after World War IIDeteriorationof the American-Soviet Relationship after World War IIAmerican and Soviet relations deterioratedin the decade following World War II. The three factors that had the mosteffect on that relationship were the agreements made at the Yalta Conference,the Korean War, and McCarthyism.
The agreements of the Yalta Conferencebegan the deterioration of the American-Soviet relationship. Some of thedecisions taken at Yalta pertained to Europe. The most critical of thesehad to do with the liberated nations of eastern Europe. Roosevelt and Churchillrejected Stalin’s proposal that they accept the Lublin government in Poland. Instead, the three leaders agreed on a reorganization of the Polishgovernment to include leaders from abroad- this provisional governmentto be “pledged to the holding of free and unfettered elections as soonas possible.Order now
” After the war, the Soviet Union set up a puppet governmentin Poland and the free elections promised them never surfaced. For liberatedEurope in general, the conference promised “interim governmental authoritiesbroadly representative of all democratic elements in the population andpledged to the earliest possible establishment through free elections ofgovernments responsive to the will of the people. ” Stalin agreed to thatconcession thinking that the libe4rated European nations would see theSoviet Union as their saviors and create their own communist governments. When that did not happen, Stalin wiped out all opposition and set up hisown governments in those areas. With regard to Germany, the conferencepostponed decisions on dismemberment and on future frontiers, endorsedthe EAC provisions for zonal occupation. The Yalta discussions also dealtwith the Orient, where the American Joint Chiefs were eager to secure fromStalin a precise commitment about entering the war.
Some feared that Russiawould let the United States undertake a costly invasion of Japan and thenmove into Manchuria and China at the last minute to reap the benefits ofvictory. In secret discussions with Roosevelt, Stalin agreed to declarewar on Japan within two or three months after the surrender of Germanyon condition that the Kurile Islands and southern Sakhalin be restoredto Russia and that the commercial interest of the Soviet Union in Dairen(Luda) and its rail communications be recognized. When Roosevelt obtainedthe assent of Chiang Kai-shek to these measures, the Soviet Union wouldagree “that China shall retain full sovereignty in Manchuria” and wouldconclude a treaty of friendship and alliance with the Chiang Kai-shek government. After the Chinese communists under Mao Zedong gained power, Stalin wasonly too eager to break that agreement. He abandoned all ties to the Kai-shekgovernment. The Korean War also effected the American-Sovietrelationship.
In 1948 the Russians set up a People’s Democratic Republicin North Korea, while the Americans recognized the Republic of South Korea. In June 1949 Soviet and American forces withdrew from Korea. Kim Il-sung,the communist dictator of North Korea, came to Moscow to seek Stalin’ssupport for a North Korean invasion of South Korea. Stalin gave Kim hissupport. On June 25, 1950, North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallelin a surprise invasion.
Truman wrongly saw the invasion as a Soviet effortto test the American will. If the United States did not react in Korea,he believed, the Russians would sponsor similar thrusts elsewhere; andthe result might be a third world war. The Americans saw the Soviet Unionas starting a war in Korea which led to the death of many innocent Americansoldiers and they felt hatred for the Soviets. McCarthyism was running rampantin the United States and had a profound effect on the American-Soviet relationship. The Korean war transformed McCarthys crusade form an eccentric sideshowinto a popular movement.
If communist were killing American boys in Korea,why should communists be given the benefit of the doubt in the United States. People trusted the Soviets less then they ever did. The Rosenbergs werecaught stealing nuclear secrets. Many influential people were accused ofbegin communists simply because they had different opinions. Because ofMcCarthyism, Congress passed the McCarran Internal Security Act which establisheda Subversive Activities Control Board to follow communist activities inthe United States.
After the jailing of many supposed Communists, how couldpeople trust their neighbors or friends. Everyone was suspected of beinga communist and many were brought up on charges. The hysteria spread likewildfire. It caught on in every town and city. The communists were againsteverything America was based on and since the Soviet Union was a communistcountry, they couldnt be trusted or ever given the benefit of the doubt.
In Conclusion, the Yalta Conferenceagreements, the Korean War, and McCarthyism helped to deteriorate the American-Sovietrelationship in the 1950s.