What led the United States and the Soviet Union to go from being allies to bitter Cold War rivals?

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The Soviet Union had proved a useful ally to the United States during World War II. But once the war was over, the old tensions between the world's largest capitalist and Communist powers resurfaced. In the immediate post-war period, the Soviet Union found itself in control of vast swathes of territory in eastern Europe. This alarmed the Americans, who felt that the spread of Communism represented a real danger to the stability of Europe.

There were long-established, well-organized Communist parties in western European countries such as France and Italy. These parties routinely toed the Soviet line and were potential agents of subversion in the countries in which they operated. The United States was worried that what had happened in eastern Europe could just as easily happen...

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