In the years
following World War Two, The United States ruled the global affairs for years
The US Leaders of the
time wanted to maintain the democratic structure that they had defended at
great sacrifice and to share the benefits of prosperity as widely as possible.
For the next 20 years
the Americans were forever confident in their approach towards matters of
conflict. They accepted to need to stand up to the Soviet Union in the Cold
War which unfolded after 1945.
endorsed the growth of government authority and accepted the new the outlines
of the welfare state.
After sometime, some
Americans began to question dominant assumptions about American life.
Many groups began to
protest against the idea, the 1950’s bought the African American rising up
and forming a crusade, which later merged with other minority groups and
women, for a larger share of the ‘American Dream’.
In the 1960s
politically active students protested the role that America took abroad in
fighting foreign powers, trying to bring peace to the world.
Around the same time
the Youth culture of the US were fighting the status quo of American values.
By the 70’s the
Americans all fought to establish a new equilibrium in the United States.
The Cold War was the
most important political issue of the early post-war period. It grew
exponentially over the following years which ended up with American troops in
trench warfare against the soviets who used guerrilla tactics to overwhelm
and overpower the Americans forcing a tactical decision by America to arm up
the Taliban to fight the soviets. This proved to be a brief success but
eventually the soviets fought back and the whole feud was settled by the
governments signing a peace treaty
In 1918 the Americans
took part in the allied invasion of the Soviet Russia on behalf of the
Anti-Bolshevik forces. This was seen as the start of the half century feud
between The US and the Soviet Union. This feud was put on hold as they were
forced to join forces against the Nazi threat between the years of 1939 and
As World War 2 was on
the tailing end antagonisms resurfaced between the two previously feuding
sides. The United States hoped to share its idea of liberty, equality and
democracy with other countries, but as the rest of the world struggled in
turmoil and with the dubious amount of civil wars happening, along with all
of the disintegrating empires the nation tried to be the harbinger of
stability to make a new a peaceful reconstruction of the world.
With the great
depression behind them, The Americans now fostered its familiar position of
free trade and sought to eliminate the trading barriers to create both
markets for agriculture and industrial products for the American people, and
to insure the ability of west European nations to export as a means to
generate economic growth.
S. Truman was the successor to the legendary Franklin D. Roosevelt as the 33rd
President of the United States of America.
Truman was seen as an unpretentious man who had previously served as a
Democratic senator from Missouri, then as vice president, Truman initially
felt ill-prepared to govern the country.
had not confided in him about complex post-war issues and he had very little
prior experience in International affairs.
“I’m not big enough for this job” he told a former colleague. Even with his
very little amount of faith in himself he managed to still work out the
issues that followed the war.
to form Harry bounced back and responded quickly to new challenges. Though impulsive
he proved willing to make quick decision about the problem he was tasked in
Truman had a sign on his desk in the white house, which read “The Buck Stops
Here”. This reflected his willingness to take responsibility for his actions.
This quote has since been featured throughout pop culture.
The Cold War developed because of the
differences about the shape of the postwar world created suspicions and
distrust between the United States and the Soviet Union.
At his first meeting with Soviet
Minister of foreign affairs Vyacheslav Molotov, Truman revealed his intention to stand firm on Polish
self-determination, lecturing the Soviet diplomat about the need to carry out
the Yalta accords.
During the closing moments on world war
2, The Soviets occupied all of Central and Eastern Europe.
Moscow used its military power to aid in
the destruction of democratic parties in Eastern Europe, Allowing the
communist parties to run uncontested in these countries
Public statements defined the beginning
of the Cold War, With both sides making bold claims. Joseph Stalin (Soviet
Leader) spoke out saying that world peace was impossible “under the present
capitalist development of the world economy.”
