What Caused The Tension Between The Soviet Union And The US After The War?
So, you want to know about what caused the tension between the Soviet Union and the US after World War II (the year 1945).
Okay, here we are going to discuss this complete answer within a few main points.
Genuinely, the condition of tensions between these two superpowers is popularly known as the Cold War.
The main causes of that situation are something like this:
- Different between political ideologies – Communism vs Democracy
- Secrecy of nuclear weapon
- Soviet spies in the United States of America
- Cancellation of American loans
- Race of destructive weapons
- Economic causes
- Misunderstandings over peace treaties
- Formation of military alliances
1. Difference Between Political Ideologies – Communism Vs Democracy
The first reason for that tension between the United States and the Soviet Union was the ideological difference.
So, what was it?
Actually, on one side Soviet Russia was a Communist nation, where there was no democracy existed (Only one political party ruling system and it was CPSU); but on the other hand, the United States of America was a fully democratic country.
Due to this ideological difference, these two big countries never believed each other.
Russian Communist party always blamed the US that they were trying to spread notorious Western ideologies in their country; the same way the US also blamed Russia as an expansionist totalitarian power.
They also neglected Communist rule as the rule of Demon.
The United States and its Western allies believed that Communism was a major threat to human beings’ natural rights (Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness).
Even to prevent Communism’s expansion in Europe, the United States widely provided economic support to countries like Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, West Germany, Norway, etc.
2. The USA’s Secrecy of Nuclear Weapon From Soviet Union
During World War 2, the USA and Soviet Union together fought as a part of allied forces.
By the very end of the war, America attacked Japan with atomic bombs, which caused mass destruction in two important Japanese cities, Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
But the interesting fact was the US never informed the Soviet Union about they had Nuclear weapons.
However, except for Russia other allied nations like Great Britain and France were well informed about it.
On the other hand, Russian leader Joseph Stalin was thinking that they would force Japan to surrender by attacking earlier than the Americans; but even before the Russian invasion, the US attacked Japan with Nuclear weapons and forced them to surrender.
It was so difficult for Russian leaders to accept this thing with ease.
These disputable actions from Western countries made the Soviet Union more cautious.
They considered it a major betrayal to them.
[Fact: It Is Still In Controversy, Wheather USSR Knew About Americans To Attack Japan With Atom Bombs or Not; Some Say They Did Inform It Before And Some Say They Didn’t]
3. Soviet Spies In America
This was another important reason that raised the tensions between the Soviet Union and the US after the war.
After the Second World War, many Soviet spies started working in the USA with the direction of Moscow.
These spies worked there to steal information about the atomic bomb, American security issues and spread communist ideologies.
Soviet spies also sent a number of data to Moscow by collecting samples of uranium from America. Resulted on 29th August 1949, Moscow tested its first Atom bomb.
The US went angry due to the actions of the Soviet Union.
This test became the milestone from where these two powers were involved in an arms race, which lasted for the next forty-two years.
4. Cancellation of Loans For The Soviet Union Given By America
Because of World War II, the economy of the entire world was completely devastated.
Especially, almost entire Europe again (after WW1) transformed into a carcass. The USSR faced massive losses due to the operation of Barbarossa, executed by Axis forces.
At that time, the US started paying loans for financial aid to its allied nations.
Due to Soviet Russia fighting battles from allied power’s side, initial days they also got some benefits from the United States.
But because of tensions rising between these two nations; suddenly the US stopped all the plans for providing loans to them.
This sudden action from the United States’ side caused a heavy economic crisis in Moscow. The Soviet Union was deeply offended by this task of American leaders.
They also blamed them that they were trying to destroy Russia’s economy and make them weaker.
[Fact: Did You Know? The USSR Was The Nation In World War 2, Who Faced Highest Numbers of Its Military And Civilian Casualties. Their Total Death Was 42 Million People. Here 19.4 Million Were Military Personals And Other 22.6 Million Were Civilians]
5. Race of Destructive Weapons – Especially Nuclear Weapons
Most of the dangerous weapons in the modern world were manufactured in the Cold War era.
In 1949, the Soviet Union tested its first nuclear bomb. This incident led the United States of America and other Western countries to be more alert.
They realized it would become a major threat for them in the upcoming days.
For this reason, on 3rd October 1952, the United Kingdom tested its first atom bomb and became the third nuclear-powered nation; similarly, on 13th February 1960, France also acquired nuclear capability.
Especially the US came into full action to be one step ahead of than Soviets.
Hence, they started manufacturing more and more destructive weapons.
The race continued till 1991.
According to various research documents, the United States and the Soviet Union had built so many nuclear weapons in the Cold War era that the entire earth could be destroyed by more than 200 times.
6. Economic Causes – Communism Vs Capitalism
Another reason for the growing tension between the Soviet Union and the United States was economic ideology.
All the Western nations under the leadership of America supported the capitalist order in their economies.
In this system, the nation does not keep control over the economy of the country.
But on the other side, the Soviet Union and its other associate countries supported communist ideology in their economies, where the government of the country takes full control of its economy.
After the war, many countries of Asia and the African continent became independent.
These two superpowers tried to influence the economy of these newly independent countries with their ideologies.
On one hand, where the US and other Western countries tried to influence them with Capitalist ideology; similarly, the Soviet Union and other Communists nations also tried to influence them with communist economic ideology.
However, most of these countries acquired mixed economic ideologies rather than depending upon only one.
7. Misunderstanding Over Peace Treaties
After the war, many disputes also arose between the two superpowers over the peace treaties in many countries of Eastern, Central, and Western Europe.
These countries were mainly Italy, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Yugoslavia, etc.
In countries like Bulgaria and Romania, when the US and other capitalist countries refused to accept the reputed Communist governments by showing some unrealistic reasons, the Soviet Union openly opposed it.
On the other hand, it was difficult for the US to accept the direct intervention of the Soviet Union in these countries.
Even in many times Soviet authorities directly intervened with their military power in these nations to abolish uprisings against Communism.
8. Formation of Military Alliances
On April 4th, 1949 under the leadership of the United States, many countries of Europe formed a military alliance, named ‘NATO’.
At that time NATO’s members were Belgium, the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, and a few others.
The Soviet Union and other Communist nations considered this military alliance as a major threat to their existence and national security.
As a result, they also signed a pact for the collective military alliance in 1955 on the 14th of May.
This was the ‘Warsaw pact’, signed in the capital Poland.
A total of eight members first joined this military agreement.
They were Albania, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union.
These two powerful military agreements also fueled rising tensions between these two superpowers.