I'm not clear on a few points, Tim and Constantinople, which I hope you can explain, because I am the first to admit that I mainly read pre-1945 history. I was under the impression that the Allied leaders, i.e., Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin, divided up the map of Western and Eastern Europe quite cynically, if somewhat unofficially off the record as it were, into different spheres or zones of "interest." So C & R were willing to give over Eastern Europe to S and keep Western Europe for themselves if they could retain a significant interest in, say, a Balkan country that was technically "Eastern" but belonged to the West historically and culturally, and was of no small geopolitical significance - that is, Greece. Didn't they even agree on specific percentages of interest, in the case of Greece?
Also, didn't the Soviets renege on some of these agreements, for example free elections in places like Poland, or am I mistaken completely? I know in Czechoslovakia at least the majority of the population was behind the Communist Party and they apparently won the elections fair and square. But as I vaguely recall there were certain "incidents" with the Soviets in the immediate aftermath of the declaration of peace in Europe (and even as the first Nuremberg trial was going on, presided over by judges from all three countries, the US, the SU, and Britain), which prompted Churchill's famous (or infamous, depending on your political point of view) "Iron Curtain" speech, which is usually seen as marking a watershed in East-West relations, in other words, the beginning of the Cold War.
But if one of you or anybody else here who wants to volunteer information could outline the basic history of the causes/origins of the Cold War, that would be very helpful I think to the general discussion, because this entire topic is directly related to the issue of "Stalin's Legacy." I mean, who was to blame or was everybody involved equally to blame for the development of the Cold War?