At the same time Winston Churchill, the
wartime president of Britain came out and delivered a dramatic speech in
Fulton, Missouri, with Harry S Truman sitting on the platform during the
address. He said “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an
iron curtain has descended across the continent.” In this same speech
Churchill claimed that the United States and Britain had to work together to
counteract the Soviet Threat
of the Soviet Union became Americas top priority throughout the post war
to Russia’s traditional sense of insecurity, George Kennan a top official at
the U.S Embassy in Moscow. Argued that the Soviet Union would not soften its stance
under any circumstances. There was a war inbound
first significant application of the containment doctrine came in the eastern
Mediterranean. Britain had been supporting Greece where communist forces
threatened the ruling monarchy in a civil war, and Turkey, where the Soviet Union
pressed for territorial concessions and for the right to build naval bases on
Britain could no longer afford to defend Greece, they reached out across the
pond to the Americans, Truman was prepared to help out. In a statement that
came to be known as the Truman doctorate, he declared that “I believe that it
must be the policy of the United states to support free people s who are
resisting subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” To end it
all of that he asked Congress to provide $400 million for economic and
military aid to Greece and Turkey, and the money was supplied.
there was a serious backlash to Truman himself and American society. That
$400 million that was sent to Greece to a serious hit towards the American
economy, But Truman had a backup plan. Truman overstated the soviet threat to
the United States. In turn, his statements inspired a wave of hysterical
anti-communism throughout the country and set the stage for McCarthyism.
also called for extensive economic aid to assist the recovery of war-torn
Western Europe. With many of the nation’s economically and politically
unstable, the US feared that local communist parties, directed by Moscow
would capitalise on the their wartime record of resistance to the Nazi’s and
come to power.
war Germany was divided with each member of the allies having their own separate
zones of occupation, with the former German Capital of Berlin, located near
the centre of the Soviet Zone.
United States, Britain and France were all discussing about converting the
zones into a single, self-governing republic. The Soviets opposed this idea
and ministerial level four power discussions on Germany broke down.
June 23rd 1948 Soviet forces blocked off all access to Berlin, via
road and rail, cutting themselves off from their former allies.
actions made the US feared that these actions from Stalin could cause the
allies to loose Germany and subsequently the whole of Europe.
· In a
case of western resolve known as the berlin airlift, Allied Aircraft took to
the sky’s and flew in supplies into berlin, it took over 250,000 flights
taking place over 231 days but the allied aircraft managed to deliver over
2,250,000 tons of goods into Berlin.
Dominion of Eastern Europe alarmed the West. The US led the effort to create
military alliances to complement economic efforts at containment.
1949, the United States and 11 other countries established the North Atlantic
Treaty Organisation, (NATO), an alliance based on the principle of collective
security. An attack against one nation was considered an attack on all 12
countries and would be met with appropriate force.
following year, The United States defined its defence. Their National
Security Council, undertook a full-fledged review of America foreign and defence
policy. The resulting document, known as NSC-68, signalled a new direction in
America security policy.
United States had their hands tied. Whilst having to deal with the communist
ideology from gaining adherents in Europe, they also had to deal with
challenges elsewhere. In China, Americans were worried about the advances of
Mao Zedong and his communist party.
World War 2 the nationalist government under Chiang Kai-shek and the
communist forces waged a civil war even as they fought against Japan.
1949 Mao Zedong announced that his new regime would be supporting the Soviets
against the ‘imperialist’ United States, it appeared communism was spreading
out of control at least in Asia.
Korean War bought the first time armed conflict had been seen between China
and America. The allies had divided Korea along the 38th parallel
after liberating it from Japan at the end of world war 2. The Soviet Union
accepted Japans surrender north of the 38th parallel; the United
States did the same in the South. Although the 38th parallel was originally
intended as a matter of military convenience, the dividing line became more
tense and rigid as the Cold war tensions escalated.
· In June
1950 North Korea sent troops across the 38th parallel and attacked
southward overrunning Seoul. Truman perceiving the North Koreans as Soviet
Pawns in the global struggle readied American forces and order General
Douglas MacArthur to Korea. During this time, The US was able to secure a UN
resolution branding North Korea an aggressor.
war seesawed back and forth. The US and Korean forces were initially pushed so
far south in an enclave around the city of Pusan. A daring amphibious landing
at Inchon, the port for the city of Seoul, drove the North Koreans back; but
as fighting neared the Chinese boarder, China entered the war, sending
massive forces across the Yalu river. U.N forces largely American, retreated
once again in bitter fighting and then slowly recovered and fought their way
back to the 38th parallel.
