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The relations between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1917–91) succeed the relations between the Russian Empire and the United States (1776–1917) and predate the post-Soviet Russo-United States relations (1992–present). Full diplomatic relations between the two countries were established late due to U.S. hostility towards communism. During World War II the two countries were for a brief period, allies. At the end of this war, the first signs of post-war mistrust and hostility began to appear, escalating into the Cold War, a period of tense and hostile relations between the two countries, with periods of détente.

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Pre-World War II relations

Following the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, the US government was profoundly hostile to Soviet Russia. The United States extended its embargo of Germany to include Russia, and orchestrated a series of covert actions against Soviet Russia, including secretly funding its enemies. US Secretary of State Robert Lansing yearned for a military dictatorship for Russia of the type tsarist General L. G. Kornilov attempted to establish in 1917.[1] [2]The United States together with other Western powers and Japan decided to invade Russia in 1918. The United States landed thousands of troops at Vladivostok and at Archangel.[3]

Beyond the Russian Civil War, relations were also dogged by the the claims of American companies to receive compensation for the nationalized industries that they had invested in. This was later resolved with the U.S. promising to take care of such claims.

World War II (1939–45)

Though operational cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union was notably less than that between other allied powers, the United States nevertheless provided the Soviet Union with huge quantities of weapons, ships, aircraft, rolling stock, strategic materials, and food through the Lend-Lease Program. The Americans and the Soviets were as much as for war with Germany as for the expansion of an idealogical sphere of influence. During the war, Truman stated that it did not matter to him if a German or a Russian soldier died so long as either side is losing.

Cold War (1945–91)

The end of World War II saw the resurfacing of previous divisions between the two nations. The expansion of Soviet influence into Eastern Europe following Germany's defeat worried the liberal democracies of the west, particularly the United States, which had established virtual economic and political primacy in Western Europe. The two nations promoted two opposing economic and political ideologies and the two nations competed for international influence along these lines. This protracted a geopolitical, ideological, and economic struggle—lasting from about 1947 to the period leading to the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991—is known as the Cold War.

The Soviet Union detonated its first atomic weapon in 1949, ending the United States' monopoly on nuclear weapons. The United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a conventional and nuclear arms race that persisted until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

After Germany's defeat, the United States sought to help its Western European allies economically with the Marshall Plan. The United States extended the Marshall Plan to the Soviet Union but under such terms the Americans knew the Soviets would never accept, namely, the acceptance of free elections not characteristic of Stalinist communism. With its growing influence on Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union sought to counter this with the Comecon in 1949, which essentially did the same thing, though was more an economic cooperation agreement instead of a clear plan to rebuild. The United States and its Western European allies sought to strengthen their bonds and spite the Soviet Union. They accomplished this most notably through the formation of NATO which was basically a mutual defense agreement. The Soviet Union countered with the Warsaw Pact, which had similar results with the Eastern Bloc.

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End of the Cold War

In November 1989 both the United States and the Soviet Union declared an end to the Cold War causing relations between the United States and the Soviet Union to warm up. In 1991 the two former rivals (the United States and the Soviet Union) were partners in the Gulf War against longtime Soviet ally Iraq.

See also

References

  1. ^ Humanities and Social Sciences On-Line, Review of book by David S. Foglesong, America's Secret War Against Bolshevism: U.S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917-1920, http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=489
  2. ^ David S. Foglesong, America's Secret War Against Bolshevism: U.S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War 1917-1920, Chapter 5, "American Intelligence Gathering, Propaganda and Covert Action in Revolutionary Russia" http://books.google.com/books?id=RUHn9nCC9EoC&dq=US+intervention+in+Russia&printsec=frontcover&source=in&hl=en&ei=0AM9S4uLMIOXlAf6pMSBBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=11&ved=0CDEQ6AEwCg#v=onepage&q=US%20intervention%20in%20Russia&f=false
  3. ^ The National Archives, Prologue Magazine, Winter 2002, Vol. 34, No. 4, “Guarding the Railroad, Taming the Cossacks The U.S. Army in Russia, 1918 - 1920,” http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2002/winter/us-army-in-russia-1.html

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