Word Count 1302Class Period 7Aubin RobinsonCandidate Number 000560-0350Table of Contents Section I__________________________________________________Pages Section II_________________________________________________ Pages Section III_________________________________________________Pages Works Cited________________________________________________Pages Section IThe question that will be answered with this investigation is “How did the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe affect Russian military strategy in Europe.” In the investigation, the focus will be placed on the many Eastern European countries, such as Ukraine and Georgia, Russia inherited at the end of World War II and how the Red Army decided to incorporate these new European territories into its military strategy in Europe.The History Of Russia In order to understand how the Soviet Union decided to incorporate the Eastern European countries gained after World War II, the history of Communist Russia itself must be analyzed to find out why these Eastern European Countries were so valuable to the Soviet Union. The book The History Of Russia was written by Charles E. Zigler in 1999, the Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Louisville, is about the history of Russia from its founding until the late twentieth century. The book is meant to provide people with a better understanding of the history of Russia shortly after the end of the Soviet Union and just before the start of the twenty first century. The History Of Russia is valuable because it provides insight into how the Soviet Union viewed the rest of the world, more specific the west, the goals of the Soviet Union and how the Soviet Union wanted to achieve those goals, which is useful as the book was written shortly after the end of the Cold War in 1999 and people may want answers as to why the Soviet Union did the things that they did. It’s also valuable as Zigler is the Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Louisville and teaches about Russia, meaning that he is a well qualified academic who has the credentials to talk about the Soviet Union and he teaches and is the Chair of the Political Science Department at a reputable university. The limit to the The History Of Russia is that Zigler is an American writing about the Soviet Union shortly after the Cold War ended and this could potentially be a source of bias, causing him to distort some details about the Soviet Union. The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire is a book written by Brian Crozier, the founder of London’s Institute for the Study of Conflict and writer and was a consultant on international affairs for 50 years, in 1999. The book is meant to show the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. Its valuable because it is a thorough history of the Soviet Union written shortly after the Cold War by a consultant on international affairs, someone who knew foreign policy well. The limit to this source is that Crozier had very close relations to major intelligence agencies in England and the US, meaning that he would be heavily biased against the Soviet Union. Section IIFrom 1945 to 1965, the Soviet Union was heading into the Cold War with control of almost all of the nations in eastern Europe. While this large territorial addition to the Soviet Union had its benefits, such as access to more people for labor and more natural resources, it also caused new problems for the Soviet Union. The biggest problem brought on by the occupation of eastern Europe by the Soviet Union, was the problem with Soviet military strategy and how the nations of eastern Europe would fit into this strategy. This problem with Soviet military strategy raises the question of how did the Soviet occupation of eastern Europe affect Russian military strategy? The answer is that the occupation of eastern Europe allowed the Soviet Union to utilize a more defensive strategy against western nations and it gave the Soviet Military leverage against the United States and other western nations in Europe. The Soviet occupation of eastern Europe allowed the Soviet Union to utilize a more defensive military strategy against the western nations. After WWII, Thomas Streissguth states that the Soviet Union was “Calculating that Truman was a weak leader and that anti-American sentiments were growing in Europe, the Soviets overreacted in 1947, underestimated the power of the American economy, and adopted a new defensive policy that consolidated the division of Europe.” (Streissguth 176). The Soviet union also wanted a defensive policy because “The Soviets, on the other hand, were primarily concerned with state security. Stalin was comfortable with a sphere-of-influence policy in which the Soviets would have the dominant political say”(Streissguth 169). A defensive military policy is best suited to accomplish this goal as it focuses on keeping the military within a nation’s borders, making it easy to maintain a sphere of influence along with state security, a major issue for the Soviet Military. The pursuit of a defensive military strategy was made easier after the occupation of eastern Europe. According to Charles E. Ziegler, in the years following WWII, “the USSR had incorporated parts of the Russian empire lost after the revolution-the Baltic states and Moldavia- and annexed East Prussia and new territory in Transcarpathia.” (Ziegler 104). This is a lot of territory gained by the Soviet Union and it had many benefits like more people for labor and the addition of more natural resources, like farmland or minerals. However, it also brought on a strategic military advantage for the Soviet Union, this advantage being more buffer space. According to Ziegler, one thing “Of immediate importance for Stalin was the creation of a buffer zone of friendly communist states…” (Ziegler 104) and it’s not hard to see why. Without the eastern European nations, the Soviet Union would face the same problem it did in WWII against the Germans, the problem being that enemy forces would be a short distance away from Moscow, making an invasion easy for the enemy as they would encounter very little resistance from geological or man made barriers. The extra land