existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity; Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labour standards, economic advancement and social security; Sixth, after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want; Seventh, such a peace should enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance; Eighth, they believe that all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well as spiritual reasons must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Since no future peace can be maintained if land, sea or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten, aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential. They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measures which will lighten for peace-loving peoples the crushing burden of armaments.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Winston S. Churchill
Declaration by the United Nations (January 1, 1942) A Joint Declaration by the United States, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Poland, South Africa, Yugoslavia The Governments signatory hereto, Having subscribed to a common program of purposes and principles embodied in the Joint Declaration of the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland dated August 14, 1941, known as the Atlantic Charter. Being convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands, and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world, DECLARE: (1) Each Government pledges itself to employ its full resources, military or economic, against those members of the Tripartite Pact and its adherents with which such government is at war. (2) Each Government pledges itself to cooperate with the Governments signatory hereto and not to make a separate armistice or peace with the enemies. The foregoing declaration may be adhered to by other nations which are, or which may be, rendering material assistance and contributions in the struggle for victory over Hitlerism. Done at Washington January First, 1942 [The signatories to the Declaration by United Nations are as listed above.]
The Origins of the Cold War 1917-1945
1) Why did the October Revolution in Russia prompt the USA to sever relations with the new Russian government? 2) What impact did the June 1919 peace conference have on relations between Russia and the west? 3) What involvement did the US and Britain have in the Russian Civil War of 1918-1921 and what impact did it have? 4) What impact did the Wall Street Crash of October 1929 have on US politics and why? 5) What solutions did Franklin D. Roosevelt provide in answer to US economic depression? 6) In what way did relations between the US and USSR improve in 1933? 7) What events in the USSR caused concern in the US and why? 8) What policy did the British government adopt in the 1930â€™s in response to Nazi Germany? 9) How was this policy applied?
10) What impact would the failure of said policy have on future international relations? 11) What pact was signed in August 1939 between the USSR and Germany? 12) What were Stalin’s motives for signing such an agreement? 13) Britain and France declared war on Germany after the invasion of which country? 14) Which states fell quickly under Soviet power? 15) By mid 1941, which countries had been defeated by the Nazis? 16) Which operation began on June 22nd 1941? 17) What event led to Germany declaring war on the USA and why? 18) When the USSR came into the war on the side of the Allies, which areas did Stalin state he would want under Soviet control at the end of the war? 19) What happened at the Katyn massacre of 1940 and how did the Nazis try and use it to their advantage? 20) Where and when did the first summit take place between the Big Three? 21) Who established a good relationship at said conference? 22) What decisions were made? 23) What key event happened on the 6th June 1944? 24) What happened at the Warsaw Uprising? 25) What ‘deal’ did Churchill and Stalin come up with in 1944? 26) What were the details of this deal? 27) Where and when did the second summit take place?
28) It was said that the USSR got their own way because, ‘…….. diplomacy could not alter?’ 29) What did Stalin agree to adhere to? 30) Which country was going to be jointly governed? 31) What secret pledge did Stalin make? 32) What key event happened in April 1945 and what happened as a result? 33) Where did US and USSR troops meet for the first time? 34) How many USSR lives were lost as a result of WW2? 35) How did this compare to Britain and the USA? 36) Which new organization formed in 1945? 37) When specifically did the Nazis surrender? 38) Where did the third summit take place? 39) What changes in leadership were there and what impact did they have on relations between east and west? 40) What was the Manhattan Project? 41) Why was Stalin’s response to being told about the new weapon, nonchalant? 42) When and where were the atomic bombs dropped?
