The Paris Negotiation- July 1947 :
Britain, France and Russia attended the Paris conference in 1947. Stalin sent Molotov to Paris to discuss further details of the Marshall plan and how it will be executed. The Soviet Union wanted financial aid from the USA without any further requests to it, however Britain and France rejected this idea and said that the European states should draw up a joint programme for spending the aid. Stalin was horrified by this and immediately told Molotov to leave the conference, due to the fact that Stalin knew that the joint programme would let US economic power to overthrow and undermine Soviet influence in Eastern Europe. Bevin ( who had done a lot to get this result) was happy about Molotov’s actions in leaving the conference as, he did not want USSR interfering in talks with the USA. This also shows, that Molotov’s action in leaving the conference marked the beginning of the formation of a Western Bloc. On the 16th of July further detail of the Marshall plan began in Paris. Eastern European countries did not attend as Stalin stopped them from attending. It was difficult to come to an agreement as each Western European state had its own agenda.
In the end it was decided that :
- all the states ( Western states) promised to liberalise trade and France agreed to start negotiations for custom union.
- Germany’s economic revival
- cooperation in the development of hydroelectric sources ( setting up production targets for coal, agriculture, refined oil and steel.)
The Soviet response to the Marshall aid- September 1946:
Dollar Imperialism– Imperialism is a policy of extending control or authority over foreign countries as a means maintenance of empires, either through direct territorial conquest or settlement, or through indirect methods of exerting control on the politics and economy of other countries. The term is often used to describe the policy of a country in maintaining and dominating over distant lands, regardless of whether the country calls itself an empire. ( said by Stalin which is due to the result of the Marshall Plan as it can now overthrew and undermine Communist influence over European countries).
- By Stalin telling the Eastern European countries to not attend the Paris conference marked the end of the Soviet Union cooperation with the USA. In September 1949 Stalin invited the leaders of the Eastern European, French and Italian communist parties to establish the setting up of the Communist Information Bureau ( also known as Cominform). This is where it would co-ordinate the policies and tactics of the communist parties in both the satellite states and Western Europe. This is where it ensured that they were all working towards the same goals, and that they were friendly towards the Soviet Union.Also it was set up to create ideological unity in Eastern Europe, but however in 1949 it was no longer that effective. In addition to that, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance ( Comecon) was a respond from the USSR towards the Marshall plan. This was when the countries supported each other financially. The only effective way that was strengthening the Eastern bloc was the co-operation between signed between the USSR and the satellite states. In the treaty it stated the following agreements:
- mutual defence agreement
- ban on joining NATO
- the recognition of equality and non-interference in other countries internal affairs
Stalin responded to the Marshall Aid:
Politically- to make sure that the Easter European countries were in the sphere of influence of Soviet control, and this was helped by placing the Red army in Eastern Europe to maintain control over the countries preventing them from rebelling. Also, the Communist parties were no longer allowed to work with any other parties except for themselves as Stalin was no longer willing to co-operate. This was emphasised by the creation of Cominform.
Economically- by the creation of Comecon.
Military- by putting the Red army throughout Eastern European countries to maintain control.
All of these steps helped Stalin take over Eastern Europe as he did everything he could to maintain and impose his control on the Eastern European countries, for example by placing the Red army throughout all the countries to help maintain control and to make sure that the communist countries are loyal to Stalin.
The Takeover of Eastern Europe:
Stalin asserted his authority across Eastern Europe according to Churchill by establish an “iron curtain- which has descended across the continent”. Stalin increased his control and territory in Eastern Europe by imposing or influencing control over countries in Eastern Europe especially certain countries that were geographically important in the protection of the USSR. Stalin attempted to control Yugoslavia’s and Albania’s aggressive plans for a Balkan union. Poland and Romania, were important for USSR’s security. These countries went through a socialist revolution and as a result were already in reality Soviet satellite states. Stalin influenced Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Finland and even Bulgaria to accept the policy of communism instead of directly imposing control over these countries. Furthermore, as the Cold War started to develop more faster Stalin began to impose a much more uniformed pattern on Eastern Europe.
Stalin set up a Provisional Government in June 1945 which he in reality ruled and he let the leader of the government in exile join in the new Government ( from the Polish Peasants Party). The government in Poland consisted of people that were chosen by Stalin who knew they were loyal to him and would not disobey his orders. Stalin knew that if free elections happened in Poland he would lose his control over the country, therefore he used terror and made up electoral results giving him 394 seats while Mikolajczyk and the Polish Peasant Party only had 28 in the election held in January 1947. Mikolajczyk resigned in protest and wanted the USA o intervene but they didn’t as they knew Poland was under the soviet sphere of influence. Therefore, it shows how the government in Poland was strictly controlled by Stalin.
At first the elections held in Hungary in November 1945 were free elections as the Communists only gained 17% in the Coalition government. Even though after two years the government and press was still free, Stalin and the Red army were still occupying Hungary. However, in 1947 the leader of the most powerful opposition group against Communists were defeated and arrested by Soviet troops for conspiring against the operation. Also, in August 1947 elections happened and the Communists still didn’t achieve total control, however by the end of 1947 Hungary was becoming part of the Soviet Bloc which is what Stalin intended on.
In Czechoslovakia, a postwar social revolution had been carried out by an alliance of socialists and Communists. The election in May 1946 was carried out in which the Communists won 38% of the votes. The leader of Czechoslovakia wanted the country to remain a bridge between the East and the West, however when the Marshall Plan and Cominform was established tension raised in the country. The Czech cabinet in July attended the Paris conference on the Marshall Plan however the Soviet government that the Americans were trying to create a Western bloc and isolate the Soviet union.
In Yugoslavia the Communist Party had won power independently over the Soviet forces. The peoples front was a bloc of parties that was dominated by the Yugoslavian Communist government won most of the votes in the November elections. The leader Tito was able to implement a revolution based on the Stalinist model.
Romania was an important security zone for the Western powers. Stalin wanted to consolidate his position in Romania as it would be a threat to the Western Powers security. Therefore, in March 1946 the Socialist Party agreed to go unite with the Communists and they were presented with an electoral bloc and as a result it won 80% of the votes.
Bulgaria was already under Soviet influence but for Stalin to maintain his control over Bulgaria he forced the Communist dominated government to include two members of capitalist ways. However, when they started to bring change Stalin (already had forced his control on Bulgaria) gave the government a series of plans to get rid of the opposition. In October elections took place the opposition parties won over a third of the votes, however when the Truman Doctrine was established and USA became more involved in Greece it meant that Bulgaria became a country in defence of Communism. Therefore, this shows how controlled Bulgaria’s government is as it Communism was imposed upon them.
The Baltic States were re-occupied by the USSR in 1944. The Soviet Union adopted a policy of sovietisation in order to main control in the Baltic States. This is where the countries were forced to adopt the way of life modelled in the Soviet Union. This shows how Communism is being enforced on to the Baltic States. Sovietisation was aimed to weaken the Baltic states national identity as this was achieved through large scale industrialisation and attacks on their national culture. In the Baltic States communism was enforced upon them as USSR did everything they could to get rid of resistance against them ( for example massive deportations).