Origins of the Cold War to 1945


The Cold War, according to John Mason, was a fundamental clash of ideologies and interests. 

Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Plashakov considered the Cold War to last from 1948 to 1962, with the subsequent 27 years a prolongued armistice, not accounting for Vietnam or the 'Third Cold War.' of 1979.

David Reynolds considers three cold wars: 1948-53; 1958-63, 1979-85.

What was the Cold War? 

- Ideology clash. 

- Mutual denial of legitimacy. 

- Arms race. 

- Surpression of dissent. 

- 1945-89 Cold War era. 

Origins of Communism. 

19th century - Friedrich Engles, (German industrialist and mill owner in Manchester), and Karl Marx, (Jewish German philosopher), found Marxism-Leninism, a set of beliefs that would govern the USSR, China, Cuba, and Eastern Europe. It was believed that the bourgeoise in an industrial society would inevitably be overthrown by the proleteriat by a dictatorship of the proleteriat, until an egalitarian society was established.

Vladimir Ilych Lenin developed Marx's ideas. Russia was mainly an agricultural country lacking industrial proleteriat, so revolutionaries would be organised in small groups with a compact core of reliable members, who would topple the Tsarist Regime. In 1903, the Bolshevik Party was established. Before they seized power in October 1917, Lenin outlined plans in State and Revolution, arguing that the proleteriat would be a ruling class, establishing dictatorship which would wither away once enemies at home and abroad were destroyed, but the USSR became authoritarian. 

Capitalism was an economic system where goods were produced from private capital intending to make a profit over the command economy, controlled by government. 


Liberal Democracy (US) - Elections, a government where the politicians are voted and accountable with unpopular ones removed, freedom of speech, freedom of government, and equality. 

Economic democracy - Equality in wages with no wage gaps, liberal democracy was politicians being used as puppets. 

Religion - 

Marxism Leninism believed material conditions determined the fate of mankind, not religion. Marx considered religion, 'opium of the masses,' and duped proleteriat into accepting exploitation. During the revolution, places of worship were shut down, and Christian churches in Italy and West Germany criticised communists, alongside Poland with Pope John Paul II 1979. 

The USSR, after the Bolshevik Revolution, knew it was backwards and could not survive. After World War II, relations between the US and USSR worsened as Woodrow Wilson issued his Fourteen Points in April 1918 for self-determination, free trade, and collective security, while Lenin preached world revolution. 

Howard Roffmann argued the Cold War proceeded from Bolshevik triump, as the US, UK, France, and Japan, fought against Bolshevism with the Whites in hopes of strangling it and preventing Germany, which lost in November 1918, from becoming Communist. Allies feared a spread of Communism. However, intervention only strengthened Bolsheviks: in 1919 France and US withdrew; in 1920 UK withdrew; Japanese in 1922. 

Polish-Russian War ; 

At the Paris Peace Conference, Poland was given the Curzon line by British foreign minister Lord Curzon; dissatisfied with this border 160km east of Warsaw, in 1920 they tried to…


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