World War Two Facts Who Fought Whom? Axis
Bulgaria Finland Germany Hungary Italy Japan Romania Yugoslavia
Argentina Bolivia Brazil Canada China Chile Columbia Costa Rica Cuba France India Iraq Lebanon Mexico New Zealand Paraguay South Africa Soviet Union United Kingdom United States
Albania Belgium Czechoslovakia Denmark Estonia Ethiopia France Greece Luxemburg Netherlands Norway Philippines Poland
Andorra Ireland Liechtenstein Portugal Spain Sweden Switzerland Uruguay Vatican City
Main Leaders Country
France Germany Italy Japan
Charles de Gaulle Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Emperor Hirohito Neville Chamberlain to 1940 Winston Churchill from 1940 Franklin Roosevelt died 1945 Harry Truman 1945
United Kingdom United States
Numbers of Deaths Death figures for World War Two vary from source to source. The figures below are believed to be reasonably accurate. Country
USSR 12 million 15 million 27 million China 1.8 million 7.5 million 9.3 million Poland 597,000 5.86 million 6.27 million Germany 3.25 million 2.44 million 5.69 million Japan 1.5 million 500,000 2 million Yugoslavia 305,000 1.35 million 1.66 million Romania 450,000 465,000 915,000 Hungary 200,000 600,000 800,000 France 245,000 350,000 595,000 Great Britain 403,000 92,700 495,000 Italy 330,000 100,000 430,000 Austria 280,000 125,000 405,000 United States 407,000 6,000 413,000 Greece 60,000 350,000 410,000 Czechoslovakia 7,000 315,000 322,000 Netherlands 13,700 236,000 249,000 Philippines 27,000 91,000 118,000 Belgium 76,000 23,000 99,000 Finland 80,000 10,000 90,000 Canada 39,000 39,000 Australia 35,000 35,000 Albania 20,000 10,000 30,000 Bulgaria 10,000 15,000 25,000 India 25,000 25,000 New Zealand 17,000 17,000 *Civilian numbers include those killed as a result of the Holocaust*
Victims of the Holocaust Country
Number of Deaths
Number of Deaths
Poland USSR Romania Hungary Czechoslovakia Germany Lithuania Netherlands
3 million 1 million 350,000 250,000 250,000 165,000 130,000 105,000
Latvia France Austria Greece Yugoslavia Bulgaria Belgium
70,000 65,000 65,000 65,000 60,000 48,000 25,000
WW2 Main Events Timeline 1939
Hitler invades Poland on 1 September. Britain and France declare war on Germany two days later.
German 'Blitzkrieg' overwhelms Belgium, Holland and France. Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Britain. British army evacuated from Dunkirk. British victory in Battle of Britain forces Hitler to postpone invasion plans.
Hitler begins Operation Barbarossa - the invasion of Russia. The Blitz continues against Britain's major cities. Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, and the US enters the war.
Germany suffers setbacks at El Alamein and Stalingrad. American naval victory at Battle of Midway, in June, marks turning point in Pacific War. Mass murder of Jewish people at Auschwitz begins.
Surrender at Stalingrad marks Germany's second major defeat. Allied victory in North Africa enables invasion of Italy to be launched. Italy surrenders, but Germany takes over the battle.
Soviet offensive gathers pace in Eastern Europe. D Day: The Allied invasion of France. Paris is liberated in August.
Auschwitz liberated by Soviet troops. Russians reach Berlin: Hitler commits suicide and Germany surrenders on 7 May. Truman becomes President of the US on Roosevelt's death, and Attlee replaces Churchill. After atomic bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrenders on 14 August.
America, Russia and the Cold War Peter Moss's View from Peter Moss, History Alive 4: 1900-1970s (1977) This extract comes from a British secondary school textbook written in 1977, when the Cold War was at its height - so you need to be a little careful about the view it presents of the differences between the two sides. Although a Soviet textbook from the same time would have presented a VERY different account, however, the author does try - for the time - to be fair to the Soviet system.
