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Why did the ‘Grand Alliance’ Breakdown?

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Presentation on theme: "Why did the ‘Grand Alliance’ Breakdown?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why did the ‘Grand Alliance’ Breakdown?
L/O – To identify how disagreements arising from the Second World War led to the Cold War

2 Why did the Grand Alliance breakdown?
In 1941 Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union and along with Japan, declared war on the USA. Despite their long-term differences, the USSR, UK and USA formed a military alliance – the ‘Grand Alliance’. Suspicions remained throughout the war. They met at three conferences during the war: Tehran in 1943, and Yalta and Potsdam in 1945. Disagreements emerged over Germany, Poland and Eastern Europe, Economic reconstruction and nuclear weapons – after the war, these problems remained unresolved. By 1946, the Grand Alliance had broken down completely.

3 Formation of the Grand Alliance
In June 1941, Nazi Germany launched ‘Operation Barbarossa’ – the invasion of the Soviet Union. Britain and the USA immediately began supplying the USSR. However the USA was not involved in the war at this time. In August 1941, Winston Churchill secretly met with US President Franklin Roosevelt. Churchill was hoping to persuade the USA to join the war. Instead, they agreed on a policy statement than became known as the ‘Atlantic Charter’.

4 Formation of the Grand Alliance
The eight-principles of the Atlantic Charter defined the Allied goals for the post-war world, presenting the unity of Britain and the USA. In September 1941, the Soviet Union and other countries fighting Nazism agreed to the principles set out in the Charter - however this was not a formal alliance. This changed in December Japan and Germany declared war on the USA, bringing America into the conflict.

5 Formation of the Grand Alliance
By January 1942, the Allies issued a joint ‘Declaration by United Nations’ – this military union between the USA, UK and USSR became known as the ‘Grand Alliance’. It was essentially a ‘marriage of convenience’ as all three had a common enemy. But it had shaky foundations – it united the world’s greatest capitalist state, the greatest communist state and the greatest colonial power. Churchill retained his dislike of Stalin, remarking: ‘If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons’.

6 Wartime Disagreements
1. The Second Front – Stalin demanded that the Allies open a ‘second front’ in Western Europe to relieve pressure of the Soviet Union. The USSR faced over 80% of all Nazi military resources. In 1942 and 1943, the UK and USA decided to invade North Africa and Italy first. These delays made Stalin suspicious, believing that the Allies wanted the USSR to be weakened. When the Second Front was opened with the D-Day Landings in France in June 1944, there were 228 Axis divisions on the eastern front, compared to 61 divisions in Western Europe.


8 Wartime Disagreements
2. Ideological Suspicions – Despite agreeing to the principles of the Atlantic Charter with the West, Stalin had concerns over Roosevelt’s foreign policy. Roosevelt’s ‘Open Door’ policy was based on ‘free’ world trade and ‘equal’ access to raw materials – Stalin feared this would only benefit capitalist countries like the USA. The Allies attempted to resolve their differences at three wartime conferences. The failure of these conferences would ultimately lead to the Cold War.

9 The Tehran Conference – Nov 1943
The first conference held was in Tehran, Iran in November 1943 and was attended by Joseph Stalin of the USSR; Winston Churchill of the USSR; Franklin Roosevelt of the USA. The conference was a fair success. Both Roosevelt and Stalin seemed to work reasonably well together. However as the war progressed, a gap emerged between Stalin’s post-war aims and those of the Western powers.


11 The Tehran Conference - Debates
State of the War – By 1943, the Allies were winning. The Germans in retreat on the Eastern Front, the UK and USA had invaded North Africa and Italy and the Pacific War had entered its ‘island hopping’ phase. However Stalin still demanded the creation of a Second Front in Western Europe. Germany – Debates over what to do with Germany. Differences stemmed from wartime experiences, ‘lessons’ from the failure of the ToV and differing ideologies. They only agreed that ‘unconditional surrender’ was the objective. Date set for Second Front – June

12 The Tehran Conference - Debates
Poland – Stalin’s concern for ‘security’ led him to demand territory from Poland and a pro-Soviet government. Agreed that the USSR could keep territory seized in 1939, Poland would be compensated with land from Germany. Eastern Europe – Soviets demanded the right to keep territory they had seized between – The Baltic States, Finland & Romania. The USA and UK reluctantly agreed, despite this being against the Atlantic Charter.

