Week 2: The Beginning of the Cold War
As Asian and African nations struggled for independence, the Cold War began to heat up. The two nations that once fought as allies against a common enemy in World War II were in disagreement on many fronts. The conflicts between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) were not merely political in nature. These superpowers’ differences spanned across cultural, economic, and ideological fronts as well.
While their leaders attempted to diffuse the tension between the nations, their actions were deliberate and calculated. Much like players in an intense chess game, these two opponents gauged each other’s level of aggression as they slowly and carefully calculated their next move. Similar to the actual game of chess where the king and queen have pawns to assist them in waging their battles, so did these two superpowers. They littered their “chessboard” with other nations drawn into the heated struggle for dominance, with the ultimate “checkmate” being the threat of a nuclear war by the Soviet Union. Even though the Soviets did eventually back down, this game was far from over.
This week you will uncover the reasons behind the Cold War. You will also discover how it impacted the lives of so many people around the world and why it dominated international relations for almost half a century. Within your discovery, you will also begin to see how the Cold War era still affects how the world continues to be shaped today.
By the end of this week, you should be able to:
- Provide evidence of globalization and internationalism developed during the postwar period
- Analyze the underlying factors that led to the Cold War
- Identify policies, actions, and the results of such items that led to the beginning of the Cold War
Read Chapters 12, 13 and 15.
Assignment: Factors Leading to the Cold War
Both Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin were world renowned for their influence during the early Cold War era and their hand in the rivalry between the English-speaking world and the Soviet Union. Both men were well educated and well spoken. They were also influential and compelling, powerful, political world leaders.
When creating or implementing foreign policy, Churchill and Stalin were never quick to act. Whether speaking publicly, positioning military or creating new policy, they acted in a calculated fashion and were always careful to consider the other’s position and agenda. Their calculated movements ensured that they would have the greatest impact on any issue they addressed. The rivalry between the two leaders and their actions did not only greatly affect their nations, but multiple foreign nations as well.
Within this assignment, you will describe dynamics that lead to the Cold War. In doing so, you will discuss how the rivalry between Churchill and Stalin became one of the factors that led to the Cold War.
To prepare for this assignment:
- Review the Lukacs reading and the Truman Doctrine speech in this week’s Learning Resources.
- Review Churchill’s “The Sinews of Peace” speech and Stalin’s speech in this week’s Learning Resources.
- Compare and contrast Churchill’s and Stalin’s speeches.
- Reflect upon the differences and similarities between Churchill and Stalin’s leadership styles.
- Evaluate the rivalry between Churchill and Stalin.
- Think about what underlying factors could have led to the Cold War.
- Consider the following questions:
- What was the role of the United Nations in the context of maintaining international peace?
- Was Stalin correct in his assertion that Great Britain (and the United States) was motivated by their belief in the superiority of the English-speaking nations?
- Do you support Stalin’s argument in favor of a buffer zone between the Soviet Union and Central Europe as legitimate?
- Do you agree with Churchill’s argument that the Soviet Union desires the “indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines” cannot be substantiated by Soviet actions before March 1946?
- How do Churchill and Stalin invoke the memory of Hitler’s unchecked expansion in the 1930s, and how do both make incorrect comparisons?
- What was Truman’s assessment of the world situation as expressed in his “Truman Doctrine” speech?
- Compose a 2- to 3-page essay in which you do the following:
- Analyze the underlying factors that led to the Cold War.
- Identify the nature of the rivalry between the two blocs and explain the potential strengths and weaknesses of the English-speaking world (as Churchill explained it) versus the Soviet world in 1946.
- Support your assertions by making at least 2 references, in proper APA format, to your course readings.
- Analyze the underlying factors that led to the Cold War.
Questions about this assignment? Post them in the Contact the Instructor area. That way, everyone in the class will see, and benefit from, the Instructor’s response.
By Day 7
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Week 2 Assignment