Differences between America and Russia The two great powers glared at each other across the world, for although they had united to fight against the Nazis, in almost everything else they are completely different. First of all, the United States believes that a country should be run on a Capitalist system - that is, all industry, business and agriculture should be owned by private people and firms. They believe that competition between rival factories or shops or farms will cause prices to fall and make the firms more efficient. If factory A is selling cars at £500, then factory B must sell theirs at the same price, or an even lower one, if they wish to remain in business. In order to make their cars for £500, factory B may have to scrap its old-fashioned machinery and install modern, more efficient equipment. The Russians, on the other hand, believe in Socialism - that is, that everything should belong to the state and should be run by the government on behalf of the people. The Americans believe that any man who wishes to do so should be allowed to start a business and employ people to work for him. If he is hard-working enough, or skilful enough he may make a profit. If he pays his workmen £20 a week and makes £1000 a week profit for himself, he should, the Americans say, be allowed this as a reward for his intelligence and for the risk he is taking with his money. The Russians believe that this system is wrong, and that no private person should be allowed to make a profit from the work of other citizens. If the labours of the ordinary people are to make a profit, then it should, they say, belong to the government, who will use it for the good of everyone in the country by building and running hospitals and schools, by paying for defence; communications and all the other needs of a country. So, all Russian factories and businesses (except for a few small one-man concerns) belong to the state, and their profits, instead of going into the pockets of one owner, or even a body of shareholders, go to the state. America believes in the law of supply and demand. If, for example, too many firms are making washing machines, shops will have to keep reducing prices to try to sell them until they reach a level at which they are making a loss. As there is not enough profit in washing machines, factories will stop making them. If, on the other hand, there are only a few colour television sets on the market, many people will want them. Firms will be able to push their prices higher and higher, as someone will be prepared to pay. The high prices for the sets will attract other firms to make them and as soon as more appear in the shops, the prices will start to fall. Russia believes in a controlled economy. The government tries to work out how many cars or perambulators will be needed for that year, and sets the
factory to make that number, which are sold at a controlled price. This, they say, avoids wasteful over-production, and under-production with its high prices. If, in America, one trade or profession, or even one district, finds itself short of workers, then more must be attracted by higher wages or better conditions. In a similar situation in Russia workers might be ordered by the government to go to that particular job or area. The American, too, can earn as much as his trade union can force out of his employer: if necessary, he can go on strike until the wages are increased or his hours shortened. In Russia, the wages and hours are fixed by law and strikes are, in practice, impossible. As a result of all this there are much greater differences in wealth in the United States than in the Soviet Union. In America there are powerful business men whose incomes are several million dollars a year (one estimate is that one person in every 600 is a millionaire), but there are also some desperately poor people almost on the starvation level. From their relatively high wages the Americans have to provide for many services such as hospitals and medical care, which the Russians are given by the state. In the Soviet Union there are no millionaires, but there are very few, by their standards, who are desperately poor. However, the standard of living in America is, on the average, much higher than in Russia. There is, for example, one motor vehicle for every two people in the U.S.A.: in the U.S.S.R. there are probably 50 people to every car. In the matter of government, the two countries are completely different. America has two main political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats. Each has its own ideas on the way the country should be governed, and it is up to the people to decide at election time which one they want. The Russians have only one party, the Communists. They say that this is quite fair as the Communists know what is best for the vast majority of people. Any other party would be in the interest of only a minority of the population and must, therefore, not be allowed.
The governments of the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R.
