Stalin's Iron Curtain

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Chapter 3.3 - How Stalin aimed to establish Soviet Security with the ‘Iron Curtain’ and Eastern buffer zones surrounding the USSR
As the Second World War had drawn to an end Stalin had two main immediate aims; the economic recovery and reconstruction of Soviet territory backed by reparations, which was already partly covered in the previous segments. The other was to establish a Soviet Sphere of influence in the occupied Eastern European countries, as a means of making a ‘buffer zone’ against future possible threats from the West. Churchill was the first to identify this by the term ‘Iron Curtain’ in his speech at Westminister College in Missouri. Stalin wanted to achieve this by having what he viewed as Soviet friendly states on his borders,
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Their 3.75 billion pound loan was close to being used up by the expensive endeavor of keeping troops around the world such as in Germany, Italy and the Middle East and Asia. Bad weather was also slowing transport, industry and coal mining. To make matters worse for Britain, Stalin had turned on his 1944 policy and had decided to back the Greek Communists against the British backed Greece Government. Since Stalin was determined to continue with this strategy it forced Britain to turn to the US for assistance, and they shortly after announced their plans to withdraw from Turkey and Greece. Truman feared what he saw as Soviet aggressive expansionism, as he probably expected that it could spread to other countries in Europe if it was given free rein in Greece. Therefore he announced in a speech what became known as his policy of containment or the ‘Truman Doctrine’ that the USSR had to be contained and that the US would help any countries facing ‘armed minorities’ or ‘outside pressure’. Stalin responded by dismissing the speech as propaganda. This was where he first went wrong by underestimating his opponents regarding their sincerity and capabilities of standing up to his own policies and to carry out the threats and promises presented. He could have attempted to reassure the US that the USSR was not seeking to expand, but by ignoring the situation he allowed it to unfold to the next step, the Marshall Plan, which gave the Western Powers the upper hand. If Stalin had considered ending his support to the Greek communists and in Turkey and had reassured the Allies that he wouldn’t interfere outside Europe it could have put them at ease and halted the creation of the Truman Doctrine since Britain’s inability to continue supporting Greece and Turkey is what led them to call to the US for help in the first place . This would also still have allowed him to pursue his policies

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