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You are watching: Was the cold war inevitable


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Any question around the inevitability the a historical development compels, voluntarily or otherwise, the resurrection the a centuries-old debate about the existence of organic laws the dictate the food of history. In his Lectures on the ‘Philosophy that History’, Georg Hegel considers the individual together unable come surpass her very own time, acting together a means-agent in the direction of a predetermined outcome<1>. This notion of historic determinism (historicism) straight rejects the volume of individuals, native Lenin and also Wilson come Stalin and also Truman, to had acted as free-agents in controlling, influencing and also even averting the occurrence of the Cold War. However, to i think a fatalistic approach emphasizing the inevitability of conflict in between two aspiring hegemons with completing ideologies, just undervalues the prestige of individuals responding unpredictably and even irrationally to the given circumstances.

Therefore, in this essay ns argue in favour of one atomistic-reductionist explanation because that the origins of the Cold War. In other words, after exposing the instrumental involvement of individuals in micro-historical events, i attempt to reveal what knife Popper referred to as the ‘Poverty the Historicism’; there space no inexorable regulations of historical destiny<2>. In essence, Cold battle was an avertable product the impulsive and unpredictable action of people operating in accordance to their free will. To do this debate clear, ns synthesise orthodox, revisionist, and also post-revisionist interpretations to support three key points. The very first proposes the while ideology made up the main characteristic that conflict, its influence was topic to its interpretation by chairman Wilson and also Lenin. The 2nd rejects the realist case of unavoidability in the paper definition of 2 power-maximising nations clashing nevertheless of ideology, to argue that Stalin’s succession to Lenin in 1922 was critical for the outbreak the the Cold War. Finally, my 3rd argument considers Truman’s an individual role in foreign policy come conclude that had Henry Wallace prospered FDR instead of Truman, the Cold War can have to be avoided.

To start with, the is important to research the case that the 1917 Bolshevik change had prompted an unavoidable battle of ideas: American liberalism vs. Soviet Communism. According to Engerman, the vital factor for such a definitive and hostile disagreement between the two beliefs was not just their antithetical visions of society organization but their clearly proclaimed universalism<3>. ~ above the one hand, the new Soviet government claimed to have established the class struggle together the ultimate driver of historical progress. Proletarian change was indispensable for person liberation causing the production of a communist society<4>. Top top the other hand, the foreign policy of the unified States, going past the Lockean principles of individual liberty and equality under law, equated the spread of American affect through the consolidation of complimentary markets with the spread of general prosperity. In fact, both ideologies displayed narratives that determinism and messianism, yet most importantly “neither side was willing to was standing aside and also let background take its course”<5>. In this context, the over-ambitious and vague aspirations of Soviet and also American foreign policy supposed that tranquil coexistence was unsustainable.

However, come attribute the beginnings of the Cold war to an inevitable clash of beliefs undermines the an individual contributions that Wilson and Lenin in shaping American messianic liberalism and Soviet revolutionary radical respectively. Ideologies were just the lenses provided by policymakers come interpret and also admittedly come distort understandings of external occasions while the actions take away in an answer can be straight attributed to individuals. President Wilson, a extremely ideological and religious man, had the ability to extrapolate in an international terms the providential ‘Manifest Destiny’ of the American westward expansion versus the natural lands of native tribes<6>. Indeed, what renders Wilson not a just surrogate of pure ideological activity is his an individual support for racial hierarchy; his id that not all world are worthy that the ‘blessings that liberty’<7>. Russians, that had detailed are “a people dumb and without knowledge of speech” in political matters<8>. In this context, Wilson decision in July 1918 come militarily intervene in the Russian polite War versus the advice of his chef officials, indicates how his passionate anti-Bolshevism and perhaps racial prejudices were enough to circumvent his reservations about fighting top top the side of the monarch. In fact, influential revisionist historians such as W.A. Williams and LaFeber, tension the prominence of president Wilson’s expansive global vision as an essential in justifying the subsequent enmity and distrust that the Soviet Union in the direction of the united States<9>. Nevertheless, Lenin’s universalist proclamations constituted an equal hazard to the world. While Wilson aimed at transforming the global system v the promotion of self-determination, open markets, and collective security, Lenin promised nothing much less than the “ultimate interference in various other states’ inner affairs”; to encourage proletarians about the human being in overthrowing their capitalist oppressors<10>. In an open letter complying with Wilson’s decision to intervene in the Russian civil War, Lenin famously triggered the “American revolutionary employees to…play an especially important function as enemies of American imperialism”<11>. In essence, the over instances indicate just how ideology alone would have acted in vacuum, had not been because that Wilson’s and Lenin’s universalist aspirations. In this paper definition the Cold battle cannot be taken into consideration as an unpreventable clash the antithetical ideologies but rather as a result of a coincidental clash the two highly ambitious men who according to Gaddis, “responded come the situations in which they uncovered themselves with a mix of improvisation, purposefulness, and also sheer audacity”<12>.

