· In the years following World War Two, The United States ruled the global affairs for years to come. · 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.
· The Americans 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 1945. · 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. · Harry S. Truman was the successor to the legendary Franklin D. Roosevelt as the 33rd President of the United States of America.
· Harry 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. · Roosevelt had not confided in him about complex post-war issues and he had very little prior experience in International affairs. · Quote “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. · True 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 handling.
· Harry 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 · Containment of the Soviet Union became Americas top priority throughout the post war years.
· Pointing 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 · The 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 the Bosporus. · When 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. · However, 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.
· Containment 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. · Post 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. · The 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. · On June 23rd 1948 Soviet forces blocked off all access to Berlin, via road and rail, cutting themselves off from their former allies. · These 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.
· Soviet Dominion of Eastern Europe alarmed the West. The US led the effort to create military alliances to complement economic efforts at containment. · In 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. · The 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. · The 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. · During World War 2 the nationalist government under Chiang Kai-shek and the communist forces waged a civil war even as they fought against Japan.
· In 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. · The 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. · The 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. · When 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. · Truce 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.
· Cold 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. · Two 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. · Dwight 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 nomination. · Still 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. · In 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 by communism. · Eisenhower’s 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. · In 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. · In 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.
· The 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. · Foreign 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 soviet attack. · When 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.
· Congress 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 prison. · The 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 ·