Example Essay - To what extent were Soviet policies responsible for the outbreak and development of the Cold War between 1945 and 1949?
Comments - This essay was awarded 18/20 points.
In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville alluded to inevitable conflict between the US and the USSR when he stated that “they alone are proceeding …along a path to which no limit can be perceived”.  This conflict took shape as a result of Soviet policy between 1945-9. The USSR defied agreements made over Poland and subsequently expanded Soviet influence over the area. Furthermore, its aggressive policies during the Czechoslovakian Coup of 1948 fuelled tensions between America. Aggressive Soviet foreign policy defied Western goals of self-determination outlined in the ‘Declaration for Liberated Europe’, and this led to the outbreak and development of the Cold War.
Tensions between the US and the Soviet Union were rooted in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The USSR emerged as the first Communist state in the world, and ideological differences with the West saw the shaping of a strained and hostile relationship in the period until the end of World War II. The fate of the post-war world was the main question resulting from the end of the war, and this was uncertain because the balance of power in the world became polarized. The US and the USSR emerged powerful at the end of the war, however conflict between them resulted from the hostile policies of one nation—this hostility came from the USSR.
The USSR did not honour the self-determination of post-war Poland which was agreed to at Yalta, and this lead to the development of the Cold War. At Yalta, Stalin insisted that the Soviets gain territory through the post-war borders of Poland and as a result the Curzon Line was created.  This defied the borders established after the Russo-Polish War of 1921, which angered the Polish people because what was rightfully theirs was forced from them by the Soviets.  Western leaders...