In order to reinforce this argument, it is beneficial to consider what Edward Lorenz, a prominent American mathematician, dubbed the ‘butterfly’ result in chaos theory. In historic terms, this result hypothesises just how a minuscule readjust in the initial problems of a conflict can an outcome in big differences in ~ a later on stage<13>. Because that instance, Gaddis emphasize the impact of ‘bumbling’ German diplomat on the initial problems of the Cold War<14>. After ~ the outbreak that the February change and in an attempt to threaten the Russian war effort throughout the first world war, German authorities permitted Lenin to travel from his exile in Switzerland ago to Russia wherein he had the ability to orchestrate the revolution. Similarly, in January 1917, just three months prior to Lenin’s come in Petrograd, the German foreign Office proposed a army alliance v Mexico. Most importantly, however, according to the infamous Zimmermann telegram, Germany promised Mexico come “reconquer the shed territory in Texas, new Mexico, and also Arizona”<15>. Follow to Andrew, the revelation that the components of the telegram, alongside the German all-out submarine warfare, had actually been important in allowing Wilson to gain support for American treatment in Europe<16>. In a sense, it can be said that the ideology system confrontation in between Lenin and also Wilson was an ext coincidental 보다 predetermined. After all, had not been because that Lenin’s an effective “Peace, Land, and also Bread” ideology system crusade the Bolshevik change in October 1917 would never have actually taken place<17>. In the very same way, Wilson’s capability to bypass identity tendencies in conference in order to fight “a battle to finish all wars” was depended upon details actions the Germany’s foreign ministry<18>. Essentially, the beginnings of the Cold War, as much they deserve to be traced in the antithesis of Lenin and also Wilson’s universalist aspirations, to be avoidable to a huge extent.

Even though this anthropocentric interpretation appears to have prioritised human company over the determinism the unrestricted ideology, it continues to be based on a different kind the determinism; the the Cold war was inevitable since the anarchic nature of the global system determined US and also Soviet Union policy decisions. This form of structure determinism, which derives native Kenneth Waltz’s theory of neorealism, is explicitly used together the point of leave for Kramer’s ‘Ideology and also the Cold War’.<19> He suggests that “even if the regime in Moscow had not to be Communist” the united state would have actually wanted to confront the increasing power of the Soviet Union<20>. Similarly, Woods explains the wartime Anglo-American partnership as a significantly turbulent one. This can be described by the truth that American cost-free trade deliberations clashed with Britain’s efforts to maintain its financial interests through protracting the royal preference system<21>. In this context, it have the right to be inferred the while the US, through the Loan agreement of 1946, was able to coerce declining Britain into accepting American hegemony, the increasing Soviet Union had to be actively opposed together the just viable contender in the post-war strength vacuum. If this id is supported, it can be said on the communication of the numerous legacies of mistrust that split both powers. Namely, the absence of disclosure ~ above the Manhattan task (until the Potsdam Conference the 1945), the hold-up in opened a second front against Germany in the west, and also the Marshall Plan, all show what revisionist historians such as Williams, Calhoun and Kolko would check out as united state overarching problem with creating a firm global hegemony that would certainly serve American advertisement interests<22>. In this sense, the Cold battle was unavoidable as the us was ready to take it every possible action that would certainly secure, not the spread of democracy, but its national interests. On the various other hand, post-revisionists such together Gaddis, point out the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939 but also the 1948 Berlin Blockade as signs of Soviet aggressiveness which indicate that the Cold battle was a challenge of two mutually suspicious super-powers<23>. Clearly, this condition implicitly alludes to the Hobbesian state of nature; a parable used by timeless realist thinkers to explain the plot of claims in the anarchic worldwide system. In fact, Morgenthau and also Carr would think about that the shared distrust which normally exists in between states inevitably leads to conflict<24>. In this context, ideology and human company were of little or no relationship to the unavoidable laws of one unsustainable bipolarity in the global system. Ultimately, both political parties according to Kramer, “used rhetoric come conceal their real interests and also intentions”<25>.

