Several differences of opinion between Western and Soviet leaders after the war were related to their divergent interpretations of immediate war and post-war conferences. At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, they failed to reach firm agreements on crucial post-war issues, such as the occupation and reparations of Germany after the war. Given Russia`s historical experience with frequent invasions and the huge number of war dead (estimated at 27 million euros), the Soviet Union has attempted to increase security by dominating the internal affairs of its neighbouring countries. Stalin was determined to use the Red Army to take control of Poland, dominate the Balkans and destroy Germany`s ability to wage another war. On the other hand, the United States wanted military victory, the conquest of America`s global economic domination and the creation of an intergovernmental body to promote international cooperation. The key to the U.S. security vision was a post-war world shaped by the principles of the 1941 Atlantic Charter, a liberal international system based on free trade and open markets. This would require a rebuilt capitalist Europe, with a healthy Germany at the centre, to once again serve as a hub in world affairs. In March 1947, President Truman, a Democrat, asked the Republican-controlled Congress to use $400 million in aid to the Greek and Turkish government, and then to fight communist subversion. Truman promised to support « free peoples who oppose an attempt at submission by armed minorities or external pressure. » This promise is known as the Truman Doctrine. The speech, which presents the subject as a powerful conflict between « totalitarian regimes » and « free peoples, » marks the beginning of the Cold War and the adoption of containment as the official policy of the United States. Congress took the money.
February 1956: The 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, in February 1956, publicly denounces Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev for aspects of Stalin`s regime, including Stalin`s harsh political purges and his « cult of the person. » Khrushchev also reversed Stalinist policy by calling for « peaceful coexistence between states with different political and social systems. » This marked the beginning of a brief relaxation of the strictest forms of censorship in the Soviet Union. Nixon and Brezhnev proclaimed a new era of « peaceful coexistence » and established the new revolutionary policy of détente (or cooperation) between the two superpowers. Meanwhile, Brezhnev tried to revive the Soviet economy, which declined in part due to high military spending. Between 1972 and 1974, the two sides also agreed to strengthen their economic relations, including agreements to increase trade. Following their meetings, the détente would put an end to hostility and the two countries would live on top of each other.  The Soviet Union and the United States have remained far apart over the next three decades of conflict over the superpowers and the nuclear and missile race. In the early 1970s, the Soviet regime proclaimed a policy of détente and aspired to strengthen economic cooperation and disarmament negotiations with the West. However, the Soviet attitude towards human rights and their invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 created new tensions between the two countries. These tensions continued until dramatic democratic changes from 1989 to 1991 led to the collapse of the communist system over the past year, paving the way for an unprecedented new friendship between the United States and Russia, as well as with the other new nations of the former Soviet Union. FIRST FOREIGN MINISTERY MEETING, LONDON, SEPTEMBER 11 TO OCTOBER 2, 1945, Secretary Byrne`s Report, October 5, 1946 June-July 1974: Moscow Summit The Watergate scandal and the imminent resignation of President Nixon overshadowed the Moscow Summit in June and July 1974, limiting expectations on both sides.