The USSR was more responsible than the USA for the development of the Cold War outside Europe from 1950-85.  How accurate is this statement?

2 Answers

larrygates's profile pic

larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think it is a bit overly simplistic to downplay the actions of the Soviets. United States policy during this time was a policy of containment, that is to stop communism from spreading further. It was the Soviets, not the U.S. who constantly interfered in governments in Europe, and Asia in an attempt to spread the influence of communism. Communism by its very nature called for a "world wide revolution." Following the end of World War II, Joseph Stalin told the Soviet people:

The war against fascism has ended; the war against capitalism has begun.

Any action taken by the United States during this time was in response to actions by the Soviets who were constantly attempting to spread influence first in Germany, then in Korea, and ultimately other parts of Europe. Thus the Soviet Union bears a substantial portion of the blame for the Cold War.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is not a very accurate statement.  Both the USSR and the US bear plenty of responsibility for the development of the Cold War during this time.

On the one hand, the Soviet Union did do a fair amount to increase Cold War tensions during this time.  For example, its actions in Cuba that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis were some of the most important actions of the Cold War.  Its invasion of Afghanistan was a major cause of renewed tensions in the early '80s.  The Soviets also supported insurgencies around the globe.

But the US was deeply involved in developing the worldwide Cold War. The major instance of this was the US involvement in the war in Vietnam.  But the US also got involved in coups in places like Iran and Guatemala.  These sorts of actions did just as much as Soviet actions to develop the tensions that characterized the Cold War.