Nevertheless, both revisionist and post-revisionist historians, one of two people departing from structural or ideological determinism, seem to with a theoretical convergence through the end of your scholarship. In fact, after ~ the check of the long-sealed Soviet archives, Kramer and also Gaddis direct their Cold battle analyses ~ above a details individual: Joseph Stalin<26>. Kramer, because that instance, concludes that we need to not “move too far in the realist direction” together Stalin’s personal role in the outbreak of the korean War in 1950 does not vindicate any kind of realist or ideology system motive however simply his lust for power<27>. Indeed, his earlier attempts in presenting Stalin’s decision to support Kim Il sung’s attack versus South Korea as exemplifying the vast Soviet ambitions in the direction of an asian sphere the influence, conceal the implicit tip that Stalin personal involvement was instrumental. This is more clarified once Kramer refers to a Soviet board of directors of Ministers confidential paper to argue just how Stalin’s fatality in 1953 was an possibility for his precursors to “reverse a number of mistaken policies” consisting of Stalin’s aggressive treatment in Korea<28>. This plainly illustrates the good extent the Stalin was responsible because that Soviet international policy and also ultimately points to the opportunity of reversal. Similarly, Gaddis makes an explicit reference to Stalin’s ‘geriatric romanticism’ which made him “naïve and also sentimental as well as a brutal old man” trying to “recapture his revolutionary youth”<29>. In this context, the korean War is presented as a straight product of Stalin’s personal considerations and not as part of an unpreventable sequence of events. Notably, Westad goes a step more by arguing that Stalin’s ‘ideological jealousy’ in relationship to Mao’s revolutionary success, urged him to singlehandedly grant North Korea’s actions without consulting China<30>. Likewise, Zubok speculates the Stalin’s aggressive strategy in Asia was an attempt not to show up less revolutionary than Mao<31>.

Therefore, it has to be examined even if it is the Cold War can have to be avoided had Stalin not succeeded Lenin in 1922. Firstly, to perform this it is vital to consider George F. Kennan’s famous ‘X Article’ (or long Telegram). Kennan, who was the American Deputy cook of Mission in Moscow at the time, asserts that “had lived, can have proved a good enough man” to reconcile the conflict of the communist system<32>. In fact, he refers to Lenin’s implementation that the “New financial Policy” in 1921 i beg your pardon ultimately limited state control in the economic situation to the ‘commanding heights’ and also allowed cost-free trade to part extent. Also though this policy according come Kennan “alleviated few of the economic distress”, when Stalin suspect Soviet leadership he brutally implemented the detrimental First-Five-Year Plan<33>. In this context, when Lenin’s state capitalism would have developed somewhat that an ideology system convergence v Roosevelt’s brand-new Deal in 1933, Stalin bespeak the large industrialization and the collectivization that agriculture. Remarkably, Maier notices the the variety of deaths resulted in by Stalin’s policies were an ext than double the number of Hitler’s victims throughout the Holocaust<34>. It deserve to be argued, therefore, the Stalin’s domestic policies throughout the 1930’s revolutionized the Soviet Union together “a gargantuan extension of his very own pathologically suspicious personality”<35>.

