Focus of the topic

The topic discusses the responsibility for the breakdown of the Cold War, emphasizing the importance of linking facts to the concept of responsibility.

Background Info


  • US Responsibility
    • Operation Torch and Husky

      • The US delayed opening the second front until D-day.
    • Potsdam Conference: A stronger attitude against the USSR was adopted.

      • Reasons for this included the transition from Roosevelt to Truman and the development of the atomic bomb.
    • Invention of atomic bomb

      • The invention of the atomic bomb escalated the arms race.
    • Long Telegram

    • Iron Curtain Speech

      • Although this is not directly the responsibility of the US, it provides context for the construction of the Berlin Wall in the 1960s.
    • Truman Doctrine

      • The US aimed to contain communism.
    • Marshall Plan

    • Bizonia

      • The US and UK created a new currency and constitution, indicating the creation of a new country.
        • This violated the Yalta Agreement, which had decided to vote later for unification.
        • The US was concerned about the Salami Tactics in Germany.
    • Creation of NATO in 1950

    • Creation of FRG in 1950

    • Historiography: Revisionist

  • USSR Responsibility
    • Comintern (later Cominform)
    • Comecon
      • The USSR opposed the Marshall Plan and controlled the economy of Eastern Europe.
    • Salami Tactics
      • The USSR breached the Yalta Agreement.
    • Czech Coup
    • Berlin Blockade
      • The USSR acted against Bizonia.
    • Creation of GDR in 1950
    • Creation of Warsaw Pact in 1954
    • Historiography: Orthodox

Possible Essay Questions

  • To what extent were both sides responsible for the breakdown of the Cold War?


Pearson Cold War and Americas

  • p11
    • image
  • p51
    • Views of 3 historians


  • Orthodox: Pro-American
  • Revisionist: Anti-American
  • Post-revisionist: Does not solely blame one side
  • Use historiographies to support claims!!
    • Use perspectives from both sides and counter the claims
    • “Evaluation of range of perspectives” is necessary.