The concern the western world had with the expansion of the Soviet Union is not based only on the U.S.S.R gaining more territory but also the spread of communism. The Cold War was, in essence, a battle of clashing ideologies between democracy and communism. It is due to this that the expansion of the Soviet Union was worrisome since the principles of national political self-determination that it championed during World War Two could very well be undone by a Communist regime taking over a country.
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This is one of the reasons why the Truman Doctrine was established so that the influence of the Soviet Union, and its communist ideology, could be contained within particular borders. Without this level of containment in place, it was feared the communist insurrections could occur in multiple countries thereby resulting in the destabilization of numerous regions around the world.
There is some justification behind what Churchill stated regarding Russia securing its Western front while at the same time expressing concern about the country’s actions in Western Europe. Based on historical records during this period, it was noted that Churchill showed a considerable amount of dismay over the lack of sufficient protections placed to prevent a resurgence of Germany back into what can be described as a “wartime footing.”
Churchill, in essence, feared Germany getting back on the warpath in the future and, as such, considered Russia’s western border as a sufficient bulwark against a potential German expansion that could occur after several decades (Goedeken, 2012). On the other hand, Russia’s annexation of various Eastern European states was worrisome since it mirrored the actions of Germany before the start of World War Two. As such, Churchill feared that Russia may continue its expansion until it reached the shores of England itself.
Churchill was not actively advocating for a direct military confrontation; rather, he was implying threatening the potential use of force instead of using force itself. For example, the use of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was meant as a way of not only ending the war early but of also sending an implied message to the Soviet Union. The weapons were intended to show the military capabilities of the U.S. and the implied threat of the same bombs being used on the member states of the Soviet Union. That is why Churchill advocated for the creation of an active military since possession of one would deter any potential aggression from the Soviet Union due to the disastrous consequences that would follow.
When Churchill gave his speech, the U.S. was expanding its influence in various Western European states and other countries around the world. This was due to a combination of the Truman Doctrine as well as the fact that its industrial capability was left relatively untouched after the war was over (Gudkova, 2010).
With a massive amount of demand from a global market for American goods and the growing influence of the U.S., Churchill likely perceived the country as the most likely candidate to contain the Soviet Union. In fact, history has proven this particular point to be accurate as seen in the numerous policies and activities the U.S. has put in place to restrict the growth of communism. Many of these policies continue to be in effect today as seen in the ongoing existence of NATO as well as policies involving former states of the U.S.S.R.
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Goedeken, E. (2012). Our Supreme Task: How Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech Defined the Cold War Alliance. Library Journal, 137(5), 117.
Gudkova, V. (2010). That Through Draft Gave Lots of People a Chill. Russian Studies In Literature, 46(3), 11-50.