I have been doing an in-depth study of the Cold War for a while now, and I really want to understand the main reasons why it began. There are a few questions I have regarding a few specifics that I hope somebody can shed some light on.
Firstly, I think one of the main driving forces to the beginning of the Cold War was Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech (or the Fulton speech). It is really what brought the threat of the Soviet Union to the attention of the Western Powers. However, one of the things I am having trouble grasping is the immediate impact of the speech. How was it received and what happened because of its ideas?
Secondly, what was Stalin thinking? I don't mean that to be judgemental of his actions, more as a questioning of his motives. Why was Stalin so motivated by security and economics? Why did he desire to export revolution?
Also, something important that someone might be able to answer is - did Truman, Churchill, and Stalin correctly diagnose the intentions of each other? Or were they "running the race blindfolded" at this point?
Finally, I want to consider the ending of World War II and how that played effect on the motives of the world leaders. How did they disagree and what caused these tensions? (One example of this might be regarding the Soviets, how they defeated the majority of the German military but were asked to not interfere with the nations they liberated.)