Rated: E · Essay · Educational · #2286581
Essay about the End of WWII & origin of Cold War
***Disclaimer: I am not a historian. This essay reflects on what I had learned about the Yalta Conference.***
Sources: Class lecture, the textbook Traditions & Encounters: A Brief Global History by Jerry Bentley, and JSTOR article “Adherence to Agreements: Yalta and the Experiences of the Early Cold War” by Melvyn P. Leffler
World War II had ended but new tensions had risen. The Yalta Conference took place after World War II and was the leading factor to the Cold War. During this time, the United States, Britain, Japan, and the Soviet Union were heavily involved. The factors during the Yalta Conference were the division of Germany, Eastern Europe, the United Nations, and the Soviets’ intervention in the war against Japan. This essay will discuss the Yalta Conference at the end of World War II, how it contributed to the Cold War, and why it favored the Soviet Union over the Western Allies.
After World War II, the Allies wanted to divide up Germany to be denazified. According to Dr. Andersen’s lecture, Germany was divided into four military zones during the Yalta Conference. This allowed the United States, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union to obtain regions of Germany. According to Traditions & Encounters: A Brief History, Eastern Germany was taken by the Soviets while Western Germany was taken by the United States, Britain, and France. Germany’s capital, Berlin, was also divided, but it was mostly in the Soviet Union’s control. According to Traditions & Encounters: A Brief History, Churchill and Roosevelt couldn’t do much to stop Stalin’s communism from spreading in eastern Germany. By the time the Soviets were about forty miles away from Berlin, they had already controlled too much of the territory. According to Dr. Andersen’s lecture, Germany was supposed to be united after the division. Instead, this gave the Soviets an advantage to use their powers to advanced to Central Europe. This will lead to problems in Eastern Europe.
Communism were spreading rapidly in Eastern Europe. The Soviets were in control of the eastern portion of Europe. To prevent another country like Germany from invading Moscow twice, the Soviet Union crushed the noncommunist countries like Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria according to Traditions & Encounters: A Brief History. According to Dr. Andersen’s lecture, the United States and Britain wanted those countries in Eastern Europe to have western-style democracies. The western-style democracies for the United States and Britain were that the people rule and have a say in the government. Because the Soviet Union’s, the United States’, and Britain’s views of democracies were different, all three sides grew suspicious of each other.
Even though there was tension, the Soviet Union, the United States, and Britain had one common enemy, Germany. As the winners of World War II, the United Nations was created as an international collective security according to Dr. Andersen’s lecture. According to Traditions & Encounters: A Brief History, the United Nations was a collection of international countries to maintain world peace. The United Nations was similar to the League of Nations, but it was composed of five security councils: China, United States, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union according to Dr. Andersen’s lecture. Each member had a veto power. Even though the United Nations was formed, the problems during the Yalta Conference weren’t solved yet.
The Soviets agreed to go to war against Japan with the United States within three months of Germany being defeated. According to Dr. Andersen’s lecture, the United States war planner had predicted that going to war against Japan would result in catastrophic casualties. With the help of the Soviet Union, this would lessen the Allies' casualties. Since the Soviet Union agreed to assist in the war against Japan, they wanted to annex the Japanese island Kuriles and southern Sakhalin in return according to a International Security. Roosevelt agreed to it until he passed away. Harry Truman took office as President of the United States. At this time, the United States was working on atomic bombs. According to the International Security, the atomic bombs were a success, and Truman didn’t need the Soviet Union anymore. Instead, he didn’t want the Soviets to gain from the Yalta Conference. Truman had wanted the Soviets’ intervention with war against Japan to stall for as long as possible until the atomic bombs had ended the Far Eastern war according to International Security. This was yet another tension that fed into the Cold War.
The Yalta Conference set up the Cold War by causing both the United States and the Soviet Union to suspect each other. The division of Germany, communism in Eastern Europe, and the Soviets’ intervention against Japan leveraged both sides to create tension. During the division of Germany, the United States wanted Germany and Eastern Europe to have democracies. Instead, the Soviet Union spread communism and their version of “free election” according to International Security. This was not what the Soviet Union had promised in terms of the Western Allies. Another factor that set up the Cold War was the Soviets’ intervention in the war against Japan with the United States. The Soviets had agreed to go to war against Japan when Roosevelt was alive in order to gain the Japanese islands. When he passed away, Truman succeeded him and was tougher on the Soviets according to Dr. Andersen’s lecture. Even though the United States’ different view clashed with the Soviet Union’s view, the Yalta Conference favored the Soviets. This was due to the casualties and the invasion of Germany twice in the Soviet Union according to Dr. Andersen’s lecture. The Yalta Conference gave the Soviets more land of Eastern Germany and Eastern Europe. With the Yalta Conference, the Cold War slowly rose.
Even after World War II, there were new tensions that arose during the Yalta Conference. The Yalta Conference discussed the division of Germany, Eastern Europe, the United Nations, and the Soviets’ intervention against Japan. The division of Germany was meant to denazified and reconstruct Germany. Communism in Eastern Europe was spreading rapidly by the Soviets. The Soviet Union joined the newly formed United Nations. Finally, the Soviets wanted to go to war against Japan with the United States to gain Japanese islands. In the end, the Yalta Conference led to the Cold War with the increased tension on both sides and favored the Soviet Union over the Western Allies.