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Consolidation of Soviet and American Bloc – World History – Free PDF Download


The Marshall Plan:

  • After the Second World war, the nations of Europe struggled to rebuild their economies and ensure their security.
  • The former required a massive influx of aid to help the war torn landscapes to reestablish industries and produce food, and the letter required assurance against a resurgent Germany or incursions from the Soviet Union.
  • The United States viewed an economically strong, rearmed, and integrated Europe as vital to the prevention of communist expansion across the continent.
  • As a result, Secretary of State George Marshall proposed a program of large scale economic aid to Europe.
  • The resulting European recovery program, or Marshall Plan, not only facilitated European economic integration, but promoted the idea of shared interest and cooperation between the United States and Europe.
  • Soviet refusal, either to participate in the Marshall Plan or to allow its satellite states in Eastern Europe except the economic assistance helped to reinforce the growing division between East and West in Europe.

The Cominform and the Molotov Plan:

  • The communist information Bureau was formed by Stalin in September 1947 as the Soviets responds to the Marshall Plan.
  • It was an organization to bring the various European communist parties together.
  • All the satellite states were members, and the French and Italian communist parties were represented.
  • Stalin’s aim was to tighten his grip on the satellite States and to mold them into the Russian style of communism.
  • Eastern Europe was to be industrialized, collectivized and centralized; states were expected to trade primarily with Cominform members, and all contact with non-communist countries were discouraged.
  • In 1947, the Molotov plan was introduced to offer Russian aid to the satellites.
  • Yugoslavia was expelled from the comment form because of its objections, though it remained a communist state.

The Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia(Feb. 1948):

  • It was a great blow to the western bloc, because it was the only Democratic country in the Eastern Europe among communist countries and was being added under the Marshall Plan.
  • It was being ruled by a coalition of communist and other left wing parties.
  • A crisis arose in 1948 and an armed coup was organized to throw away the democratically elected government to be replaced by the communist regime.
  • The Western powers and the UN protested, but could not take any action because there was no proof of the direct involvement of the Russia.
  • The coup was entirely an internal affair, but is believed to be influenced by Stalin.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization:

  • In 1947- 48, a series of events caused the nations of Western Europe to become concerned about their physical and political security and the United States to become more closely involved with European affairs.
  • A Soviet- sponsored coop in Czechoslovakia resulted in a communist government coming to power on the borders of Germany.
  • Attention also focused on elections in Italy as the Communist Party had made significant gains among Italian voters.
  • Furthermore, events in Germany also caused concern.
  • The occupation and governance of Germany after the war had long been disputed, and in mid 1948, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin chose to test western resolve by implementing a blockade against West Berlin, which was then under joint US, British, and French control but surrounded by Soviet controlled East Germany.
  • This Berlin crisis brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of conflict, although a massive airlift to resupply the city for the duration of the blockade helped to prevent an outright confrontation.
  • These events caused western European countries as well as US to grow increasingly wary of the possibility that the countries of Western Europe might deal with their security concerns by negotiating with the Soviets.
  • Great Britain, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg signed the Brussels treaty in March, 1948.
  • Their treaty provided collective defence; if anyone of these nations was attacked, the others were bound to help defend it.
  • The Truman administration, on the other hand considered the possibility of forming a European American alliance that would commit the United States to bolster the security of Western Europe.
  • As a result the Truman administration instituted a peacetime draft, increased military spending, and called upon the historically isolationist Republic and Congress to consider a military alliance with Europe.
  • In May of 1948, a resolution was proposed suggesting that the president seek a security treaty with the Western Europe that would adhere to the United Nations charter, but exist outside the Security Council where the Soviet Union held veto power.
  • This resolution was passed, and the negotiations began for the North Atlantic treaty.
  • As a result, The North Atlantic treaty organization was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.
  • NATO was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere.
  • In spite of a general agreement on the concept behind the treaty, it took several months to work-out the exact terms.
  • Finally, under the treaty the United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom agreed to consider an attack against one as an attack against all, along with consultations about threats and defense matters.
  • This collective defense arrangement only formally applied to attacks against the signatories that occurred in Europe or North America; it did not include conflicts in colonial territories.
  • After the treaty was signed, number of the signatories made request to the United States for military aid.
  • Later in 1949, president Truman proposed a military assistance program, and the mutual defense assistant program was passed by the US Congress in October, appropriating some $1.4 billion for the purpose of building western European defences.
  • In 1952, the members agreed to admit Greece and Turkey to NATO and added the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955.

