scorecardresearch

There are many misconceptions about the Cold War, starting with its name—it wasn’t really a war, more of a state of geopolitical tension. As such, there was no declaration of war, and so, there isn’t necessarily a definitive date when it began. On top of that, while the Cold War started in the years following the end of WWII, the historical factors that led to the beginning of the Cold War actually pre-date all of that by decades.


When Did The Cold War Start?

The Real Start of the Cold War

While many historians posit that the actions of WWII were directly responsible for the Cold War, others believe that Russia’s 1917 Revolutions had an effect as well. That was when the Bolsheviks took power. While the Soviets, the British, and the US fought together against the Axis powers in WWII, the fundamental differences between them ensured that there would never be true harmony.

That fundamental difference, of course, was that of communism vs. capitalism. Specifically, the fact that the Communist International (a group of communist party representatives from 50+ countries) called for revolutions abroad was a large problem. On the other side, the British and American distrust of communism—and the policies that resulted—created a situation that was rife with ideological animosity.

Post-War Beginnings

Following WWII, the strained post-war conferences that worked to decide the future of Europe also acted as a contributing factor when it came to the rising tension between the Soviets and the US. Within the Allied forces that fought against the Axis powers, there was disagreement about how borders should be drawn, post-war security, and Stalin’s potential role as an ally or an enemy.

While President Roosevelt regarded Stalin as a potential ally, Winston Churchill did not. This disagreement led to the US and England negotiating separate deals with the Soviets on multiple occasions. When the Soviet Union was excluded from a deal with a Nazi general named Karl Wolff, hostility erupted between Roosevelt and Stalin. This was actually further exacerbated upon Roosevelt’s death in 1945, as his successor, Harry S. Truman, had severe misgivings about Stalin. Finally, a (literal) bomb was dropped—and things were never the same again.

Hiroshima, Mon Amour

At the Potsdam conference in 1945, Truman spoke to Stalin about a “powerful new weapon” that the US wielded. He was, of course, referring to the atomic bomb. When the US dropped it on Hiroshima and Nagasaki shortly after the termination of the conference, Stalin was outraged at the barbarity of the weapon. There was no going back at this point for either the US or the Soviets.

What is the Eastern Bloc?

During and following the war, Stalin and the Soviet Union sought to expand their power by annexing countries or territories as “Soviet Socialist Republics.” The SSRs would come to make up what became known as the Eastern Bloc—as opposed to the Western Bloc, made up of the US and countries allied with NATO. Due to the sheer size of the Eastern Bloc, Churchill began to fear that the Soviet Union was a threat to Western Europe. So he did something about it.

The Iron Curtain Falls

In March 1946, Winston Churchill gave a notable speech in which he accused the Soviets of dividing Europe with an “Iron Curtain.” He suggested an alliance between the English and the US so both nations could fight back. Stalin retaliated with a speech of his own, comparing Churchill to Hitler. Around the same time, a diplomatic telegram from a US diplomat in the USSR called for a policy of containment in order to stop Soviet expansion. The Truman Doctrine, an official version of this policy of containment, was introduced in 1947. It was in this period, between 1946 and 1947, that the Cold War really began.

Sources: 123456


Factinate Featured Logo Featured Article
When Edward VIII’s baby brother Prince John died of severe seizure at only 13 years old, Edward’s response was so disturbing it’s impossible to forget.
43 Scandalous Facts About Edward VIII, The King Who Lost His Crown 43 Scandalous Facts About Edward VIII, The King Who Lost His Crown “I wanted to be an up-to-date king. But I didn't have much time.”—King Edward VIII. For such a short-reigning king, Edward VIII left behind no shortage of controversy. First, there was the scandalous womanizing of…
Factinate Featured Logo Featured Article
The average person doesn't even get 50% correct. I guess it's hard to be smarter than an 8th grader...
Quiz: Are You Smarter Than An Eighth-Grader? Quiz: Are You Smarter Than An Eighth-Grader?
Factinate Featured Logo Featured Article
I had an imaginary friend named Charlie. My parents asked what he looked like, and I always replied “a little man.” When we moved away, Charlie didn't come with us. My mom asked where he was, and I told her that he was going to be a mannequin at Sears—but that wasn’t even the most disturbing part. The years passed by and I’d forgotten my imaginary friend, but when someone told me a story about my old house, I was chilled to the bone.
People Describe Creepy Imaginary Friends from Their Childhood People Describe Creepy Imaginary Friends from Their Childhood “I was a loner as a child. I had an imaginary friend—I didn't bother with him.”—George Carlin. Many adults had imaginary friends as children. At their best, these make-believe buddies were cute, helpful, and whimsical…
Factinate Featured Logo Featured Article
The average person only gets 10 right. You muggles don't stand a chance...
Quiz: How Much Do You Really Know About Harry Potter? Quiz: How Much Do You Really Know About Harry Potter?


Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team