13 The Tehran Conference - Debates
Japan – The USA and UK tried to convince Stalin to open up a Soviet ‘second front’ in Asia – Stalin refused until the war with Germany was won. The UN – British and Soviets agreed in principle to the US idea of a new international organisation to be established after the war. It would settle international disputes through collective security. Conclusions – The main positive outcomes included: agreement on the United Nations, and on the need for a weak post-war Germany.

14 How did the Tehran Conference effect Superpower Relations?

15 The Yalta Conference – Feb 1945
The second conference was held in February at Yalta on the Black Sea in the USSR. The same leaders attended this conference. Stalin’s position was strengthened by the fact that the Red Army occupied most of Eastern Europe. He seemed more willing to be assertive. By the time of the conference, it was clear that Stalin was already going back on his word – he began supporting communist groups across Eastern Europe.

16 The Yalta Conference – Debates
The State of the War – Germany was on verge of being defeated. The Second Front had begun with the Normandy Landings in The Allies were ready to invade Germany itself. The Japanese were preparing for the invasion of their homeland. Germany – Decided that Germany would be disarmed, demilitarised, de-Nazified and divided into four zones. This division would be temporary – Germany was to be run as ‘one country’. An Allied Control Commission (ACC) would govern Germany. Stalin demanded reparations – agreed $20 billion, 50% to USSR.

17 The Yalta Conference – Debates
Poland – New frontiers of Poland decided. Eastern border was drawn at the ‘Curzon Line’ – its pre-Russo-Polish War (1921) border. Poland gained territory in the West from Germany along the ‘Oder-Neisse Line’. Stalin, now satisfied, agreed to promise ‘free elections’ for Poland. Eastern Europe – Stalin agreed that Eastern Europe would be able to have ‘free elections’. This was seen as a major victory for USA/UK.


19 The Yalta Conference – Feb 1945
Japan – Stalin now promised to enter the war against Japan but demanded territory in return from Japan as ‘reward’ – South Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands. United Nations – Stalin agreed that the USSR would join the UN. They would be a 5-permanent member Security Council, each with the power of veto. Conclusions – Main outcomes were the agreement on the United Nations; Soviet agreement to join the Pacific War; and the ‘Declaration for Liberated Europe’ pledging democratic governments and free elections in all European countries.

20 How did the Yalta Conference effect Superpower Relations?

21 The Polish Question The London Poles - Thousands of Poles escaped from Poland in 1939 when they were invaded by Germany and the USSR. Members of the government, armed forces and over 100,000 refugees fled to France. They moved to London after the fall of France in 1940. The London Poles were opposed to any deals with the Soviets. They were against the proposal at Yalta to move the borders of their country. They demanded that if they were to sacrifice land, they must have cast-iron guarantees the Poland’s government would be ‘free’ after the war.

22 The Polish Question The London Poles played a key role in the Warsaw Rising. When the Red Army reached Warsaw, Polish Underground Forces, commanded by the London Poles, rose up against the Germans. Instead of assisting, Stalin ordered the Red Army to stop. The Nazis brutally put down the rebellion, killing almost 200,000 resistance fighters. The Soviets then moved in and ‘liberated’ Warsaw and Poland, putting their own government in place – the Lublin Poles.

23 The Polish Question The Lublin Poles – Were a generally pro- Soviet group. In July 1944, a ‘Committee of National Liberation’ was set-up in Soviet controlled Lublin in eastern Poland. They became known as the Lublin Committee, stating they wished to work with the Soviet Union. They agreed to the Curzon Line and other reforms. The USSR recognised this group as the only lawful authority in Poland and refused to work with the London Poles.

24 The Potsdam Conference
The finally conference took place at Potsdam in Germany in July Joseph Stalin represented the USSR, Harry S Truman the USA and Clement Atlee represented the UK. By this time, Germany had fully surrendered. President Roosevelt had died and was replaced by the hard-line Harry S. Truman. Winston Churchill lost the 1945 general election to the Labour Party Leader, Clement Atlee. On the second day of the Conference, 17th July 1945, the USA successfully tested its first atomic bomb.


26 The Potsdam Conference
The State of the War – Germany had surrendered and Japan was on the verge of defeat. The USA was planning to use its new atomic bomb against Japan. Germany – They agreed to deal with Germany in their own ways in their own zones. German economy to be run ‘as a whole’ but was limited to domestic industry and agriculture. USSR would receive 25% of their reparation bill from the Western Zones. Eastern zone would give food in exchange.