The Warsaw Pact:

  • West German entry led the Soviet Union to retaliate with its own regional alliance, which took the form of the Warsaw treaty organization and included the Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe as members.
  • The Warsaw pact, so named because the treaty was signed in Warsaw( Poland), including the Soviet Union, Albania, Poland, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgari as members.
  • The treaty called on the member states to come to the defense of any member attack by an outside force and it set up a unified military command under Marshall Ivan S. Konev of the Soviet Union.
  • The introduction to the treaty establishing the Warsaw pact indicated the reason for its existence.
  • This revolved around “Western Germany, which being remilitarized, and her inclusion in the North Atlantic bloc, which increases the danger of a new war and creates a threat to the national security of peace loving states”.
  • This passage referred to the decision by the United States and other members of the North Atlantic treaty organization( NATO) on May 9, 1955 to make West Germany a member of NATO and allow the nation to remilitarize.
  • The Soviets considered this as a direct threat and responded with Warsaw Pact.
  • The Warsaw pact remained intact until 1991.
  • Albania was expelled in 1962 because, believing that Russian leaders Nikita Khrushchev was deviating too much from strict Marxist orthodoxy, the country turned to communist China for aid and trade.
  • In 1990, East Germany left the pact and reunited with West Germany; the reunified Germany then became a member of NATO.
  • The rise of non-communist governments in other eastern bloc nations, such as Poland and Czechoslovakia, throughout 1990 and 1991 marked an effective end of the power of the Warsaw pact.
  • In March 1991, the military alliance component of the pact was dissolved and in July 1991, the last meeting of the political consultative body took place.

Evaluation of the NATO and Warsaw Pact:

  • There are certain strands within which do not differentiate between the capitalist and the Socialists, while making their assessment of the miseries and economic hardships of the developing third world.
  • They assert that the entire process of consolidation of power by the two superpowers was aimed at exploiting the resources and markets of their satellite states for their own growth and development.
  • This is evident from several policy initiatives taken by the two superpowers after the end of the Second World war.
  • For example, after the war, while the US pushed through measures like the Marshall Plan for economic reconstruction off the western European countries the Soviet rolled out the Molotov plan which was the Soviet version of the Marshall Plan for the war ravaged East European countries.
  • Both of these plans were in fact an attempt by the two superpowers to retain nations as satellite states within their ambit.
  • This policy served several purposes:
  • It helped in the investment of surplus capital generated within the economies of these powers, particularly the US which it had made following the huge exercise off supplying military equipment and logistics to the fighting nations.
  • It was the best method to earn reasonable interest on these surpluses and idle funds which could now be not utilized so easily for making investments in the colonies, following the independence of most countries in Asia and Africa.
  • Now, once these war ravaged countries are economically reconstructed, they will act as markets for the industrial goods coming out of the factories in the US.
  • For the Soviets, returning the Eastern European countries in its orbit would mean that rebuilding its own war ravaged economy using the industrial equipments and raw materials from the Eastern European countries.
  • Again, his policy of using the poorer countries for enabling growth and development in one’s own countries, adopted by the two superpowers is visible in their policy of intervention in the internal matters of their satellite countries and their desperate attempts to bring neutral or NAM countries within their sphere of influences.
  •  US treated Latin American countries as its own backyard, toppled and installed governments at its own will, quoted the threat of communism and ensured that they continue to remain occupied in domestic conflicts and civil wars.
  • The US and the USSR by their systematic policies and by using its clout as a dominant military and economic power exploited the economies of the Latin American and African countries so that they ended up becoming a net importer of US and Soviet arms for managing their never ending civil wars and net exporter of cheap agricultural commodities and raw materials.
  • As a result, these countries continue to remain underdeveloped and under industrialized even after several years of their independence, thereby falsifying the postulates of modernization theory.
  • This policy of the two superpowers is sometimes called neo-colonialism and is supported by the postulates of dependency theory, wherein by ensuring systematic and perpetual dependence of the third world countries for technology, military aid and capital, the superpower of the world ensured that their own economic and military strength developed at the expense of the poor and weak countries and these third world countries continues to remain under the cycle of poverty and poor economic growth.
  • Therefore, under the grab of an ideological warfare, during the Cold War years, there was unleashed a systematic campaign of neocolonialism wherein through direct intervention in the internal affairs of various nations, the economic dominance of the powerful countries were perpetuated and that of weaker countries was further retarded and stunned.


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