No conflict dominated Europe more following the end of World War II than the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the American allies of Western Europe. This single ideological struggle, which consumed billions of dollars, millions of lives, would divide Europe as never before, seems a virtual afterthought in the early 21st century. It is therefore critical not only to understand the key issues and events of the Cold War, but perhaps more importantly, the mentality of those who fought it.
Below are two accounts that explain how the two superpowers viewed each other. One is a telegram sent by Soviet Ambassador Nikolai Novikov, and the other is a speech by U.S. President Harry Truman. Both represent the views of both sides at the beginning of the Cold War, between 1946 and 1947, and in them you can see both the perceptions (and misperceptions) each side held toward the other. In an analysis of 2-3 pages, I would like you to address the following questions:
- How did the United States perceive the Soviet Union, and vice versa?
- How accurate do you believe these views to be, looking back through history?
- What do both sides feel is the best strategy to take with regard to the other, and why?