27 The Potsdam Conference
Poland – Truman was not happy over Poland. He demanded that the Polish government be ‘re-organised’ – more London Poles within government and ‘free elections’. Eastern Europe – Truman was unhappy with the ‘percentages agreement’ between the UK/USSR. He didn’t want Eastern Europe to become a Soviet ‘sphere of influence’ – but he didn’t have any choice – Stalin was unwilling to budge.

28 The Potsdam Conference
Japan – On 6th August 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped. The second on Nagasaki was dropped on 9th August. However Truman did not tell Stalin the full story and even boasted of his ‘new power’ to Stalin. Truman did not encourage Stalin to join the war against Japan. United Nations – UN became a reality and was officially created at the Treaty of San Francisco in The USA, USSR, France, Britain and Nationalist China would be the 5 permanent members.

29 How did the Potsdam Conference effect Superpower Relations?

30 The final breakdown of the Alliance
Despite agreement over the United Nations, the division of Germany and Poland’s new borders, many disagreements remained unresolved. Stalin had taken over Eastern Europe and it seemed unlikely he would allow free elections. The USSR was also threatened by the atomic bomb – it deepened mistrust between the Allies. Between , six key developments contributed to the breakdown of the Grand Alliance:

31 1. Soviet take-over of Eastern Europe
The USSR slowly gained increasing political control over Eastern Europe. The Soviets used ‘Salami Tactics’ to defeat the opposition – slicing off political parties one by one. By 1946, many Moscow- trained communists leaders returned to Eastern Europe, ensuring that post-war governments would be dominated by Moscow. In the Polish ‘free elections’ of January 1947, 246 candidates were disqualified, 149 arrested and 18 murdered. 50,000 people were deported to Siberia. Hardly ‘free’!

32 2. Soviet Pressure on Iran
The USSR also tried to increase its control of Iran. It was agreed at the Tehran Conference that the British and Soviets would withdraw after the war. UK troops left but Stalin left 30,000 troops in the north, claiming they were needed to restore order. Iran complained to the UK and USA. On 1st January 1946, Stalin again refused to withdraw. In March, Iran referred the case to the United Nations. Under this pressure, Moscow pulled out.


34 3. Instability in Greece and Turkey
After the Second World War there were anti-imperialist, nationalist and pro-communist rebellions in Greece and Turkey. The British struggled to contain these threats. They believed that the USSR was supporting the rebellions. Churchill's was particularly annoyed at Stalin’s disregard for their ‘Percentages Agreement’ – Greece and Turkey was supposed to be under the West’s ‘sphere of influence’.


36 4. Communism in Italy and France
In post-war Europe, Communist parties in Italy and France grew stronger, threatening to take-over these Western Democracies. This was due to the economic hardships these countries faced. The US and UK were suspicious – they believed Moscow was encouraging them. This gave the impression that the Communists were trying to take-over Western Europe as well.

37 5. Kennan’s Long Telegram
In February 1946, a key US diplomat in Moscow, George F. Kennan, sent a telegram to the US State Department, describing Soviet foreign policy. His views would have a lasting influence on the State Department throughout the Cold War, helping to shape the policy of ‘containment’. He argued that the USSR was ‘fanatically and implacably’ hostile to the West; and only listens to the ‘logic of force’.

38 6. Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech
On 5th March 1946, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri with President Harry S. Truman. Churchill, angered by the failure of the USSR to implement free elections, used the phrase ‘iron curtain’ to warn the world about the Soviet take-over of Eastern Europe. The speech was a defining moment in the Cold War – Stalin replied by comparing Churchill to Hitler! The Grand Alliance had finally broken down – they both now viewed each other as enemies.

39 “…From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind the line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern Europe – Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia. All these famous cities and the populations around them lie in the Soviet sphere and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and increasing measure of control from Moscow… The Communist Parties, which were very small in all these eastern states of Europe, have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control. Police government are prevailing in nearly every case… Whatever conclusions may be drawn from these facts… this is certainly not the liberated Europe we fought to build up. Nor is it one which contains the essentials of a permanent peace…” Winston S. Churchill, Address at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, 5th March 1946

40 Stalin’s Reaction to the Speech
Within a week Stalin had compared Churchill to Hitler, seeing the speech as ‘racist’ and a ‘call to war with the Soviet Union’. Stalin then: Withdrew from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Stepped up anti-Western propaganda Initiated a new five-year plan of self- strengthening The Iron Curtain speech was therefore significant in hardening opinions and defining the new frontline in what was being seen as a new war. The Grand Alliance was clearly now dead!