General Mac Arthur violated the principle of civilian control of the military
by attempting to orchestrate public support for bombing China and permitting
an invasion of the mainland of Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalist Chinese forces,
Truman charged him with insuboardination and relieved him of his duties,
replacing him with General Matthew Ridgeyway.
talks began in July 1951. The two sides finally reached an agreement in July
1953, during the first term of Dwight Eisenhower, Truman’s successor.
War struggles were also occurring in the Middle East. Strategically important
as a supplier of oil, the region appeared vulnerable in 1946, When soviet
troops failed to leave Iran as promised, even after British and American
forces had already withdrawn. The U.S demanded U.N condemnation of Moscow’s
continued troop presences. When the United States observed Soviet Tanks
entering the region, Washington readied for a direct clash. Confronted by U.S
resolve, the soviets withdrew their forces.
year on, the United states officially recognized the new state of Israel 15
minutes after it was proclaimed; A decision made by Harry Truman over strong
resistance from Marshall and the State Department. While cultivating ties
close ties with Israel, the United States still sought to keep the friendship
of arab states opposed to Israel.
D. Eisenhower who assumed the presidency in 1953, was different from his
predecessor. A war hero, he had a natural homey manner that made his widely
popular. “I like Ike.” Was ubiquitous campaign slogan of the time. In the
postwar years, he served as army chief of staff, the president of Columbia university
and finally head of NATO before seeking the republican presidential
Dwight Eisenhower shared with Truman a basic view of American foreign policy.
Eisenhower too, perceived communism as a monolithic force struggling for
world supremacy. He believed that Moscow, under leaders such as Stalin, was
trying to orchestrate worldwide revolution.
office, Eisenhower, and his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, argued
that containment did not go far enough to stop Soviet expansion. Rather, a
more aggressive policy of liberation was necessary, try free those subjugated
basic commitment to contain communism remained, and to end he increased American
reliance on a nuclear shield. The Manhattan Project during World War 2 had
created the first Atomic Bombs.
1950 Truman had authorized the development of a new and more powerful
hydrogen weapon. Now Eisenhower, in an effort to keep budget expenditures
under control, proposed a policy of ‘massive retaliation.’ Under this new doctrine
The US were prepared to use these new atomic weapons if the nation or its
vital interests were attacked.
· In practise, however Eisenhower deployed U.S
military forces with great caution, resisting all suggestion to consider the
use of nuclear weapons in Indochina, where the French were ousted by
Vietnamese communist forces in 1954, or in Taiwan, where the United States
pledged to defend the nationalism Chinese regime against attack by the
Peoples republic of China.
the Middle East, Eisenhower resisted the use of force when British and French
forces occupied the Suez Canal and Israel invaded the Sinai in 1956,
following Egypt’s nationalization of the canal. Under heavy U.S pressure,
British, French and Israel forces withdrew from Egypt.
Cold War not only had prolific effects on the international affairs but also
domestic affairs as well. Americans had long feared radical subversion, and
during the Red Scare of 1919 – 1920, the government had attempted to remove
perceived threats to American society. Even stronger effort were made after
World War 2 to root out communism with in the United States.
events and espionage scandals contributed to the anti-communist hysteria of
the period. In 1949 the Soviet Union exploded its own atomic device, which
shocked the Americans into thinking that they would be the target of the next
Republicans were victorious in the midterm congressional elections of 1946
and appeared ready to investigate subversive activity, the president
established a federal Employee Loyalty Program. Workers challenged about past
and present associations often had little chance to fight back.
on the other hand embarked on its own loyalty program. In 1947 the house
Committee on Un-American Activities investigated the motion picture industry
to determine whether communist sentiments were being reflected in films. When
some writers refused to testify, they were cited for contempt and sent to
most vigorous anti-communist warrior was Sentaor Joesph R. McCarthy, A
republican from Wisconsin. He gained national attention in 1950 by claiming
he had a list of 205 known communists in the state department, although the
figure was constantly changing and failed to apply any of his charges he had
struck a responsive pubic cord