It is very difficult to pin down the exact year in which the Cold War started. You will notice that the link below says only that the Cold War began “after World War II.” The most common date given for the beginning of the Cold War is 1947, but it...
It is very difficult to pin down the exact year in which the Cold War started. You will notice that the link below says only that the Cold War began “after World War II.” The most common date given for the beginning of the Cold War is 1947, but it is easy to argue that the Cold War started even before that. Since it is hard to identify an exact date, different texts may give different answers. You should check your own text and/or your class notes to see what answer your instructor prefers.
1947 is commonly used as the start date for the Cold War because that is the year in which the Truman Doctrine was announced. In March of that year, President Harry Truman announced that the US would give aid to non-communist forces in both Greece and Turkey. This would be part of a more general strategy of containing communism. The Truman Doctrine said that the US would give aid to any country whose stability was being threatened by communism. In putting forth this theory, the US explicitly committed itself to opposing communism. This is why this year is typically given as the start date for the Cold War.
However, we should be aware that tensions had been building since before the end of WWII. For example, when the allies sat down at the Potsdam Conference, it became clear that they had very different views of how Europe should be run after the war. The allies clearly did not trust one another. This helped lead to a situation where the Soviet Union (for example) wanted a part in running post-war Japan but the US refused to give it one. After the war, but before 1947, tensions continued to rise. In March of 1946, Winston Churchill gave his famous “Iron Curtain” speech, urging the US to take a stronger line against communism. In February of that year, US diplomat George Kennan sent his “Long Telegram” urging much the same thing. Clearly, important people in the US and USSR had already been considering one another as adversaries even before 1947.
Thus, while a commonly-given date for the start of the Cold War is 1947, people often simply say that it began after WWII.