“Our work for peace must begin within the private world of each one of us. To build a world without fear, we must be without fear. To build a world of justice, we must be just.”– Dag Hammarskjöld.
During this time period, several political conflicts occurred primarily due to disagreements between the USSR and its communist allies (generally known as the eastern bloc.) and the USA with its democratic allies (Often referred to as the western bloc).
During this period of time, numerous major crises occurred – The Berlin blockade, Martial aid, and the Truman doctrine, just to name some. Although there was no physical conflict between superpowers, tensions were said to be hardly less to that of the First World War. Tension was so high in fact that it seemed as if any move made by one of the concerning countries would have a possibility of starting another war. For many big powers, growth in much more powerful weapons was a very big problem.
Although the Cold War had only began in 1945, relationships between the US and USSR had been becoming worse and worse since 1917, when Russia demonstrated a communist dictatorship. Along with this, later on, during the 1930’s, Russia declared their opinion on world revolution and the abolishment of capitalism. This was a big problem for the USA, because Capitalism is their economic system. On the 12th of April, 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt died. Roosevelt’s successor, Harry S. Truman was much less forgiving.
He was very suspicious of the leader of the USSR, Stalin. This was because Truman was considered as anti-communist. On July 16, 1945, An atomic bomb was successfully detected by the Americans at a desert site in the USA. This topic was brought up at the start of the Potsdam conference by Truman to Stalin. The atomic bomb was a huge threat to peace, as in effect, if put forth would destroy hundreds of homes, and kill thousands of people. This factor made Truman far more suspicious of the USSR.
By 1947 the Marshall Aid and the Truman Doctrine was announced. The Truman Doctrine was set forth by Harry S. Truman, saying that the US would support Turkey and Greece with most economic and military aid in order to help prevent them falling into the soviet sphere of influence. In March 1947, President Truman declared that the US would help resist Turkey and Greece from communist infiltration. Congress decided to allow Truman to get 400 million dollars’ worth of aid for Greece and Turkey. With this, Greece and Turkey could be protected against communism. This new policy became the Truman Doctrine. This same policy developed into a new policy called the containment policy.
This policy was aimed at containing the development of communism throughout the world. In June 1947, George Marshall, the American General went to Europe. He stated that “Every country in Europe was so poor that it was in danger of turning Communist! Europe was a breeding ground of hate”. Marshall suggested that America should give 17 billion dollars’ worth of aid to Europe, in order to help them maintain a steady economy, and stop the spread of communism. In July 1947, Britain and France had the countries of Western Europe meet in Paris, in order to discuss some form of economic aid.
The Soviet Union hated Marshall Aid; this caused an upset to the peace of the situation, as Stalin the created Comecon, possibly just to compete with Marshall’s idea. Comecon was a union of all of the communist countries in Eastern Europe. Stalin did this in order to control the Iron Curtain economies for Russia’s benefit. The Iron Curtain was Stalin’s domination of the parts of Eastern Europe that he was aiming to dominate. Churchill described the area in which Stalin had control over as an Iron Curtain. “From Stettin on the Baltic to Trieste on the Adriatic, an iron curtain descended. Behind that line lie all the states of central and Eastern Europe.”
In conclusion, By 1949, there were many different factors aimed towards disrupting the peace. These factors were mainly focused around the political choice between Communism and Capitalism. Another factor which drastically tampered with peace was the aim towards being the more powerful superpower.