Sample Term Paper

Division of Europe

The main issue at Potsdam and for the next two years was who would organize Europe. Britain had its chance, so too did France and Germany. Few people ever ask why Europe needed to be controlled in the first place but in the end, everyone wanted to avoid yet another war. Russia sought Poland. Everybody wanted Poland, however especially Russia. Historically, Poland had always been the vital state needed from which to launch an attack against Russia. The United States upheld the principles of self-determination, principles stated in Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Point Plan. For Wilson, nations should have the right to choose their own form of government.[1]

The Soviets viewed this demand as deplorable for it indicated that the United States was really taking too heavy a hand in determining what nations ought to adopt what exact form of government. In response, Stalin went on to create what Winston Churchill, never at a loss for words, nicknamed the Iron Curtain. For Churchill:

From Stettin on the Baltic to Trieste on the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern Europe — Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, and Sofia. From what I have seen of our Russian friends and allies during the war I am convinced that there is nothing they admire so much as strength and nothing for which they have less respect than military weakness. (Churchill 1946)

[1] Wilson in actuality meant was America’s destiny to make “the world safe for democracy”.

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