While the over argument only considers the domestic implications that Stalin’s authoritarianism, it ultimately signifies how the diminishing moral resources of the Soviet Union brought about the asymmetric consolidation that the American and also the Soviet spheres the influence; the former would arise by consent and the latter largely by coercion. According to Gaddis, the case of Poland finest illustrates that Stalin’s totalitarian aspirations demanded a counteractive western response<36>. In fact, as soon as Soviet troops entered Poland in 1940, Stalin personally notified the assassination of about 22,000 polishing officials come ensure the subsequent security of the communist administration<37>. Most importantly, together Kennan notes in his memoirs, Stalin’s ruthlessness quickly erased the sympathy the the Soviet war effort had obtained in the West and also ultimately make it clear that also when the fight because that Nazism to be over, the us would have to challenge an equally dangerous and expansionist absolutism<38>. Despite Roosevelt and Churchill’s concessions in favour the a unifying government in Poland, the Yalta Conference in 1945 manifestly surprise Stalin’s ambitions. Possibly with a dose of pessimistic arrogance, Stalin declared that “they all say ns am a dictator but I have actually enough autonomous feeling not to set up a Polish government without the Poles” only to establish, by 1947, a Soviet-dominated polish satellite government through the violent suppression of anti-communist opposition<39>. In essence, the violent expansion of Stalin’s totalitarianism not just in Poland but additionally in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, considerably delegitimises the revisionist perception that Stalin’s action were largely of a defensive nature. By and also large, orthodox interpretations such as Bailey’s ‘America faces Russia’, take into consideration Stalin’s violation of his Yalta pledge to cost-free elections and the succeeding instalment of Soviet-friendly regimes in eastern Europe together responsible for the Cold War<40>. Similarly, Feis suggests that post-war Soviet aggression had compelled the us to respond v the policy of containment and the Marshall Plan<41>. Ultimately, together communist pundit Djilas suggests, Stalin “who had actually subjected all activities in his own country to his views and his personality…could no behave in different ways outside”<42>. In this context, also though this essay consciously avoids reference to the countless ‘psychiatric’ evaluations that Stalin’s alleged paranoia, one might easily conceptualise how Stalin’s absolute manage over domestic and also international plan meant that the Cold war was inescapable only ~ his accession to strength in 1922.

However, together a strong emphasis on Stalin’s totalitarian aspirations erroneously underestimates the donation of president Truman come the outbreak the the Cold War. Therefore, in stimulate to prevent the causal superficiality the the orthodox interpretation, it is imperative to study the affect that the Truman Doctrine had on improving Stalin’s fear of a looming capitalist encirclement that the Soviet Union. In fact, Offner presents Truman as a narrow-minded nationalist who was unable to damage his enthusiasm anti-communist emotion for the sake of very early détente with the Soviets<43>. Instead, he complied with a policy of military containment v the development of NATO in 1949 and the financial restoration of western Europe v the Marshall Plan. Offner more notes just how Truman’s inflated ideas of American hegemony coupled with his inadequate knowledge of an international affairs contributed to the origins of the Cold War. Because that instance, during the Potsdam Conference, Truman “heavily analogised diplomacy through his poker playing”<44>. Indeed, in a personal letter to his mam Truman boasted that “he doesn’t recognize it but I have an ace in the hole” considering the atom bomb together a tool to attain concessions from Stalin<45>. Further indicating his ignorance in nationwide security issues, Truman to be informed about the Manhattan project just 12 days after Roosevelt’s death in April 1945<46>. Moreover, if Stalin showed little interest in sustaining the local Communist Party throughout the Greek civil War, Truman directed substantial amounts of military and economic help to aid re-establish for free democracy in Greece<47>. This incident, personally from marking the very first American post-war treatment in the internal affairs of another country, clearly rejects the aforementioned revolutionary persona attached to Stalin. In fact, Stalin’s decision come avoid intervention in the Greek Civil war demonstrates his commitment to the so-called ‘Percentages Agreement’, according to i m sorry 90% that Greece to be to stay under west influence<48>. Also though this argument is significantly weakened through the fact that Stalin walk not store his promise in the instances of Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary (which were eventually transformed into one-party states), Truman’s impulsive aggressiveness in greek is clear. Also, Alperovitz considers Truman’s decision in respectable 1945 to usage atomic weapons against an already defeated Japan, as an effort to intimidate the Soviets thereby improving Stalin’s insecurity<49>. Finally, it have the right to be argued that had actually Henry Wallace remained Vice President because that the 1944 American election, and also then ended up being President after ~ Roosevelt’s fatality in 1945, the Cold War could not have happened. Evidently, Wallace strong criticised Truman’s containment policies. When Churchill, in his famed ‘Iron Curtain’ speech, dubbed for a “fraternal combination of the English-speaking peoples” versus the Soviet Union, Wallace caustically responded that “we can get teamwork once Russia understands that our primary objective is neither conserving the British empire nor to buy oil in the near eastern with the resides of American soldiers”<50>. Essentially, the isolationist nature the Wallace’s statements implies that the outbreak that the Cold battle was avoidable come a big extend as it was directly influenced by a basic Democratic Party Vice-Presidential nomination.