In America most people over 18 are allowed to vote in elections for President, the Senate and the House of Representatives, but not all. The actual details of those entitled to elect their representatives varies from state to state: some demand that the person must have lived in that state for a certain number of months - or even years - before he is allowed to vote. Twenty of the states demand that voters must be able to read a certain passage from the United States constitution; still others insist that only those who pay certain taxes can vote, and
one, Alabama, compels all voters to take an anti-Communist oath. The states which have the strictest regulations about who can and who cannot vote are usually in the south of the United States, and many of these laws are devised to prevent the negroes from taking part in the elections. Every two years the people elect a House of Representatives, which is similar in function to our own House of Commons, and every two years they choose one-third of the Senate, which is vaguely like our House of Lords except that its members are elected. Every four years the people elect, by a rather roundabout method, a President. As the House of Representatives and the Senate are chosen at different times it is possible for one to have a majority of Republicans, and the other a majority of Democrats. This can make the passing of laws difficult. In Russia every citizen over eighteen (except certain criminals and lunatics) is allowed to vote for the Supreme Soviet, which is elected every four years. The Supreme Soviet consists of two councils (soviets) - the Soviet of the Union, which is elected on the basis of one member for every 300,000 of the population, and the Soviet of the Nations, which consists of members sent by each individual republic of the U.S.S.R., in proportion to its size. The Supreme Soviet is too large (about 800 in the Soviet of the Union and 600 in the Soviet of the Nations) to work satisfactorily as one body so it chooses a small committee, called the Praesidium, to run the most important business. The Supreme Soviet meets only to agree to, or reject, the decisions made by the Praesidium. Every member of all of these councils must be a communist, and must be nominated by the Communist Party, so that is really the Party which controls the running of the country. The head of the Communist Party (the Secretary) is therefore the most powerful man in Russia.
What were the attitudes of the main powers to the situation in Europe in 1945? Read pp.19-22 in your textbook and complete a table like the one below:
Soviet attitudes in 1945
US attitudes in 1945
British attitudes in 1945
Introduction • Key questions: – Why is 1945 an important stage in the origins of the Cold War? – What happens in 1945 to cause division between east and west?
A2 Unit 3: Cold War
A2 Unit 3: Cold War
– What were the key areas of diplomatic friction? – Were these divisions already present in the Grand Alliance before the end of the war? – How did each Superpower’s perception of the other cause the breakdown of relations between the powers? • US view of the Soviets; reinforced by Churchill • Soviet view of the US
Key Events and Areas of Friction Yalta Conference, February 1945 End of the war in Europe, 8 May 1945 Power sharing in Germany Tension over Poland Economic issues Potsdam Conference, July 1945 Dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 6 and 9 August 1945 • End of the War in the Pacific, 15 August 1945 • Control in Asia • • • • • • •
Breakdown of the Alliance •
Topic: Yalta A2 Unit 3: Cold War
Read pp. 17-24 of Oliver Edwards The USA and the Cold War, 1945-63 (2nd Edition) and answer the following:
A2 Unit 3: Cold War
What problems did Polish question pose for the Big Three?
What effect did economic reconstruction have upon relations?
What role did the atomic bomb play in the souring of relations?
How important was the issue of Germany in the breakdown of the Grand Alliance of the Second World War?
The Potsdam Conference and after … •
Read pp.25-30 of Michael Dockrill and Michael Hopkins The Cold War (2nd Edition) and answer the following: 1.
What were Soviet demands at Potsdam?
What effect did the change of government in Britain have at Potsdam?
How did relations deteriorate after Potsdam?
What effect did James Byrne have upon US policy?
What internal problems did the Soviet’s have to deal with?
The Yalta Conference: February 1945
In February 1945 it was clear that Germany was losing the European war, so the allied leaders met at Yalta in the Ukraine to plan what would happen to Europe after Germany’s defeat. Despite the differences, the Big Three – Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill – agreed on some important matters.
Stalin agreed to enter the Pacific War (Japan) once Germany had surrendered. The Big Three agreed that Germany would be divided into four zones: American, French, British and Soviet. It was agreed that the German capital, Berlin, deep inside the Soviet zone, would also be divided into four zones.
As Allied soldiers advanced through Germany they were revealing the horror of the Nazi concentration camps. The Big Three agreed to punish the war criminals that were responsible for the genocide. They agreed that as countries were liberated from occupation they would be allowed to hold free elections so the people could chose the government they wanted. They agreed to join the new United Nations Organisation which would aim to keep the peace after the war. The only real disagreement was over Poland. Stalin wanted the border of the USSR to move westwards into Poland. Stalin argued that Poland could move its border westwards into German territory. Churchill did not approve of Stalin’s plans but also knew that he could do little about it because Stalin’s Red Army was in control of Poland and eastern Germany. Roosevelt was also unhappy about Stalin’s plan but was persuaded to accept it as long as the USSR agreed not to interfere in Greece where the British were trying to prevent the communists taking control.
