Stalin’s approach to the Cold War alternated between the ideological and the pragmatic, but veered mainly towards the latter. In ideological terms Stalin was committed to the Marxist-Leninist worldview that conflict between the capitalist and communist powers was inevitable and that the latter would ultimately triumph.
On the other hand, Stalin often displayed considerable pragmatism in how he conducted relations with the West during the early years of the Cold War. A notable example of this is his policy in relation to the Korean War. Initially, Stalin was lukewarm to the idea of North Korea invading the South. He was concerned above all to maintain a balance of power in the Far East and didn’t unduly want to antagonize the United States or give the impression that the USSR was reneging on its commitments to the United Nations.
However, once he became convinced that the United States wouldn’t intervene to help South Korea in the event of an invasion, Stalin went along with Kim...
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