Cause of Cold War

The cause of the Cold War is debatable. Because the Cold War doubles as a conflict between two countries (the USA and the USSR) and between two ideologies (Capitalism and Communism) several different causes can be suggested:

1. Because Capitalism and Communism are usually seen as antithetical, it can be argued that the Cold War began when Communism began, in 1917 with the Russian Revolution. Or, if not quite in 1917, then in early 1920s, when Lenin and his Bolsheviks consolidated their power in Russia and tried to spread Communism to the West, to Europe on the blade of their swords—although they were rather quickly unsuccessful, being defeated by the Poles in the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921).

2. Another commonly argued cause of the Cold War is, fittingly enough, the beginning of World War II in Europe: 1939. The Soviet Union, now under Stalin, had signed a secret pact with Germany's Hitler, and both countries attacked Poland in September of that year.

3. However, the most popular cause of the Cold War was not the beginning, but the end of World War II: 1945. Stalin, after being betrayed by Hitler in 1941, finished the war on the Allied side, but the tensions between the victorious Western Powers and the USSR were already in evidence. The USSR was gobbling up the countries East of Germany, and part of Germany itself, which made the Americans and British somewhat hesitant. The British feared too strong a Soviet presence in Europe and the Americans wanted a free and open Germany which would become a large market for its products. The Soviets stood in the way to both. In fact, American General George Patton once famously remarked that when the Americans had gotten to Berlin, they should have kept going on to Moscow!

4. Finally, probably the latest starting date and cause for the Cold War that's been argued is 1947, the year in which the Soviets acquired the knowledge to make nuclear weapons. Because the Cold War is so heavily wrapped up into nuclear technology—and technology in general—some will argue that it was caused by the Soviet challenge to American nuclear power, which had been demonstrated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

The most important thing to keep in mind when looking at the cause of the Cold War is that there is no one, definite cause. The Cold War was a conflict that was ideological, that grew out of World War II—which, itself, grew out of World War I and its aftermath—and that was fought in various ways. Hence, the key when deciding on the cause of the Cold War is not which cause you choose, but how well you argue the one you do. They all have more than enough evidence for you to construct a solid argument.