The Soviet Union, the United States and Eastern Europe: 1941–1953

Authored by: Laszlo Borhi

The Routledge Handbook of American Military and Diplomatic History

Print publication date:  June  2013
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415888479
eBook ISBN: 9781135070991
Adobe ISBN: 9781135071028


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The fate of Eastern Europe after the war was decided by the Soviet Union alone. The United States had no influence on the Soviets; Eastern Europe was Soviet military, political and economic space from the outset. Its Sovietization was a foregone conclusion and this was uninfluenced by American actions. There was no timeline for the establishment of Soviet-type regimes; the pace varied country by country. In the former satellites, Stalinization was accelerated after the peace treaties were signed. There was no rush: Marxist thought was teleological, the victory of communism was unavoidable. The question is, why the utter complacency of the United States in allowing the extension of Soviet power into the heart of Europe? I will argue that, until 1948, when the scope of Sovietization became apparent, the Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe was not so bad for the United States. Two wars started there in the space of a quarter century and the hegemony of a great power in the lands between Russia and Germany may have seemed more conducive to continental stability and peace than the full restoration of national independence and sovereignty. This also means that the reasons for the U.S.–Soviet stand-off that developed into the Cold War must be sought elsewhere.

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