Overall, this essay puts front three main arguments. Every verify that the crucial involvement of people in the historical occasions which brought about the Cold battle was avoidable come a great extent. Firstly, had it not been for a coincidental clash the Wilson’s and also Lenin’s universalist aspirations, the succeeding antagonism between the US and the Soviet Union can have been avoided. Secondly, Stalin’s brutal regulate over Soviet domestic and also foreign policies can not have taken ar in instance of a different outcome in the power battle after Lenin’s death in 1924. Thirdly, had Henry Wallace continued to be the Vice president to success FDR instead of Truman, the Cold War could have to be prevented. While it is no clear that various individuals can have decisively changed the food of events, what is clean is the Lenin’s and Wilson’s universalism, Stalin’s totalitarianism and Truman’s nationalism, had actually forged a details chain that causation the led to much more than four decades of fear, mistrust and nuclear precariousness.

Endnotes

<1> Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, john Hoffmeister, H. B. Nisbet, and Duncan Forbes. Lectures top top the approach of human being History: Introduction, reason in background (Cambridge: Cambridge university Press, 1975), 52.

<2> Popper, knife R. The poor of Historicism. (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), 107.

<3> Engerman, David C. “Ideology and the origins of the Cold War, 1917–1962”. The Cambridge background of the Cold War. Edited by Melvyn P. Leffler and Odd Arne. Westad (Cambridge: Cambridge university Press, 2011), 43.

<4> Ibid., 23.

<5> Ibid.

<6> Ibid., 21.

<7> Ibid.

<8> Wilson, Woodrow. Constitutional federal government in the unified States. (New York: Columbia university Press, 1961), 28.

<9> Williams, william Appleman. The Tragedy the American Diplomacy. (New York: Dell Pub., 1962), 52 and LaFeber, Walter. America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945-1971. (New York: McGraw-Hill greater Education, 1987) 3-4.

<10> Gaddis, man Lewis. We currently Know: rethinking Cold battle History. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), 5.

<11> Hanhimäki, Jussi M., and Odd Arne. Westad. The Cold War: A background in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts. (Oxford: Oxford college Press, 2003), 3.

<12> Gaddis, We now Know, 6.

<13> Gleick, James. Chaos: make a brand-new Science. (New York, NY, U.S.A.: Viking, 1987).

<14> Gaddis, We now Know, 6.

<15> “Zimmermann Telegram.” US nationwide Archives. Accessed April 04, 2016. Www.ourdocuments.gov

<16> Andrew, Christopher M. For the President’s eyes Only: secret Intelligence and also the American Presidency native Washington to Bush. (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995), 44.

<17> Footman, David. The Russian Revolutions. (London: Faber and also Faber, 1962).

<18> “Wilson’s War article to Congress.” – World war I file Archive. Accessed April 04, 2016. Http://wwi.lib.byu.edu.

<19> Waltz, Kenneth N. Theory of international Politics. (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Pub., 1979).

<20> Kramer, Mark. “Ideology and the Cold War.” Review of international Studies Rev. Int. Stud. 25, no. 4 (1999): 574.

<21> Woods, Randall Bennett. A changing of the Guard: Anglo-American Relations, 1941-1946. (Chapel Hill: university of phibìc Carolina Press, 1990), 53.

