What were the origins of the Cold War?What were the origins of the Cold War?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II, there was an emergence of the two superpower nations.  These nations believed in opposite value systems.  The Communist Soviet Union was posited on the polar extreme against the democratic United States.  Both nations' value systems stood in direct opposition to one another.  As colonialism was coming to an end in different nations around the world, there was an immediate focus on how these new nations would progress in their choice of political systems.  The Cold War became this particular testing ground of which set of values emerging nations would choose.  At the same time, the Cold War became the intense opposition between both nations which possessed advances in technology that could make mass murder of both populations a distinct reality.  The origins of mistrust and how to contain or limit "the other" became the origins of this conflict.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Cold War started because the United States (and England) and the Soviet Union did not trust each other.  The two sides did not trust each other even though they were allies in WWII.  The distrust came about because each side thought the other was out to destroy them and their political/economic systems.

The Cold War really got started when the Soviet Union and the Western Allies divided Europe between them.  The Soviets wanted all of Eastern Europe because they were afraid of the West.  The West thought that the Soviet desire to take Eastern Europe just showed that the Soviets were going to try to take over Western Europe as well.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Also, you want to keep in mind that after World War II, there was a shortage of empires left to compete.  Germany and Japan were devastated, France had been occupied during the war and preoccupied in French Indochina after it.  The British were broke and their empire was retreating.  All that was left was the Soviet Union and the United States.  They had opposing systems of government and the USSR was determined to expand communist influence and the US was determined to contain it.  All of these things served to make the Cold War inevitable.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The Cold War started with World War II. After the war, Germany was split into two countries to keep it from being too powerful. Essentially, the Communists got one half and the democracies got the other. Fom then on, there was mutual distrust and name calling, but everyone was sick of fighting.
krishna-agrawala | Student

Cold war refer to the intense rivalry that developed between a group of communist countries led by USSR and non-communist countries led by USA after World War II. The origin of the cold war can be traced back to developments that began to unfold towards end of the War.

In the Yalta conference between leaders of USA, USSR and UK held in February 1945it was agreed to reestablish order in Europe and to help the defeated countries create democratic governments by holding democratic elections. However, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who was determined to control the countries in Eastern Europe, refused to honour this commitment, when the war ended. Countries like USA and UK were strongly opposed to communist ideology and were determined to resist it.

After the war ended, USSR cut off nearly all contacts between the West and the territories it controlled in Eastern Europe.  The two groups of countries opposed each other in the newly formed United Nations, particularly over the question of nuclear weapons.

In response , the non-communist group adopted a containment policy to hold back Communist expansion. Towards achieving this objective United States declared in March 1947 that it would help any free nation resist Communist attack. In In 1948, non communist countries of the west  agreed to unify their occupation zones in Germany and establish the German Federal Republic (West Germany).  The Soviet Union responded by blockading the German city of Berlin. In this way the cold war had clearly started.