The Collapse of Superpower Relations (The Conferences (Potsdam, July…
The Collapse of Superpower Relations
Potsdam, July-August 1945
New personalities meant relations between the Big Three changed significantly.
Truman and Attlee were new to diplomatic discussions, harder for them to get their way with Stalin. Truman was suspicious about Stalins motives. He believed that the Soviets were keen to spread communism worldwide and bring down capitalist democracy.
The development of the atomic bomb worsened relations because Truman deliberately delayed the date of the conference until the bomb was ready to show his power. This increased tension
The defeat of Germany removed the need to work against a common enemy. Harder to find common ground.
Yalta February 1945
USA and France did not agree with Stalin's suggestion that all 16 Soviet republics should be given individual membership. Instead just Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus were admitted.
Their disagreements increased tension between them
Poland was the major issue. Was agreed that the borders of Poland would be returned to their position in 1921 and there would be free elections. Stalin expected those elections to bring about a pro-communist government, whereas
the British supported the non-communist London Poles. Disagreements on ideologies, affecting the way Poland would be run.
There was some tension between the USA and Britain because Roosevelt viewed British Colonialism as more of a threat to world peace than the Soviet Union. Seemed good relations between Roosevelt and Stalin might create a position where the Big Three would become the Big Two.
Disagreements in ideologies created tension.
Marshall Plan: The USA provided $13.7 billion in aid to European countries.
This angered Stalin as Eastern European countries were not benefitted and he believed the Marshall Plan was dollar imperialism.
Truman Doctrine: the USA abandoned the policy of isolationism and beginning a new approach to international relations. They were setting themselves as the leader of the fight against communism; isolationism was replaced with containment.
Angered Stalin as he thought it showed the USA was trying to extend its influence in Europe.
Telegrams and Speeches
Nikolai Novikov 1946
Novikov (Soviet diplomat) wrote that the USA: wanted to use its military power to dominate the world, did not want to cooperate with the USSR and Americans were ready to support the government in a war.
This increased tensions and suspicions between the superpowers and caused Stalin to take more control of his eastern borders
Iron Curtain Speech 1946
Churchill voiced his thoughts that the USSR was a threat to peace and freedom which
increased hostility between the superpowers as it was assumed that Churchill's sentiments matched those of the Americans causing further hatred and encouraging Stalin to increase anti-Western propaganda
The Long Telegram 1946
Kennan (US ambassador) wrote that Stalin wanted to see the destruction of capitalism and the USSR felt other countries were looking to destroy communism as well.
This elicited the American response to have a policy of 'containment' which meant that they now intended to create policies to prevent the spread of communism
Comecon: Aimed to support the economic development in its member states (satellite states) and discouraged trade with the USA and Western Europe.
This was in direct competition with the Marshall Plan to ensure that Truman didn't look as appealing to the satellite states.
Cominform: gave Stalin a way of directing and controlling the governments of the satellite states. Responsible for ensuring the loyalty of Eastern European governments.
Was a retaliation against Truman's Marshall Plan