The Paris Peace Negotiations was held from July to October 1946 and those who attended were victorious wartime allies – the US, USSR, UK and France. They negotiated the details of peace treaties with Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Finland in 1945 after the end of WW2. Stalin and the Soviets definitely wanted financial aid from the USA but without any conditions attached. The UK and USA wanted the European states should create a joint programme set to spend the aid and not for each individual sending in their own requests…
Stalin’s Response – Information found here.
Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov walks out of a meeting with representatives of the British and French governments, signalling the Soviet Union’s rejection of the Marshall Plan. Molotov’s action indicated that Cold War frictions between the United States and Russia were intensifying.
The Cominform was set up in September 1947 by Stalin to bring together the various European communist parties. All the satellite states were members and the French and Italian communist parties were represented. Eastern Europe was to be industrialised, collectivised and centralised. States were expected to trade primarily with Cominform members and all contacts with non-communist countries were to be discouraged. The only country to object was Yugoslavia and was consequently expelled from the Cominform in 1948. Even though it remained Communist. In 1949 the Molotiv Plan was introduced, offering aid to the satellites, and another organisation known as Comecon was set up to coordinate their economic policies. The Comecon was the Eastern Bloc’s reply to the formation of the Organization for European Economic Co-Operation in Western Europe.
Stalin set up a provisional government of National Unity in June 1945 as Stalin couldn’t afford to have free elections because he believed it would result in a loss for the soviets. The Soviets used force to make up the electoral results of gaining 394 seats while the Polish Peasant Party gained only 28 seats. Even though, protests were occurring there was little the west could do to intervene as they wanted to reduce Stalin’s suspicions. littleThe government were protesting, such as Mikolajsxyk, leader of exiled Government in London, who had urged USA and Britain to intervene in the problem, but Poland was in the Soviet sphere of influence, so nothing could be done.
- Romania – The Socialist Party agreed to amalgamate with the Communists and in November the voters were presented with an electoral bloc and the opposition joined. 80% of the vote were won. There weren’t any strong leaders that could oppose the Soviets, so it helped Stalin to consolidate their position more quickly than Poland.
- Bulgaria – Stalin urged the Bulgarian Communists to set up a Labour Party In October elections took place, and the oppositions parties were winning over one-third of the total votes. So Stalin allowed the Communists to liquidate the oppositions. The Bulgarian Communists took the creation of Cominform as a cue for pressing on with its programme to nationalise industry, collectivising agriculture, which made a one-party state.
- Yugoslavia – The Communists Party won 90% of the votes in the election, and Tito was able to implement a smooth revolution based on the Stalinist model in the USSR.
- Czechoslovakia – The Communists won the vote by 38% and weren’t carried out without any violence or efforts by the Party to manipulate the vote. The Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk said he “returned as a lackey of the Soviet Government” which shows how powerless Jan was, even as a Foreign Minister.
- Hungary – Soviet influence was guaranteed through its dominating position on the Allied Control Commissions, the real governing force in Hungary. Stalin was able to insist on the Communist Party participating in the coalition government and controlling the vital Ministry of Interior. In Spring 1947, the most powerful opposition to the Communists was shattered when the leaders of the Smallholders’ Party, Bela Kocavcs, was arrested by the Soviet troops. In the August elections, they won 45% of the votes. Even though Hungary might retain some independence, it was increasingly being drawn into the Soviet bloc.