Assess the role of Truman and Stalin in the origins and development of the Cold War.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly, ideology played a role in the enhancement of the Cold War.  Yet, I think that the personalities of Truman and Stalin also did much to exacerbate the Cold War.  Stalin's personality was one where he sought to maximize every possible advantage in negotiation.  Truman's was one that lacked foreign policy experience and understood that he was entering a situation where manipulation could present itself.  Each one entered negotiations without the background and depth of relationship that Stalin had with Roosevelt, one that understood that manipulation had its limitations.  In Truman, Stalin found an opportunity to exert his own power.  In Stalin, Truman found someone who, in his mind, had already taken advantage of benevolence and needed to know that "the buck stops here."  In both men, there was a hard line that had to be towed.  It was this demarcation that made the schism in the Cold War more likely.  It s was one in which there was a greater propensity for mistrust and division, as opposed to understanding and reconciliation.