Offner, Arnold, "Provincialism and Confrontation: Truman’s Responsibility" in Major Problems in American Foreign Relations, Volume II. Gaddis, John Lewis, "Two Cold War Empires: Imposition vs. Multilateralism," in Major Problems in American Foreign Relations, Volume II The Cold War was the longest war in which the United States has ever partaken and is the only war that involved little to no fighting. After researching the events, reading historical opinions, and listening to lectures in class, I have come to the realization that the war was just an exaggerated argument between two neighbors over which model fence, wood or metal, they would allow in their yards. One neighbor, President Truman, wanted Democracy, and the other
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From the West’s perspective, the question of whether the Soviets would expand their influence beyond whatever land they occupied after the war began going through the heads of Western leaders. Stalin had suggested, according to Gaddis, that the Soviet Union would impose its own social system as far as its armies could reach. However, Stalin was determined to do nothing that might involve the Soviet Union in another devastating war unless he was certain they could win it. Gaddis also states that the Soviets at no point were willing to challenge the United States or Great Britain where they made their interests clear. Therefore, backing up Truman’s policy of being “tough” and not allowing previous polices of appeasement to take place. Gaddis later states that Truman should have acted sooner, but nevertheless, Truman was right in his “be tough” policy. Like Arnold, Gaddis also emphasizes that Stalin was aware that the United States and Great Britain would never allow its influence in the Mediterranean to be broken. According to Gaddis, the fact that the Soviets were not willing to act at the time only means that they were in no hurry to expand their influence until Stalin believed he could win.
Another reason for the initial lack of resistance to Soviet expansionism was that Soviet intentions did not become immediately clear. The United States were not as worried about authoritarian regimes