The Cold War Guilt Question Essay Research

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The Cold War Guilt Question Essay, Research Paper The Cold War Blame Question As early as 1948, blame was being placed for the yet to be concluded Cold War era. In that day, the predominant view was that the fault lay not on the West, despite the unclearness of intentions and the icy tone of the Truman administration?s relations with the USSR, but on the ever-secretive Russia. For over half a century the question of guilt in the Cold War has been debated; whether it was the west, with their lofty ideals and unclear aims, or the east, with their vast post-war expansions and unquestionable tyranny. This paper will point a literary finger at one side and defend that stance. The blame for the Cold War lies principally on the USSR. The simple tendency for American political flaws

to be paraded in public by the media, as opposed to the Soviet secrecy fetish, led to a revisionist view of the Cold War where the blame was almost entirely placed on the West. During the time of McCarthyism, two schools of revisionists, hard and soft, both felt this way, though with different specifics to their cases. Those of the hard revisionist camp believed that the Cold War was little more than a ploy by American industry, in conjunction with the military, to force the opening of eastern markets to the west. Those in the softer camp felt that the Cold War was the responsibility of Harry Truman and his administration for abandoning the cooperative framework established by Roosevelt and for using the atomic bomb as a scare tactic in negotiations with the Soviet Union. Upon

close inspection, it is evident that these revisionist claims are based not on evidence of action or intent but on beliefs of motivation, both on the side of the United States and Russia. These new thinkers felt that Stalin was little more than a traditional Soviet leader attempting to protect Soviet interests. These claims are easily debunked. Historical studies have found little or no evidence in support of these claims. It is unarguable that western society has been opposed to Communism since at least 1917, but the assertion that the Cold War was little more than a ploy to gain access to eastern markets is unfounded, as there is no proof to support such claims and the markets of the poor east would hold little, if any, impact on the western economy. The counter to this

argument is that the motives of the westerners were so ingrained that they were never committed to paper. This attempt at proof without evidence is little more than a poor joke. As for the profession that the blame lies on the Truman administration, and that the atomic bomb was a negotiating tool aimed at Russia, not Japan, all evidence indicates that the decision to use the bomb was based purely on military concerns and no administration, since the founding of the United States, has existed without flaw. However, no flaw in the Truman administration was great enough to warrant the tremendous burden the revisionists believe it deserves. While this new school of thought successfully confirmed the previous belief that that the blame is to be shared, they did not effectively show

that the majority of it belonged to the west. Proponents of the traditional view, that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is primarily to blame for the Cold War, generally cite Joseph Stalin?s policies, both foreign and domestic, as their justification. They say that Stalin?s complaints about losses during World War II, totaling over twenty million, are more than offset by the equal, if not greater, number of Russians killed by his own domestic policies. They will say that Russia?s claiming of border states in the post-war years was reminiscent of Hitler. These traditional thinkers will cite, as did Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., that Truman?s containment policy was, “the brave and essential response of free men to communist aggression.” For all of these reasons, the fault for