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Ministry of education, science and culture
High College of English
U. S. - Soviet relations.
Student: Pavlunina I. V.
Supervisor: Kolpakov A. V.
Chapter 1: The Historical Background of Cold War. 5
1.1 The Historical Context. 5
1.2 Causes and Interpr etations. 10
Chapter 2: The Cold War Chronology. 17
2.1 The War Years 17
2.2 The Truman Doctrine. 25
2.3 The Marshall Plan. 34
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Chapter 3: The Role of Cold War in American History and Diplomacy. 37
3.1 Declaration of the Cold War. 37
3.2 Сold War Issues. 40
The reference list. 51
This graduation paper is about U. S. - Soviet relations in Cold War period. Our purpose is to find out the causes of this war, positions of the countries which took part in it. We also will discuss the main Cold War's events.
The Cold War was characterized by mutual distrust, suspicion and misunderstanding by both the United States and Soviet Union, and their allies. At times, these conditions increased the likelihood of the third world war. The United States accused the USSR of seeking to expand Communism throughout the world. The Soviets, meanwhile, charged the United States with practicing imperialism and with attempting to stop revolutionary activity in other countries. Each block's vision of the world contributed to East-West tension. The United States wanted a world of independent nations based on democratic principles. The Soviet Union, however, tried control areas it considered vital to its national interest, including much of Eastern Europe.
Through the Cold War did not begin until the end of World War II, in 1945, U. S.-Soviet relations had been strained since 1917. In that year, a revolution in Russia established a Communist dictatorship there. During the 1920's and 1930's, the Soviets called for world revolution and the destruction of capitalism, the economic system of United States. The United States did not grant diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union until 1933.
In 1941, during World War II, Germany attacked the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union then joined the Western Allies in fighting Germany. For a time early in 1945, it seemed possible that a lasting friendship might develop between the United States and Soviet Union based on their wartime cooperation. However, major differences continued to exist between the two, particularly with regard to Eastern Europe. As a result of these differences, the United States adopted a "get tough" policy toward the Soviet Union after the war ended. The Soviets responded by accusing the United States and the other capitalist allies of the West of seeking to encircle the Soviet Union so they could eventually overthrow its Communist form of government.
The subject of Cold War interests American historicans and journalists as well as Russian ones. In particular, famous journalist Henryh Borovik fraces this topic in his book. He analyzes the events of Cold War from the point of view of modern Russian man. With appearing of democracy and freedom of speech we could free ourselves from past stereotype in perception of Cold War's events as well as America as a whole, we also learnt something new about American people's real life and personality. A new developing stage of relations with the United States has begun with the collapse of the Soviet Union on independent states. And in order to direct these relations in the right way it is necessary to study events of Cold War very carefully and try to avoid past mistakes. Therefore this subject is so much popular in our days.
This graduation paper consist of three chapters. The first chapter maintain the historical documents which comment the origins of the Cold War.
The second chapter maintain information about the most popular Cold War's events.
The third chapter analyze the role of Cold War in World policy and diplomacy. The chapter also adduce the Cold War issues.
Chapter 1: The Historical Background of Cold War.
1.1 The Historical Context.
The animosity of postwar Soviet-American relations drew on a deep reservoir of mutual distrust. Soviet suspicion of the United States went back to America's hostile reaction to the Bolshevik revolution itself. At the end of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson had sent more than ten thousand American soldiers as part of an expeditionary allied force to overthrow the new Soviet regime by force. When that venture failed, the United States nevertheless withheld its recognition of the Soviet government. Back in the United States, meanwhile, the fear of Marxist radicalism reached an hysterical pitch with the Red Scare of 1919-20. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer ordered government agents to arrest 3,000 purported members of the Communist party, and then attempted to deport them. American attitudes toward the seemed encapsulated in the comments of one minister who called for the removal of communists in "ships of stone with sails of lead, with the wrath of God for a breeze and with hell for their first port."
