Heightened Tensions Between the Soviet Union and the West

Completion of the following assignment will demonstrate your mastery of the events between 1945 and 1949 that heightened tensions between the Soviet Union and the West, as well as how the impact of those events impacted Western society, culture, and politics thereafter. The Soviet Union’s Word-War-II alliance with the West was not built upon shared ideologies or political objectives. Instead, the alliance was built upon necessity and a common enemy. Consequently, by the end of the war, relations between the Soviet Union and Great Britain and the United States had increasingly grown tense, especially after the United States developed and used the atomic bomb. Survey the documents and links below (sample from the sources – you do not need to read all portions of each source or even a sample from every source, per se). Answer the prompts in part “b” using your readings from the text, the provided link, and the documents below. Questions: What was the basis for the mutual suspicion between the United States and its Allies and the Soviet Union? Were both sides justified in their suspicions of each other? Why or why not? Why did the United States see the Soviet Union as a threat to the free world? Why did the United States decide to pursue a policy of “containment” in regard to the Soviet Union? Did the United States over-react to the Soviet threat? Documents & Readings: Harry Truman notes from the Potsdam Conference, July 17, 1945. “Lecture 14: The Origins of the Cold War.” In The History Guide: Lectures on Twentieth Century Europe. Ideological Foundations of the Cold War. Keenan, George. ” The Sources of Soviet Conduct.    The Sources of Soviet Conduct. – Alternative Formats  ” Foreign Affairs 25 (July 1947): 566-82. NSC-68. Winston Churchill – “The Sinews of Peace” (aka “The Iron Curtain Speech”) – Audio – Text. Assignment Requirements: You may answer each question in brief paragraph form, so long as your answer addresses all portions of the question. Your responses must include reference to at least three of the resources linked above. Formal citations, however, are not required.

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