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The ideology of capitalism requires people to be able to own their own
houses and businesses outright. People are paid what other people
think they are worth and if there is a disagreement then people go
elsewhere. There is freedom in capitalism but the boundaries of that
freedom (e.g. how much you can do) is based on the amount of money
you have. Capitalism needs free trade between countries to develop so
it comes into conflict with communism because communist countries
do not allow free trade and businesses are state owned.
When the Russian revolutions took place in 1917 and the Bolsheviks
took control a civil war broke out between the Red Army (communists)
and the Whites who were made up of Russians that were opposed to
the communist takeover. When this happened, Britain, France, Japan
and the USA sent assistance to the Whites. It didn’t work and the
Whites lost but it inevitably led to resentment from the communists
who were understandably annoyed at the attempt to help defeat them
from Western powers.
When the Russian revolutions took place in 1917 and the Bolsheviks
took control a civil war broke out between the Red Army (communists)
and the Whites who were made up of Russians that were opposed to
the communist takeover. When this happened, Britain, France, Japan
and the USA sent assistance to the Whites. It didn’t work and the
Whites lost but it inevitably led to resentment from the communists
who were understandably annoyed at the attempt to help defeat them
from Western powers.
There was Polish-Russian War from 1920-1 in which France helped
Poland to defeat Russia. In the resulting peace treaty yet more land was
taken from Russia and given to Poland.
Karl Marx (the father of communism) stated that the whole world
would experience a communist revolution when the working class poor
overthrew the middle classes that exploited them. Worldwide
revolution was therefore a key part of the communist ideology and
Lenin believed that communism would spread out from Russia to other
countries.
Karl Marx said that religion was ‘the opium of the masses’ (opium is a
drug) and the communists clamped down on religion, shutting churches
and educating children about how religion was nonsense.
The church in the countries of Western Powers spoke out often against
communism and were amongst the strongest opponents of
communism.
John W. Mason, a historian said:
The Soviet Union held to Lenin’s belief that conflict between
Communism and Capitalism was inevitable. The United States believed
that peace and security in the world would only emerge when the evil
of communism had been expelled. In this sense co-existence was not
possible…’’
Russia had been allied with France, Britain and the USA against
Germany during WW1, then in 1917 the Russian revolution put the
Bolsheviks (communists) in control of Russia. To protect the revolution
Lenin agreed a peace with Germany because, quite frankly, the
Germans were kicking the Russian bottom quite severely . The Germans
took a lot of land from the Russian Empire as part of the deal. When the
Germans surrendered in 1918 the Allies did not give Russia back the
land that the Germans took, instead giving it to countries like Poland,
Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Russians wanted it
back.
History is not laid out in neat little snippets like your GCSE textbooks. Some of this is but it won’t all be. You have to learn to read information, decide what is
most useful to your task and to think carefully about what questions you need to ask. You should also use the website and the textbooks pages 1-18.
The capitalists were fearful of the spread of communism after the First
World War, especially in Germany. During the Paris Peace Conference
at the end of the First World War the allies created the countries of
Finland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia out of former Russian territory to
create a buffer (a gap) between the Russian border and central Europe
– the fancy word for this would be a cordon sanitaire.
When Stalin came to power in 1927 he abandoned the idea of
worldwide communist revolution and it was no longer a priority for the
Soviet Union (though they kept Comintern). He agreed to join the
League of Nations (a group that met to try to ensure world peace) and
he tried to form a defence alliance with France and Czechoslovakia
because he was concerned about Hitler’s intentions after 1933. French
suspicions of communism prevented the development of this.
