events 1945 and 1948 plunged America and Britain into a ‘Cold War’ with
Tension was growing even at the Yalta Conference (Feb
1945). On the surface, the
conference seemed successful. But
afterwards, Churchill wrote to Roosevelt that ‘The Soviet Union has become a
danger to the free world.’
At the Potsdam Conference (July 1945), the arguments
came out into the open. In
March 1945, Stalin had arrested the non-Communist Polish leaders.
Also America’s new president, Truman, was determined to ‘get tough’
with the Russians. So, the
Allies openly disagreed about how to divide Germany, the size of reparations and
Soviet policy in eastern Europe.
During 1946–47, Stalin made sure that Communist
governments came to power in all the countries of eastern Europe. By ‘salami tactics’, Russia gained control of
Albania, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Romania and East Germany.
this, on 5 March 1946, Winston Churchill gave his Fulton speech, at which he
said that the countries of eastern Europe – cut off by ‘an iron curtain’
– were ‘subject to Soviet influence . . . totalitarian control [and] police
reply was that Churchill had declared war on them; it was certainly open
acknowledgement of a rift.
events, however, brought America into the conflict.
The Greek government was fighting the Communists,
supported by British soldiers. When,
in February 1947, the British said they could no longer afford to keep soldiers
in Greece, President Truman stepped in.
He paid for the British soldiers in Greece.
Then, in March 1947, Truman took this further. He said it was America’s DUTY to ‘contain’
Communism (the ‘Truman Doctrine’).
Truman had officially declared ‘cold war’ on Russia.
Next, the Americans announced how they intended to wage
‘cold war’. In June
1947, the American general George Marshall went to Europe. He said every
country in Europe was so poor that it was in danger of turning Communist!
He said that America should give $17 billion of aid to get Europe’s
He forbade Communist countries to ask for money.
Instead, in October 1947, he set up Cominform. Every
Communist party in Europe joined. It allowed Stalin control of the Communists in
At first, the American Congress did not want to give
the money for Marshall Aid. But
then, in March 1948, the Communists took power in Czechoslovakia.
Congress was scared, and voted for Marshall Aid on 31 March 1948. Russia and America were at ‘cold war’.