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The Spread of Cold War

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Personal determination to achieve world dominance was one of the leading factors that led Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, to start Cold War with Soviet Union. In this paper I will show that Cold War was not an outcome of historical events, but was part of a very scrupulous plan This plan was once designed by Soviet leader. The paper seeks to not only to show some important historical events but to find motivation that supports these events.


Let me foreshadow how the role of Moscow was changing through the time. The arguments seem to play themselves out within the primary foreign policy relationships of Moscow over the last half-century. When to trace these relations we can clearly see that Stalin was determined to keep the conflict and was not going lose the game. The war in the continent helped to periodicize Soviet identity into several segments:

  • 1945-47, Soviet Union as part of a great power condominium
  • 1947-53, Soviet Union within capitalist encirclement
  • 1953-6, Soviet Union as natural ally (Identities, Institutions, and Interests. Moscow’s Foreign Policy from 1945-2000. Ted Hopf. September 2003)

It is interesting to trace how these different identities of Soviet Union are connected to Soviet and Russian interactions with other states, and to the image of Stalin who eventually shaped the nature of these interactions. The story dates back to the August 1945. After a short while Stalin made a radical decision to announce the Marshall Plan. The event took place in August 1947. While taking this step Stalin entertained the idea that USSR will get the world dominance. The potential partners of the state were such countries as the United States, Britain, and France. These countries were marked as potential partners in the management of global affairs. During this time Soviet people had to live through the period of rapidly diminishing ambiguity. A remarkable thing about this period was the fact that the social identity terrain was rapidly moving from one point to the other. A remarkable feature of those times was a very vivid move towards “a fixed binarization” of society. (Abebe, 2004, p.7)  During this process tow camps Russian and American identified themselves as a friend and a foe. The process was led by Stalin.

A ruthless dictator, Stalin was the first Cold War Soviet Premier.  Stalin was also known to play a dominant role in the process of initiating the Cold War with the US. His intention to dominate the world was evident after the Yalta Conference was conducted on the territory of the state. During this conference Stalin promoted a sense of distrust and competition between East and West. Stalin’s aggressive attempts “to spread the Soviet Empire elevated tensions between East and West.” (Evgenii P. Bajanov,  Bajanova N., 1995, p.56)  These tensions escalated into the Cold War.  In the last years of Stalin’s life, the prospects of Cold War were never larger than during 1950s. These tensions existed in connection with Soviet support for North Korea’s attempt. A primary objective of this state was to gain control over South Korea by military means.  Situation was radically changed during the spring of that year. During this time Stalin and his foreign policy team leaders decided to start operations in Korea. Korean war was described as a “Soviet-backed assault on America’s client state in Korea.” (Jian, C., 2000, p.4)  The step was taken with one single objective – to prompt the United States to intervene. This intervention will inevitably will expand into the conflict known as a global war.

In the end, Stalin’s fears materialized pushing the United States into enter into the conflict.  The United States did enter the conflict. The same thing was done by other fifteen states fighting under the United Nations banner. The danger of war was very big, but, to the Soviet leader’s surprise, the danger of war quickly receded after President Truman who decided not to take a further action. In fact, it was Truman who took pains to limit the fighting in Korea.

Stalin’s attempts to start the Cold War are evident when to trace the history of war development.  In early October 1950, when the tide of the war turned against North Korea UN forces made a radical decision to advance across the 38th parallel in pursuit of the rapidly disintegrating Korean People’s Army. As for Stalin, he had to weigh the risk of a global war. At the same time he was trying to fight against the damaging repercussions that would surely follow a North Korean defeat. Chinese troops intervention helped Soviet Union. Adversary restraint helped Stalin to combat a long list of negative events. (Malcolm, N., 1995, p.77)

Chinese intervention prompted the United States to declare war on the People’s Republic. In the end, Truman administration refrained from treating the Chinese intervention as a casus belli. The event was followed by the stunning success of the Chinese “Volunteers”. This success had a place against the technologically superior American forces, and helped to eliminate the immediate danger that might be posed by US troops.  

For the last two years of his life, Stalin was happy with the chosen strategy and kept the safely contained war going. In addition to that, Stalin also explored the new opportunities left by his adversaries. Stalin’s decision-making was comprised of several pivotal movements. The first pivotal movement was region deliberations in early 1950. This deliberation lasted for a relatively short period of time. This deliberation was accompanied by the communications with Beijing in October 1950. The war was particularly important for understanding the Soviet leader’s approach to the dangers posed by the Cold War tensions. It the final outcomes it was clear that all these things may question the Soviet Union capability to win the war. The above mentioned fact was proved with the help of the large collection of Korean War documents.