In 1939 Stalin signed an agreement with Hitler to not fight the Nazis in
exchange for half of Poland (much of the land taken from the Russian
empire after WW1 by the western allies). Hitler invaded Poland from
the West and Stalin from the East. Due to the German invasion the
French and British declared war on Germany (but not Russia) and the
Second World War began.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour dragging the USA into the
Second World War, the Russians ended up in an alliance with Britain
and the USA. This was known as the Grand Alliance. Russia took the
brunt of the German attack, losing 25 million killed compared to
450,000 British, 420,000 US and 600,000 French. Stalin grew
increasingly suspicious that, though the Grand Alliance lasted from
December 1941, the British and US did not open a second front and
invade France until D-day in June 1944. Stalin thought that the British
and Americans were quite willing to let the Germans and Soviets fight
each other to exhaustion.
The communists set up an organisation called Comintern in 1919 which
was set up to assist the spread of communism around the world by
helping communist parties.
When Hitler threatened to invade Czechoslovakia in 1938 Stalin
appeared as though he was ready to intervene so long as the French did
likewise. The French ignored this and along with the British met with
Hitler to try to prevent the invasion. Stalin wasn’t invited to the
conference in Munich and this fed his fears that Western powers were
willing to work together against the USSR. Hitler subsequently went
against all the promises he made to the French and British and invaded
Czechoslovakia anyway in 1939. The British and French, seeing war on
the horizon, then looked to negotiate a defensive treaty with Stalin but
it was too late, Stalin had been snubbed too many times.
From the beginning of the Second World War in Sept 1939 until the
surprise German invasion of Russia in June 1941, Stalin was concerned
about the potential for a German invasion so he seized the territories of
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania which had been taken from Russia after
the First World War.
As the Soviet Union advanced westward, pushing the Germans back,
they liberated eastern Europe but did not leave most of those
countries, remaining in overall control until the fall of the Soviet Union
in 1989-91. Stalin feared future German aggression (they’d been
invaded in both world wars) and wanted to create a buffer zone. The
Soviets also wanted the territory taken from the Russian empire at the
end of the First World War to become integrated back into the USSR.
History is not laid out in neat little snippets like your GCSE textbooks. Some of this is but it won’t all be. You have to learn to read information, decide what is
most useful to your task and to think carefully about what questions you need to ask. You should also use the website and the textbooks pages 1-18.
In 1943 Stalin disbanded Comintern to try to convince the world that
the Soviets were no longer interested in world-wide revolution.
In 1943 the Grand Alliance leaders of Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill
met for the first time. They discussed a future United Nations UN group
to ensure world peace. Stalin made very clear that he intended to keep
the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as part of the USSR and
the parts of eastern Poland that the Soviets had taken – though Stalin
also said he expected the Poles to be compensated with land in the
west taken from German, which they were. Roosevelt and Churchill did
not object to this. The US and Britain finally agreed to invade France the
following year to take the fight to the Nazis.
Whenever a former Axis (on Germany’s side) country was conquered by
the Allies an ACC was set up which was an Allied Control Commission.
The former Axis countries were allowed their own governments but it
was the ACCs that were really in control. The first was set up in Italy
after the British/US invasion of 1943 and the USSR was not part of it as
no Soviet troops were in Italy. When the USSR subsequently took
Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Finland they set up their own ACC and
the British/US did not get representation.
The USA was traumatised by the Japanese surprise attack on US soil in
1941 and wanted to establish military security in a series of bases
surrounding the US. Stalin saw this as an aggressive move. The US also
wanted to encourage free trade across the world along with democratic
freedoms for all people which were both totally the opposite to the
things that Soviets believed in.
Churchill met privately with Stalin in October 1944 to try to protect
British interests in the eastern Mediterranean . He agreed to the
Soviet’s having a ‘sphere of influence’ across much of eastern Europe.
Stalin agreed the British could have a ‘sphere of influence’ in Greece.
When a civil war broke out in Greece in 1944 Stalin refused to send the
Greek communists any support. Churchill quietly dropped this
agreement when he realised how angry it would make Roosevelt when
he found out they had made agreements without the US.
History is not laid out in neat little snippets like your GCSE textbooks. Some of this is but it won’t all be. You have to learn to read information, decide what is
most useful to your task and to think carefully about what questions you need to ask. You should also use the website and the textbooks pages 1-18.