The Potsdam Conference: 17 July – 2 August 1945
TASK: Who might be the target of the speech? Three months after the Yalta conference, Allied troops reached Berlin. Hitler committed suicide. Germany surrendered. The war in Europe was over. American and Soviet troops shook hands in April 1945. A second conference of the Allied leaders was arranged for July 1945 in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam. However, since Yalta a number of changes had taken place which greatly affected the relationships between the leaders.
Stalin’s armies were occupying most of Eastern Europe. Soviet troops had liberated country after country in Eastern Europe, but instead of withdrawing his troops Stalin had left them there. By July Stalin’s troops effectively controlled the Baltic States, Finland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania.
America had a new president. On 12th April Roosevelt died and was replaced by his Vice President Harry Truman. Truman was very different from Roosevelt. He was a much more hard line anti-communist and was very suspicious of Stalin.
On 16th July the Americans successfully tested an atomic bomb at a desert site in New Mexico.
The Potsdam Conference: 17 July – 2 August 1945
Disagreements at Potsdam In July there was a general election in Britain. Churchill was defeated and replaced by Clement Attlee. The conference was dominated by rivalry and suspicion. A number of issues arose on which neither side could agree nor understand the other side’s point of view.
They disagreed over what to do about Germany. Stalin wanted to cripple Germany completely to protect the USSR. Truman did not agree. They disagreed over reparations. 20-27 million Russians had died in the war and the Soviet Union was devastated so Stalin wanted compensation from Germany. Truman was determined not to repeat the ‘mistakes’ at the end of the First World War. [What might this be alluding to?] They disagreed over Soviet policy in Eastern Europe.
The Conference agreed the following:
To set up four zones of occupation in Germany Germany to be de-Nazified To bring war criminals to trial To recognise the Polish government of National Unity [What was this?] and hold free and unfettered elections Russia was allowed to take reparations from the Soviet zone and also 10% of industrial equipment from the western zones. American and Britain could take reparations if they wished.
The Potsdam Conference: 17 July â€“ 2 August 1945 Source 1 Perhaps more important then the agreements and arguments at Potsdam was the attitude Truman took back to the White House. At Potsdam, he later recorded; he learned that the only thing the Russians understood was force. He decided he would no longer â€˜take chances in a joint set up with the Russians,â€™ since they were impossible to get along with. The immediate result of this decision was Truman's determination 'that I would not allow the Russians any part in the control of Japan.' S. Ambrose, Rise to Globalism (1980) Source 2 Joseph E. Davies, always a sensitive barometer of anti-Russian sentiment, noted that 'the hostility to Russia is bitter and surprisingly open - considering that we are here to compose and secure peace. There is a constant repetition of the whispered suggestions of how ruthless the Russian Army had been in looting and shipping back vast quantities of everything from cattle to plumbing fixtures... The atmosphere is poisoned with it. The French are carrying everything, including the kitchen stove, out of their territory. Our own soldiers and even some members of this delegation are "liberating" things from this area. But the criticisms are levelled only at the Soviets. 'Davies worried that the President was 'surrounded by forces actively hostile to the Russians, even to the point of destroying the Big Three Unity.' J.L. Gaddis, The United States and the Origins of the Cold War 1941-1947 (1972) Source 3 As President Truman put it, 'On July 24th I casually mentioned to Stalin that we had a new weapon of special destructive force. The Russian Premier showed no unusual interest. All he said was that he was glad to hear it and hoped we would make good use of it against the Japanese. Although his reaction has been interpreted as a failure to grasp the importance of Truman's communication, it is more likely that Stalin was playing his cards close to his chest.' A. de Jonge, Stalin and the Shaping of the Soviet Union (1987) TASK: In pairs, answer the following questions for each source above: 1. What is the argument (interpretation) put forward by the historian? 2. What evidence can you use to support their interpretation of Potsdam? 3. What evidence can you use to criticise their interpretation of Potsdam?
