Tensions with the Soviet Union

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What events between the 1940s and 1950s started the Cold War?

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The Cold War began with the Industrial Revoluton. Karl Marx and others looked around them and did not like the greed they saw running amok. Marx wrote the Communisf Manifesto as a response to the society of the late nineteenth century. This led to the Russian Revolution, which led to the USSR and that's all she wrote. The US was very suspicious of communism.
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I would agree that one major cause of the cold war was a distrust of the Soviets by the United States and the same distrust of the United States from the Soviet Union. Add to this the arms race, race to space and other events and you have the cold war.

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A good working definition of the Cold War could go like this:

Competition between the Soviet Union and the United States over ideologies, through other countries, without direct armed conflict

As it became obvious that the Allies were going to win World War II, the "friendship" between the Russians and Americans began to fray.  Both countries started to jockey for position in a postwar world.  This emerging competition for control of foreign governments and systems, as well as resources, began the Cold War.

Armed communist rebellions began in Greece and Turkey in 1946.  The US shipped weapons to put down the rebellions.  The Soviet Union blockaded West Berlin in 1948, and the US responded with a year long airlift of supplies.  The Western powers formed the NATO alliance for self defense.  The Soviets responded with the Warsaw Pact.  In 1949, the USSR developed its first nuclear weapon.

No one of these events started the Cold War, but in combination and rapid succession, it was inevitable.

Events in the 1950s:

Korean War

Hydrogen Bomb and ICBMs developed

Guatemala intervention by the US

Hungarian Uprising crushed

Space race begins with Sputnik

Cuban communist revolution

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The Cold War really did not start with any one event.  It was sort of a natural consequence of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and World War II.

The Cold War started mainly because the United States did not trust communists and the USSR did not trust capitalists.  So there was no trust between the two countries.

Then, when WWII ended, the Soviet Union and the US were clearly going to be the two strongest countries for some time to come.  In addition, the Soviets were really worried about invasion from the west and so they wanted to dominate Eastern Europe.

When the Soviets did that, the US thought they were trying to dominate Europe and later the world.  When the US opposed Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, the Soviets thought the US was plotting to destroy them.

And so the Cold War began...

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