The Paris Negotiations
Britain and France called for a conference in Paris. Sixteen Western European nations attended including Turkey and Greece. Stalin sent his Foreign Minister, Molotov to represent the USSR. Molotov rejected the proposal of a joint spending programme and left the conference under Stalin’s orders.
This pleased Bevin who didn’t want the USSR interrupting the talks with the USA, a Western bloc was formed. The Eastern European countries were invited but Stalin prevented them from attending.
Each of the Countries had a different agenda and many had conflicting aims. Lists had been drawn up of the demands of each country. The Europeans wanted more money ($29 billion) than the USA was willing to provide.
Germany’s economic revival was deemed very important and would be controlled to protect its neighbours. The countries also decided to co-operate on hydroelectric sources development, coal production and refined oil and steel.
Stalin’s pressure for the Eastern European boycott of the Paris conference marked the end of his co-operation with the United States and the Grand Alliance. Molotov said that the Marshall Plan was actually dollar imperialism – the idea that America was using its involvement in Europe to create a Sphere of Influence. He held a conference in Poland inviting communist party leaders, setting up Cominform and then COMECON.
Stalin’s opposition to the Marshall Plan was clear. He aimed to control Eastern Europe in response the USA’s actions:
- Used the Red Army’s prescnce in Eastern Europe as leverage.
- Became unaccommodating to coalition governments creating solely Communist governments.
- Created Cominform.
- Created COMECON.
The Communist Information Bureau (Cominform). Cominform promoted ideological unity among the communist parties. It aimed to complete Sovietisation and co-ordinate the activities of the Soviet bloc and combat Titoism (Communism as defined by Tito). The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) was founded by the Eastern European side. It aimed to integrate the economies under the Soviet Sphere of Influence. Agriculture was collectivised, centralised economies were established and five year plans laid the foundation for heavy industry and industrialisation.
Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe
- Set up a provisional government of National Unity in June 1945
- Formed a Communist-dominated electoral block
- Britain and USA failed to help London Poles leader when he steeped down to obtain a reaction.
The government in Poland was unquestionably Communist as the bloc used terror and rigged results to outright win the election. The leader of the Polish Communist Party was dependent on assistance from the Soviets. However, Gomulka also wanted to keep Polish culture independent so was displeased with the creation of Cominform.
- Named a vital security zone
- No strong opposition leader, making Communist implementation easier.
- Socialist party joined with the communists
- Even opposition joined the electoral block
Romania’s government had been made Communist with little resistance. It was well under the Soviet Sphere of Influence.
- Carefully concealed the Communist Party’s dictatorship
- Allowed Communists to liquidate opposition due to events in Greece
Bulgaria became a highly communist nation. Cominform encouraged collectivising of agriculture, nationalising industry and creating a one-party state. Bulgaria became a front line state in the defence of Communism.
- Tito followed a revolution based on a Stalinist model
- Won power with an electoral bloc
Again, highly communist. Yugoslavia acted as Stalin’s proxy for Communism.
- Initially aimed for only a strong Communist influence, not domination
- Wanted to remain open but was forced into Communism by Stalin
Czechoslovakia wanted to act as a bridge for USA and the USSR. When two sides formed this was impossible and it was slowly pushed into Communism.
- Stalin implemented some Soviet influence but not too much
- Insisted that the Communist party be a part of the coalition government.
- Destroyed the communist opposition by arresting the leader
- Signed treaties with Yugoslavia and the USSR
Remained a more independent country with Soviet influence until 1947. Pulled into Communism when treaties were signed.
- Carried out sovietization – the adoption of a Soviet political system and way of life
- Enforced by propoganda
- Implemented large scale industrialisation and attacks on national culture, religion and freedom of expression to weaken national identities
- Used mass deportations to eliminate resistance (90,000 Baltic Nationals)
The states were re-occupied by the USSR in 1944 and was made to follow a Communist regime. They then deteriorated into a part of the Soviet Sphere of Influence.