The Conference at Potsdam July-August 1945 Source A Roosevelt's successor, Harry Truman, introduced a more abrasive style in relations with the Soviet Union, but in substance he sought to continue Roosevelt's preference for dealing independently with Stalin rather than tying America to British policy and arousing Stalinâ€™s suspicions of a Western allied bloc against him. R. Crockatt, The United States and the Cold War 1941-53 (1989) Source B The Potsdam Conference of the Three Great Powers (17 July-l August 1945) did not produce any major constructive agreements but it did conceal temporarily the growing divergence between East and West. A reparations agreement was reached designed to reduce Soviet claims to German industrial capital in the three Western zones. Each occupying power was allowed to extract reparations freely from its own zone, while the Soviet Union was authorised to take 10 per cent from the Western zones, and a further 15 per cent provided that this was matched by supplies of food and raw materials from the Soviet zone. The Soviets again promised free elections in Poland. The United States finally accepted the Oder-Western Neisse line as Poland's future Western frontier. Substantive issues such as the long-term future of Germany and peace treaties with Germany's former European allies (eventually signed in 1946) were referred to future meetings of the foreign ministers of the great powers. M. Dockrill, The Cold War 1945-63 (1988) Source C Admiral Leahy noted that the British and Americans had been forced to accept many unilateral actions taken by the Russians since Yalta, but rejoiced that Truman had 'stood up to Stalin in a manner calculated to warm the heart of every patriotic American' by refusing to be 'bulldozed into any reparations agreement that would repeat the history of World War 1.' Byrnes believed that the concessions that had been made reflected the realities of the situation in Europe, and that this 'horse-trade' on reparations and the Polish boundary question had left the way open for further negotiations at the foreign ministers' level.' . J.L. Gaddis, The United States and the Origins of the Cold War 1941-47 (1972) Source D But Truman took a more balanced view than many of his advisers. 'Joe,' he explained to Davies, 'I am trying my best to save peace and to follow Roosevelt's plans... Jim Byrnes knows that, too, and is doing all he possible can.' The President found the tenacious bargaining tactics of the Russians frustrating - 'on a number of occasions I felt like blowing the roof off the place' - but thought he understood and could deal with the Soviet dictator...The Russians were negotiating from weakness rather than strength. Truman believed, because 'a dictatorship is the hardest thing in God's world to hold together.' ...Stalin was 'an S.O.B.,' the President told his startled companions on the voyage home, but then he added affably: 'I guess he thinks I'm one too.' J.L. Gaddis, The United States and the Origins of the Cold War 1941-1947 (1972) Source E Even at Potsdam (16 July-2 August, 1945), the contradictions between American and Soviet concepts of postwar planning had such a forceful effect on the course of the conference that the delegates were on the brink of an open crisis on more than one occasion. A rift discernible even from the outside could only be avoided after two weeks of extensive, but unproductive negotiation by Byrnes putting together a provisional compromise package: with the proviso of a conclusive settlement in the future peace treaty with Germany, the Western powers recognised Polish administration of the former eastern territories of Germany as far as the Oder-Neisse line. In return for this, the Soviet leadership was provisionally to reduce its reparation demands with regard to Germany. W. Loth, The Division of the World 1941-1955 (1988)
The Conference at Potsdam July-August 1945 Source F For President Truman it was the moment when he first understood what he was up against: 'Anxious as we were to have Russia in the war against Japan the experience of Potsdam now made me determined that I would not allow the Russians any part in the control of Japan. Our experience with them in Germany, Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary and Poland was such that I intended to take no chances...Force is the only thing the Russians understand. And while I was hopeful that Russia might someday be persuaded to work for peace, I knew that the Russians should not be allowed to get into...control of Japan.' Truman quoted in A. de Jonge, Stalin and the Shaping of the Soviet Union (1987) Source G The British decided that Truman was 'quick and business-like'. This was an image Truman deliberately fostered. 