Because Stalin assumed that Japan night rearm and thus might become a threat for Soviet Union, Stalin decided to use Korea as a possible chance to strengthen his position in the continent. This step was regard as a direct step towards a further reformation of the former Japanese colony. This colony was an important issue for preserving security of Soviet Union. From 1945 onward, the process was aimed at monitoring US policies in the southern half of the country. In this way Soviet Union checked whether or not the Americans were attempting to reestablish a Japanese presence in the area.

These preoccupations were similar to those which had a place in Europe. All these things were focused on the danger of renewed German militarism. The case with Korea clearly showed that Stalin had a clear determination to proceed with his war plans and did everything to get the world hegemony.  (Report on Kim Il Sung’s visit to the USSR)

As a liberated country, for long time Korea has been a subject for demilitarization. This measure was taken under the leadership of several enemy states. These states also made an attempt to polarize the sharp political divide within the country.  A situation has radically changed by 1950. By this time several governments were established on the peninsula. The establishment had a place in the wake of the failure of the occupying powers to agree on the composition of a unified government. The possibility of ending the division of the country can be reached by subduing the other half of the state.

Given the security concerns of the former occupiers, patrons of respective client states, decided to participate in the intra-Korean struggle. This measure was taken with the perspective to drag the Soviet Union and the United States into direct conflict. However, there was not direct conflict. Instead, we have a long period of cold war. This danger was foremost in Stalin’s mind was his plans to expand the area of Soviet influence.

Still the Soviet Union was not that strong and powerful to engage itself into a direct confrontation with the US. Instead, Soviet leader made choice for the other strategy - despite the new American strategic policy; Stalin decided to keep aside from any kind of military actions. Still, Stalin remained to be worried about the situation on the Korean peninsula. For a long time he had the idea the idea that the given case might prompt the US to intervene into the territory.

The year 1947 marked the year of Stalin’s death. The process was associated with a deep binarization of identity. This binarization prevailed within the territory of Soviet Union. The official predominant discourse about the essence of Soviet Union clearly indicates that the state has become an aggressive leader in local politics. The accompanying foreign policy of the state was one of the factors that promoted a further Stalinization of Eastern Europe. A particular attention should be paid to the excommunication of the deviant Tito. (Report on Kim Il Sung’s visit to the USSR)

The other clear proof the fact that Stalin was determined to continue war was his close alliance with the victorious communist party of China. The conflation of Europe and the United States was reasoned by nationalist movements. These movements started in the decolonizing world and were supported by imperialists. The orthodox self-image, for example implied self-denial abroad. The process was initiated by bourgeois European allies as well as nationalist anti-imperialist allies. Independent communists like Tito also participated in the process. (Cumings Bruce, 1990, p. 5)

Stalin’s death was accompanied by the process of a proliferation of allies abroad. This process followed Stalin’s death, and signified the beginning of the debate regarding how far a Soviet citizen could deviate from the ideal of the NSM. The process was approved by the 20th party congress in February 1956.

From the picture drawn above we can clearly seen that Stalin’s approach to politics was marked by the “dictator’s cautious opportunism.” (Kathryn W., 1995, p.7)  The situation in Korea clearly indicates that Stalin was very deliberate while planning his operations in the area. During his stay in Korea he did not allow he clearly showed that he was not willing to start a direct military confrontation with the United States.  On the contrary he took steps to prevent such an escalation of the conflict. Stalin’s connection to Mao Zedong indicated that there is no reason to be afraid of a possible chance of war with the US.  (Weathersby K., 1996, p.23) However, to some extend, the Soviet leader seems not to understand that USSA actions in the country fail to fill in the gab that is present between Washington and Seoul. Stalin also failed to foresee that a World War II-style invasion of South Korea would an idea that the Soviet Union would inevitably embark on the same kind of piecemeal aggression that would lead the two great powers to open confrontation.

This failure led to the intervention. Stalin attempted to avoid this intervention. All Stalin’s attempts were aimed at strengthening ties between the United States and its allies. What is the most important is Stalin’s assessment of the danger that the United States might intervene in Korea, or that it might expand the war beyond the peninsula once Soviet Union intervene on other people’s territory.


Stalinist understanding of the Soviet role of world inevitably led him to the point when he decided to start the Cold War with the United States. Soviet leader’s actions in Korea clearly showed the US that Soviet Union was not going to give up his position in the world.  However, Stalin’s caution was accompanied by his attempts to balance situation in the continent. Failure to grasp the relationship between Washington and Seoul, were followed by a list of events which clearly showed that the Soviet Union was embarking on the same kind of piecemeal aggression. In the final outcome, this aggression has led the state to global cataclysm and to the beginning of the Cold War.

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