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Joseph Stalin: World War 2 and the Cold War

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World War 2 officially started on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. The Germans and the Soviets had already signed the German-Soviet Nonaggression Act on August 23, 1939 and they officially divided Poland, after the war had already begun, on September 28, 1939. After Hitler conquered France, his only real treat was England. He believed that the Brits were only holding out and waiting for the Soviets to come to their rescue. Hitler thought that the Soviets were weak because if their Jewish-Bolshevik leaders and its deplorable military and they could be defeated easily. The Germans were going to invade the Soviet Union during the spring of 1941, but they couldn't. Mussolini decided to invade Greece in October of 1940 and was defeated badly. So the Germans had to go and save him and while they took Greece they decided to take Yugoslavia also. Hey did this to protect their Balkan flank when they did invade the Soviet Union. When Hitler thought it was safe to go forward, he did so and the invasion of the Soviet Union began on June 22, 1941.

During the invasion, the German front line extended along an 1800 mile line. There were three main army groups and they pressed on so quickly that they captured two million Soviet troops within the first few months of the invasion. They were so quick and faultless in the invasion that by November of that year the first German army group had take the Ukraine, the second was bombarding Leningrad, and the third was advancing on the Soviet capital, Moscow. The speedy German advancement wouldn't last for long. They would be brought to a complete standstill by Soviet resistance and an early winter. While the Germans were at a standstill, the Soviets went on the counter attack in December 1941. With this counter attack, the Soviets started to drive the Germans back and they kept driving them back until the end of the war in 1945.

The unofficial end of World War 2 was when the U.S. dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945. After the total victory of the allies, there really wasn't any peace between the nations. This was the beginning of the Cold War and it would end up directing the course of politics for just about a century, up until the 1980s. The causes of this Cold War were mainly political, military, and ideological diversities between the Soviet Union and the U.S. This became plain to see in the last days of the war at the Allied war conferences. The Big Three of the Grand Alliance, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, met in the capital if Iran, Tehran, to plan a course for the war. What they worried about the most was the final assault on Germany. They argued for an American-British lead invasion of France to be done during the spring of 1944. This was something that Stalin bargained for; because it meant that the Soviets would liberate Eastern Europe while the Americans and British liberated Western Europe. They also agreed that post war Germany would be divided until all the Nazis could be dealt with.

There was a conference in February 1945, in southern Russia, called the Yalta Conference. The Yalta Conference was the place that the Western leader supposedly, "gave Stalin a free hand in the Eastern region" (Riasanovsky & Steinberg (2011), pg.542). The outcome of the war would surely end with the ultimate defeat of the Germans and the western leaders were concerned because there would be eleven million Red Army troops that would be in control of central and eastern Europe and they didn't know how that would turn out for peace. Stalin was very suspicious of the Western leaders and he wanted to put up a barrier to protect the Soviet Union in case the West became aggressive with them in the future. He was still, "operating under the idea of spheres of influence" (Duiker, W. & Spielvogel, J. (2007) pg.712). Roosevelt was trying to get away from the idea of spheres of influence and was trying to move towards the Wilsonian model of self determination. The Grand Alliance agreed on a declaration on what they would do with liberated Europe. They pledged to help liberated Europe create their own democratic government that would be of their choosing.

While he was at Yalta, Roosevelt wanted to recruit the Soviet military to help out America with Japan. The atomic bomb wasn't



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