'I took 'em on a ride when I got down to presiding,' Truman wrote his mother after the first meeting. 'It was a nerve-wracking experience but it had to be done.'...Before the conference, three of Truman's top aides had advised him, 'As a well known Missouri horse trader, the American people expect you to bring something home to them.' But the give-and-take, the manipulation, the drawing and redrawing of the maps of the world all this only made him restless and uncomfortable. He preferred draw poker to the wrangling of high diplomacy. What he wanted most, at the beginning, was a Soviet commitment to enter the war in the Far East; Stalin so promised the first day. 'Could go home now,' Truman said. Frustrated at the slowness of subsequent proceedings, he whispered to Byrnes during a plenary session, 'Why, in ten days, you can decide anything!' He departed Potsdam with the vow, 'I'll never have another.' D. Yergin, Shattered Peace (1977) Source H On July 21, Truman learned that the weapon was far more destructive than expected, and that the bomb would be ready for combat use very soon. 'He was a changed man,' Churchill noted of Truman after the July 21 plenary session. 'He told the Russians just where they got on and off and generally bossed the whole meeting.' D. Yergin, Shattered Peace (1977) Source I Churchill...was distracted by the upcoming British general election, which, he said, 'hovers over me like a vulture of uncertainty.' The Prime Minister's long, rhetorical digressions annoyed not only Truman and Stalin but even the Englishman's own subordinates. 'He butts in on every occasion and talks the most irrelevant rubbish, and risks giving away our case at every point,' Cadogan wrote. 'Every mention of a topic started Winston off on a wild rampage.' D. Yergin, Shattered Peace (1977
TASK: In pairs, answer the following questions, for each source above: 1. What is the argument (interpretation) put forward by the historian? 2. What evidence can you use to support their interpretation? 3. What evidence can you use to criticise their interpretation?
The Conference at Potsdam July-August 1945 Source 1 Roosevelt's successor, Harry Truman, introduced a more abrasive style in relations with the Soviet Union, but in substance he sought to continue Roosevelt's preference for dealing independently with Stalin rather than tying America to British policy and arousing Stalinâ€™s suspicions of a Western allied bloc against him. R. Crockatt, The United States and the Cold War 1941-53 (1989) Source 2 Admiral Leahy noted that the British and Americans had been forced to accept many unilateral actions taken by the Russians since Yalta, but rejoiced that Truman had 'stood up to Stalin in a manner calculated to warm the heart of every patriotic American' by refusing to be 'bulldozed into any reparations agreement that would repeat the history of World War 1.' Byrnes believed that the concessions that had been made reflected the realities of the situation in Europe, and that this 'horse-trade' on reparations and the Polish boundary question had left the way open for further negotiations at the foreign ministers' level.' . J.L. Gaddis, The United States and the Origins of the Cold War 1941-47 (1972) Source 3 It was at the Potsdam Conference of July 1945 that the remaining scales fell from most Allied eyes, as Stalin, feeling further pretence to be unnecessary, abandoned the role of benign Uncle Joe...Newsreel footage of his first meeting with Churchill and Truman is revealing. Stalin strides into the conference room carrying a briefcase, which he tosses onto the table with an unmistakably dominant air, making it clear that he is the strong man of the trio...The finest example of Stalin's sense of humour is the practical joke he played on President Truman. Truman had invited Stalin to dinner. Wishing to provide appropriate entertainment, he inquired who Stalin's favourite composer was. Stalin let it be known that it was Chopin. Truman arranged to have a pianist play mazurkas and polonaises to Stalin as he dined. Stalin, who had never displayed the slightest interest in Chopin, must have enjoyed listening to him during the conference which finally extinguished any flicker of hope for a free Poland. Yet he kept the joke to himself; his sense of humour was never flamboyant. A. de Jonge, Stalin and the Shaping of the Soviet Union (1987) TASK: Using sources 1, 2 and 3 and your knowledge, explain the difficulties encountered at the Potsdam Conference of July/August 1945.