from the occupation also gave the Soviet Military a great asset if they could not hold off any advancing armies, time. This is because if the enemy was to push back the russian army, they would still have to cross a large amount of territory in order to get to Moscow or any other large russian city, which takes time. The time spent by advancing western troops would allow the Soviet Military to set up defenses around any areas of strategic importance, like manufacturing hubs or ports, allowing the Soviet Union to keep fighting for a longer period of time. The longer the Soviet Military could fight, the more defensive it could be when fighting western troops, wearing them down in a war of attrition and eventually pushing back any invasion from western troops. The occupation of eastern Europe also gave the Soviet Military more leverage against the United States and other western nations in Europe. The United States and the western powers after WWII held a significant amount of power and influence as they dominated the eastern half of Europe and consisted of major powers like the United States and Great Britain. Meanwhile, in the Soviet Union, things were not as good as they were for the western nations. According to Robert Service, “Multitudes of people in the USSR and Eastern Europe detested communist government, and there was no paucity of commentary in the west about Stalin.”, showing the Soviet Union’s lack of influence in eastern Europe (Service 294). The Soviet Union also lacked any major allies in eastern Europe. However, despite the lack of influence and allies in eastern Europe, the territories occupied by the Soviet Union were still valuable as leverage for two reasons. Firstly, the occupation of eastern European nations allowed the Soviet Military to display strength and power. After WWII, the Soviets thought that the western nations were trying to contain the Soviet Union by surrounding them as “The Western Allies also created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949 as a means of containing Soviet Aggression in Europe” (Ziegler 105). Service states that “Stalin feared that the Western Zone was about to be turned into a separate state that would rearm itself with the USA’s encouragement and would belong to an anti-Soviet Alliance.” ( Service 308) Also, according to Service, “In October 1949 Stalin also decided that, if the US was going to dominate western Germany, he would proceed to form a German Democratic Republic in the zone occupied by Soviet armed forces.” (Service 311). This display of military strength in an area like like western Germany was critical, as it allowed the Soviet Military to show that they could match the strength shown by the western powers. Without the ability to show that it could match the strength of the western powers, the Soviet Military would not be perceived as a serious threat. This is problematic because if the Soviet Military wasn’t perceived as a serious threat, the western nations would be more likely to attack the Soviet Union. Secondly, the occupation of eastern Europe was a way to bring and maintain control of the western powers to the negotiation table. Outside of their military strength, the Soviet Army also had another source of leverage, their eastern European territories. This is because “Eastern Europe quickly became the major bone of contention between the United States and the Soviet Union.” (Streissguth 169). This is because of the fact that “Of all Stalin’s spoils of Victory, the seizure of East Germany was by far the most threatening to his erstwhile allies in the West.” (Crozier 113). These eastern European countries scared the western powers because they knew how valuable they were to the Soviet Military as they gave the Soviet Army access to more manpower and more natural resources like food and minerals to keep the Soviet Military in good condition to fight off any western invasion. Therefore, the western nations often negotiated with the Soviet Military rather than try to fight it on the battlefield, as the western nations feared the consequences of what would happen if they didn’t work with the Soviet Military. The Soviet occupation of eastern Europe affected the Soviet military strategy in two ways. First, the occupation of the eastern European nations allowed the Red Army to utilize a defensive strategy to fight of any western invasion, as the eastern European nations gave the Soviet Union a buffer zone from the western nations in Europe, which in turn allowed the Soviet to exchange land for time in a defensive war. Second, it allowed the Soviet Military to gain leverage over the western nations as the occupation allowed the Soviet Military to show its strength to the western powers and it allowed the Soviet Military to bring the western powers to the negotiating table and control them when they got there. Section IIILooking back on my investigation, it is interesting to note the methods used by historians to obtain information. Most of the historians I used in my investigation got their sources from documents from the USSR and other European nations in the western and eastern block of Europe. However, I did have a historian that worked for intelligence agencies and got a good portion of his knowledge and information through direct contact with them. The methods used by these historians can be difficult to use at times as documents directly from the source, ie documents about Soviet military strategy, can be hard to come by. Getting information directly from and intelligence agency as an employee, like the CIA, also poses problems as it can result in bias due to the fact that you are observing events from an enemy’s perspective am not a nonpartisan one. Overall, despite these problems, the historians used as sources in my investigation provided good information about the occupation of Eastern Europe affect Soviet military strategy. Works CitedCrozier, Brian. The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire. Forum, 2000.Service, Robert W. A History of Twentieth Century Russia. Harvard Univ. Press, 1998.Streissguth, Thomas. The Rise of the Soviet Union. Greenhaven Press, 2002.Ziegler, Charles E. The History of Russia. Greenwood Press, 1999.