<22> Calhoun, Craig “Cold War”. Dictionary of the social Sciences. (New York, NY: Oxford college Press, 2002), 74–6, Williams, wilhelm Appleman. The Tragedy that American Diplomacy. (New York: Dell Pub., 1962), 15, and also Kolko, Joyce, and Gabriel Kolko. The limits of Power: The World and also United States foreign Policy, 1945-1954. (New York: Harper & Row, 1972) p. 71.

<23> Gaddis, We now Know, 19.

<24> Morgenthau, Hans J. Politics among Nations; the battle for Power and also Peace. (New York: Knopf, 1967), 455 and also Carr, Edward Hallett. The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919-1939: An advent to the study of worldwide Relations. (London: Macmillan, 1946), 62-81.

<25> Kramer, Ideology and also the Cold War, 539.

<26> Ibid.,541-44 and also Gaddis, We currently Know, 9-26.

<27> Kramer, Ideology and also the Cold War, 574-75.

<28> Ibid.

<29> Gaddis, We now Know, 290.

<30> Westad, strange Arne. “Secrets of the second World: The Russian Archives and the Reinterpretation of Cold war History.” Diplomatic history 21, no. 2 (1997): 259-71.

<31> Zubok, V. M., Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War: from Stalin come Khrushchev. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard college Press, 1996), 591.

<32> Kennan, George, “The sources of Soviet Conduct.” foreign Affairs 65, no. 4 (1987): 854.

<33> Ibid. And also Fitzpatrick, Sheila, Alexander Rabinowitch, and also Richard Stites. Russia in the Era of NEP: Explorations in Soviet society and Culture. (Bloomington: Indiana college Press, 1991), 29, 221.

<34> Maier, Charles S. The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust, and also German national Identity. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard university Press, 1988), 74.

<35> Gaddis, We now Know,9.

<36> Ibid.,17-19.

<37> “Decision to Commence Investigation right into Katyn Massacre.” The academy of national Remembrance. Accessed April 04, 2016. Http://ipn.gov.pl/en/news/2006/decision-to-commence-investigation-into-katyn-massacre.

<38> Kennan, George F. Memoirs, 1925-1963. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1967), 202-215.

<39> Hanhimäki and also Westad, The Cold War, 44 and also Berthon, Simon, and also Joanna Potts. Warlords: An extraordinary Re-creation of human being War II through the Eyes and Minds the Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, and also Stalin. (New York: Da Capo, 2007), 296–97.

<40> Bailey, thomas Andrew. America faces Russia: Russian-American relations from beforehand times come Our Day. (Ithaca: Cornell college Press, 1950), 798–9.

<41> Feis, Herbert. From trust to Terror; the start of the Cold War, 1945-1950. (New York: Norton, 1970), 243-48.

<42> Djilas, Milovan, and also Michael Boro. Petrovich. Conversations with Stalin. (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969), 102-3.

<43> Offner, Arnold A. Another such Victory: president Truman and the Cold War, 1945-1953. (Stanford, CA: Stanford college Press, 2002) 5, 470.

<44> Ibid., 58.

<45> “Letter indigenous Harry S. Truman come Bess W. Truman.” Truman Library – Truman Papers: Family, Business, and personal Affairs. Accessed April 04, 2016. Https://www.trumanlibrary.org

<46> Offner, Another together Victory, 36.

<47> Baerentzen, Lars, john O. Iatrides, and also Ole L. Smith. Researches in the background of the Greek civil War: 1945-1949. (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1987), 258.

<48> Hanhimäki and Westad, The Cold War, 39-40.

<49> Alperovitz, Gar. Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam; the usage of the atomic Bomb and the American Confrontation with Soviet Power. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965), 285.

<50> Hanhimäki and also Westad, The Cold War, 47 and also Baker Robert L. “Henry Wallace would certainly Never have actually Dropped the Bomb on Japan” Executive knowledge Review, issue of November 7 (2003): 43.

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See more: Watch The Death Of Superman Online Free Online, The Death Of Superman (2018)

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“Zimmermann Telegram.” US nationwide Archives. Accessed April 04, 2016. Www.ourdocuments.gov

Written by: Constantinos OnesilouWritten at: King’s college LondonWritten for: Dr. Walter LadwigDate written: April 2016