Compare and contrast the "worlds" of the postwar order after World War II. What was each world attempting to achieve? How successful was each one in achieving these goals?

The worlds of the postwar order wanted to limit Germany’s power and support countries across Europe to have free, democratic elections. However, the Soviet Union was also keen to extend its power through the creation of a buffer zone, an act that led to the Cold War.

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To answer this question, it is worth looking at the results of the conferences at Yalta and Potsdam in 1945. What you’ll immediately notice is that only the first and second worlds were really represented at these conferences: they were dominated by the needs and desires of the UK, US, and the Soviet Union. The third world, which consisted of neutral or non-aligned countries, did not really get a say in what the postwar world might look like.

From Yalta and Potsdam, it was clear that the first world, which consisted of the US, UK, and their allies, wanted control over Germany and to ensure that Germany paid reparations for the damage caused. The creation of the Oder-Neisse Line also gave Poland back some of the lands that had been taken from her. In addition, they wanted guarantees of free elections for countries affected by war. Clearly, there were some concerns that Communism would spread across Europe, preventing the hopes of democracy.

Despite promising to uphold the free elections, the Soviet Union, or second world, clearly had its sights on expanding Communist influence through the creation of a buffer zone in Europe. It did not take long for Communist governments to come to power in countries like Poland and Hungary.

What you can see from these conferences is that a rivalry was quickly developing. As the US and UK determined what postwar Europe might look like, they also looked to curb the influence of the Soviet Union. Although Stalin seemed to be on board with their ideas, he acted quite differently behind the scenes. Thus, the end of the Second World War had planted the seeds of the Cold War.

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