What Caused the Cold War?

What Caused the Cold War?

What caused the Cold War? A number of geopolitical factors that emerged in the wake of the Second World War, pitting Russia against the U.S. World War II ended with the Soviet Union and United States as allies that triumphed over Nazi Germany. But how did two countries that used to fight on the same side end up a couple of years later as mortal enemies in a Cold War of distrust that prevailed for years to come?

Some Possible Causes for the Cold War

Although The U.S. and Soviet Union were allies during WWII, there were many tensions early on and once the common threat of Germany and Japan were removed, it was only a matter of time for the shaky relationship to fall apart. Here are some possible factors that contributed to the Cold War:

  • The Soviet Union refused to become part of the UN for a long time
  • Stalin felt that America and Britain were delaying D-Day, causing more Soviet losses in a plot to weaken the Soviet army. Almost sixty times more Soviets died in the war than the Americans.
  • The “Big Three” clashed during the Tehran Conference about Poland and other Eastern European countries that bordered with Germany. Stalin felt independent countries were a security threat to Russia because they have been weak enough to let Germany attack the Soviet Union through them several times. Britain and America wanted these countries to be independent, not under communist rule.
  • The Soviets and Germans had a non-aggression pact in the first two years of the war with a secret protocol
  • The support of the Western allies of the Atlantic Charter
  • The Eastern Bloc of Soviet satellite states that was created
  • The Allies allowing Germany to rebuild an industry and army, scrapping the Marshall and Morgenthau plans
  • The Allies allowing Germany to join NATO
  • American and British fears of communist attacks and the Soviet Union's dislike of capitalism
  • The Soviet Union's fear of America's nuclear weapons and refusal to share their nuclear secrets
  • The Soviet Union's actions in Eastern Germany, in the Soviet zone
  • The USSR's aim to promote communism across the world and their expansion into Eastern Europe

This article is part of our larger collection of resources on the Cold War. For a comprehensive outline of the origins, key events, and conclusion of the Cold War, click here.