Following World War 2, there was a period of constant tension known as the Cold War. The cold war arose due to the newfound rivalry between the two emerging superpowers, the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR) and the United States of America (USA). A question that still lingers today is that of who was responsible for the outbreak of the Cold War. A common answer would be the USSR would be responsible, due to their expansionist ambitions.

However, I believe that the USSR’s expansionist ambitions were only responsible to a small extent.The USA tried to be “the world’s policeman” and also misunderstood certain events. Hence, I feel that the USA and its imperialistic nature were far more responsible for the outbreak of the Cold War. One of the ways the USA asserted their imperialistic nature was via the Truman Doctrine. The Truman Doctrine was announced on 12 March 1947. It was developed based on the need to contain the USSR and the spread of communism.

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The Truman doctrine served as a turning point as it signaled the point where the USA strayed away from their isolationistic methods to being more involved in foreign affairs.The Truman Doctrine, in essence, provided a “blank cheque policy” to be used by any country that showed signs of being in danger of a communist threat: The USA basically gave itself, and committed to, military obligations to foreign countries after the war, when there was peace. The Truman Doctrine formed part of the USA’s new foreign policy; the idea of ‘containment’, in response to the threat of perceived Soviet and, communist expansionism, to try and curb them. This move by the USA was viewed with contempt by the USSR, also provoking them by labeling the dispute in terms of ideology.

The USSR also interpreted the Truman Doctrine as a sign of American expansionism, keeping the USSR on their toes. It is evident that the USA’s want to prevent the spread of communism and basically, coming up with a policy to help countries in danger of massive communist influence with militaristic means stirred the USSR up, creating tension between the two superpowers. This tension was part of the overarching tension that led to and persisted throughout the Cold War.Hence, I feel that the USA and its imperialistic nature were far more responsible for the outbreak of the Cold War.

Another assertion of the USA’s imperialistic nature was the Marshall Plan. Announced on 5 June 1947, the aim of the Marshall Plan was to help the economies of the European nations to recover. After the war, the economies of Europe were in dire conditions and via the Marshall Plan, the USA aimed to revive them all through the use of grants and loans.

While there were economic reasons and benefits for the Marshall Plan, there were other motives behind it as well.Thee was a belief that the poverty and unemployment in these European countries would make communism more appealing, whereas economic recovery would lead to a more democratic system, something that was very much in the interest of the USA. The Marshall Plan was open to the Soviet Union as well. However, since aid would not be provided by the USA unless the countries open their economies to the US exports, there was a very slim chance that the Soviet Union would even accept it to begin with. Even still, the USA hoped that some Eastern European countries would be able to resist and accept the aid, weakening the hold of the Soviets.As a result of this, USSR Foreign Minister Molotov came up with a rival initiative for Eastern Europe. The Marshall Plan was a huge success and while it recovered many economies in Europe it also prevented the spread of Communism in Europe. This however, gravely hurt Soviet-Western relations, creating a lot of tension and also resulted in an economic split that divided Europe.

The Marshall Plan, ultimately, was the reason for this split and also was the reason why the Soviet Union came up with a rival plan. This created a lot of tension between the 2 superpowers, which led to and persisted throughout the Cold War.Hence, I feel that the USA and its imperialistic nature were far more responsible for the outbreak of the Cold War. While the USA’s imperialistic nature and imperialistic moves in the post-World War 2 were definitely the main reasons for the outbreak of the Cold War, the USSR’s expansionist ambitions definitely played a part in the outbreak of the Cold War as well. An example of this would be the Berlin Blockade. The USSR, in light of some problems with the USA in regards to the currency being used in Germany, cut off all routes going through Soviet-controlled territory.

Electricity from power stations in the Soviet Sector was cut off to factories and offices in West Berlin. They also refused to listen to Western counter-arguments. The Soviets had one clear aim for the blockade: They wanted the western Allies to either change their policies or get out of Berlin completely. This was a definite sign of the USSR’s expansionist ambitions and definitely soured the relations between the USSR and the USA, leading to a build of tension that would eventually lead to the Cold War. However, the actions of the USSR in this scenario were due to the way the USA asserted its policies; as a response.

Hence, I feel that the USA and its imperialistic nature were far more responsible for the outbreak of the Cold War. It would be wrong to completely put the responsibility of the outbreak of the Cold War at any one party’s feet. However, the USA’s many imperialistic assertions definitely were much more responsible in the outbreak of the war than the USSR’s expansionist ambitions as they heavily soured Western-Soviet relations and led to a huge build up of tension, which ultimately, led to the outbreak of the Cold War.