41 Paper 2 - Exam Question 1 (2011)
“The Potsdam Conference marked the end of the wartime alliance and laid the foundations for post-war hostility.” With reference to the period up to 1949, to what extent do you agree with this statement? (20 marks) Candidates are expected to address the causes of the Cold War in their answers to this question. Events up to the Potsdam Conference should be well known and it is likely that mention will be made of the introduction of Truman and Attlee (less on Attlee perhaps) to the peacemaking process as well as their relationship with Stalin. The structure of the question invites candidates to argue in favour and/or against the statement. In agreement with the statement, candidates may argue that ideological differences were fundamental obstacles to continued cooperation once the common enemy was defeated. It may be that some candidates will go back to the 1917 revolution to support this analysis. This is acceptable as long as the focus remains firmly on the question. Candidates may also argue that Truman had a different approach from Roosevelt, which meant that US–Soviet relations were likely to worsen. Evidence for this may include Truman’s meeting with Molotov in April 1945 as well as Truman’s mention of a “new weapon” to Stalin at Potsdam. Also, disagreements over the future development of war-ravaged Germany could be mentioned, including the discussions over reparations and how these contributed to post-war tension. Against the statement, it could be argued that by the meeting at Potsdam there was already an understanding among the Big Three that post-war Europe would be restructured along the lines of “spheres of influence”, as indicated by discussions at Teheran and Yalta. It was already clear that Stalin wanted new borders for the USSR and Poland, and the Moscow Conference of 1944 had touched upon “spheres of influence” throughout Eastern and Central Europe. The USSR had also agreed to join the United Nations and was planning to enter the war against Japan. The Allied Control Council was in place and Germany divided into zones of occupation. In this way, it could be argued that there was broad agreement on significant issues. Candidates may then go on to propose that it was not until 1946, or after, that relations worsened, and this argument could be supported by an analysis of the Long Telegram, Iron Curtain Speech, Truman Doctrine, COMECON, Berlin Blockade, etc. Do not expect all of the above but do expect good factual supporting evidence. Historiography should complement rather than dominate the answer.

42 Paper 2 - Exam Question 2 (2009)
For what reasons, and with what results, were there disagreements between participants at the conferences of Yalta and Potsdam in 1945? (20 marks) Candidates should be able to explain why there were disagreements or grounds for possible antagonism between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at the conference of Yalta, and Attlee, Truman and Stalin at Potsdam, which took place in order to plan for the situation at the end of the Second World War. The meeting at Yalta in the Crimea took place between 4–11th February Among matters agreed were the disarmament and partition of Germany, the establishment of the United Nations, and the declaration by USSR of war on Japan after Germany was defeated. The Potsdam Conference lasted from 17th July to 2nd August, It was confirmed that Germany should be temporarily divided into four occupation zones, but political differences began to emerge. Reasons for disagreements could be: clash of personalities; different ideologies; past actions, before and during the war; mutual suspicion and fear; illness; change of participants at Potsdam. Policies which caused disagreement included: post-war settlement of Europe; treatment of Germany; reparations; Poland. Results could include: break up of war time alliance; increase of mutual fear and suspicion; onset of the Cold War; division of Germany; establishment of Soviet satellite states. N.B. if only one conference is mentioned mark out of [12 marks]. [0 to 7 marks] for vague general sweeping assertions. [8 to 10 marks] for narrative accounts of the conferences, with implicit disagreements. [11 to 13 marks] for focus on reasons and result with explicit attention to disagreements. [14 to 16 marks] for structured analysis of reasons, results and differences. [17 + marks] for perceptive analysis and perhaps different interpretations.

43 1-3 No understanding of question, Little or no structure, Unsupported generalisations 4-5 Little understanding of question, knowledge present but insufficient detail, historical context barely understood, lack of focus 6-7 Some understanding of question, knowledge is limited in quality & quantity, underdeveloped understanding of historical context and processes, question partially addressed. 8-9 Question generally understood, relevant knowledge present but unevenly applied, knowledge is narrative or descriptive in nature, may be limited argument/analysis, attempt to place events in historical context, attempt at structure 10-12 Question is understood but not all implication considered, knowledge largely accurate, critical commentary/analysis may be present, events in context, maybe awareness of different interpretations, clear structure 13-15 Clearly focused on question, relevant in-depth knowledge applied as evidence, in-depth analysis/critical commentary used but not consistent, historiography may be used to substantiate, events placed in context 16-20 Clearly structured and focused, full awareness of question, may challenge it, detailed specific knowledge uses evidence to support assertions, evaluates different interpretations, understands context and processes well

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