One reason for the start of the Cold War was the conflicting political and economic systems of the United States and Soviet Union. In the U.S. system of democracy and capitalism, citizens elect their political leaders and are free to buy and sell products in an open market. However, in the Soviet Communist system, the leaders of the Communist party chose the nation’s leaders, and government officials decided what products were available to buy.
Another reason for the outbreak of the Cold War was the disagreement over the future of Europe after World War II. The Truman administration wanted strong, stable democracies in Europe to prevent totalitarianism and to provide a market to sell U.S.products. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, on the other hand, wanted control of Eastern Europe to protect against another invasion from the west and to rebuild the Soviet Union’s own war-damaged economy.
To achieve his goals, Stalin set up Communist governments in Eastern Europe. Because these new Communist countries were dominated by the Soviet Union, they were called satellite nations. In 1946 Winston Churchill announced that Europe had been divided by an “iron curtain” into East and West, communism and capitalism. To stop further Soviet influence in Europe, the Truman administration adopted a policy of containment. Under the Truman Doctrine, the United States could send military and economic aid to any country trying to prevent a Communist takeover. To rebuild Europe after the war and encourage capitalism, the Marshall Plan provided billions of dollars to those nations that cooperated with U.S. economic goals. Germany was split in two West Germany and the Soviet-dominated East Germany. The United States also formed a defensive military alliance with its European allies called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The members of NATO pledged that an attack on one country was an attack on all.
After defeating the Japanese in World War II, the U.S. supported the Chinese