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Supporting evidence

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Now look at the rest of the paragraph.

Would you say that all the sentences in the paragraph are relevant to the main point.



Does the student persuade you that "there was an escalation of rhetoric"? Is sufficient evidence provided?

In 1946, an escalation of rhetoric began between the West and the Soviets. Stalin, the Soviet leader, made a speech on the eve of the election of the Supreme Soviet which, although not particularly threatening or expansionist were misconstrued by many analysts, including Justice William Douglas who believed that it was "the declaration of World War Three" 1.These comments worried Washington, who requested an explanation and background information on the meaning of the speech from the American ambassador in Moscow, George F. Kennan. Kennan then sent back a 5,540-word telegram to Washington on the 22nd of February 1946, outlining his beliefs that the Soviet Union was a "political force committed fanatically to the belief that with [the] US there can be no permanent modus vivendi" 2. He claimed that the Soviets were "highly sensitive to the logic of force." Kennan's telegram was widely circulated throughout the Washington administration, and was followed soon after by the "declarations of Cold War" 3 by Churchill and Stalin. Churchill, now opposition leader in Britain, in his Fulton speech, called for a military alliance between the English-speaking western nations, outside the United Nations, that could resist the "iron curtain [that] has descended across the continent" 4. Stalin responded in an interview with the Russian newspaper Pravda saying that Churchill was sowing "the seeds of dissention among the Allied states" 5. and that the British opposition leader was the heir of Hitler's racial supremacy beliefs. Stalin said "Mr. Churchill's position is a war position, a call for war on the U.S.S.R." 6.


  1. LaFaber, Walter, America, Russia and the Cold War 1945-1984, fifth edition (New York, 198 pg. 38.
  2. Kennan, George F, Telegram from the American Embassy in Moscow, 22 Feb. 1946. Reprinted in Copland and Hancock (ed.) World War II: Crushing of the Axis - A Course Handbook. (Melbourne 2000).
  3. LaFaber, Walter, America, Russia and the Cold War 1945-1984, pg 40.
  4. Churchill's Fulton speech, "The Sinews of Peace" 5 March 1946. Reprinted in Copland and Hancock (ed.) World War II: Crushing of the Axis - A Course Handbook . (Melbourne , 2000), pg 214-215.
  5. Stalin's interview with Pravda, 13 March 1946. Reprinted in Copland and Hancock (ed.) World War II: Crushing of the Axis - A Course Handbook . (Melbourne , 2000), pg 214-217.
  6. Ibid

Comments

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Ian: This is really good writing, because all the information in the paragraph relates back to that first sentence. Evidence for the student's claim is laid out very clearly.

In history essays, we always need to defend our claims as statements of the truth - and we do this mainly by referring to the primary evidence. A common problem in students' essays is that statements are made about the past, but these statements are often just left hanging - there is little attempt to support them - and so we are unlikely to be persuaded that this is in fact what did happen.

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