American attitudes toward the Soviet Union, in turn, reflected profound concern about Soviet violation of human rights, democratic procedures, and international rules of civility. With brutal force, Soviet leaders had imposed from above a revolution of agricultural collectivization and industrialization. Millions had died as a consequence of forced removal from their lands. Anyone who protested was killed or sent to one of the hundreds of prison camps which, in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's words, stretched across the Soviet Union like a giant archipelago. What kind of people were these, one relative of a prisoner asked, "who first decreed and then carried out this mass destruction of their own kind?" Furthermore, Soviet foreign policy seemed committed to the spread of revolution to other countries, with international coordination of subversive activities placed in the hands of the Comintern. It was difficult to imagine two more different societies.
For a brief period after the United States granted diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union in 1933, a new spirit of cooperation prevailed. But by the end of the 1930s suspicion and alienation had once again become dominant. From a Soviet perspective, the United States seemed unwilling to join collectively to oppose the Japanese and German menace. On two occasions, the United States had refused to act in concert against Nazi Germany. When Britain and France agreed at Munich to appease Adolph Hitler, the Soviets gave up on any possibility of allied action against Germany and talked of a capitalist effort to encircle and destroy the Soviet regime.
Yet from a Western perspective, there seemed little basis for distinguishing between Soviet tyranny and Nazi totalitarianism. Between 1936 and 1938 Stalin engaged in his own holocaust, sending up to 6 million Soviet citizens to their deaths in massive purge trials. Stalin "saw enemies everywhere," his daughter later recalled, and with a vengeance frightening in its irrationality, sought to destroy them. It was an "orgy of terror," one historian said. Diplomats saw high officials tapped on the shoulder in public places, removed from circulation, and then executed. Foreigners were subject to constant surveillance. It was as if, George Kennan noted, outsiders were representatives of "the devil, evil and dangerous, and to be shunned."
On the basis of such experience, many Westerners concluded that Hitler and Stalin were two of a kind, each reflecting a blood-thirsty obsession with power no matter what the cost to human decency. "Nations, like individuals," Kennan said in 1938, "are largely the products of their environment." As Kennan perceived it, the Soviet personality was neurotic, conspiratorial, and untrustworthy. Such impressions were only reinforced when Stalin suddenly announced a nonaggression treaty with Hitler in August 1939, and later that year invaded the small, neutral state of Finland. It seemed that Stalin and Hitler deserved each other. Hence, the reluctance of some to change their attitudes toward the Soviet Union when suddenly, in June 1941, Germany invaded Russia and Stalin became "Uncle Joe."
Compounding the problem of historical distrust was the different way in which the two nations viewed foreign policy. Ever since John Winthrop had spoken of Boston in 1630 as "a city upon a hill" that would serve as a beacon for the world, Americans had tended to see themselves as a chosen people with a distinctive mission to impart their faith and values to the rest of humankind. Although all countries attempt to put the best face possible on their military and diplomatic actions, Americans have seemed more committed than most to describing their involvement in the world as pure and altruistic. Hence, even ventures like the Mexican War of 1846 - 48 - clearly provoked by the United States in an effort to secure huge land masses - were defended publicly as the fulfillment of a divine mission to extend American democracy to those deprived of it.
Reliance on the rhetoric of moralism was never more present than during America's involvement in World War I. Despite its official posture of neutrality, the United States had a vested interest in the victory of England and France over Germany. America's own military security, her trade lines with England and France, economic and political control over Latin America and South America - all would best be preserved if Germany were defeated. Moreover, American banks and munition makers had invested millions of dollars in the allied cause. Nevertheless, the issue of national self-interest rarely if ever surfaced in any presidential statement during the war. Instead, U. S. rhetoric presented America's position as totally idealistic in nature. The United States entered the war, President Wilson declared, not for reasons of economic self-interest, but to "make the world safe for democracy." Our purpose was not to restore a balance of power in Europe, but to fight a war that would "end all wars" and produce "a peace without victory." Rather than seek a sphere of influence for American power, the United States instead declared that it sought to establish a new form of internationalism based on self-determination for all peoples, freedom of the seas, the end of all economic barriers between nations, and development of a new international order based on the principles of democracy.
America's historic reluctance to use arguments of self-interest as a basis for foreign policy undoubtedly reflected a belief that, in a democracy, people would not support foreign ventures inconsistent with their own sense of themselves as a noble and just country. But the consequences were to limit severely the flexibility necessary to a multifaceted and effective diplomacy, and to force national leaders to invoke moral - even religious - idealism as a basis for actions that might well fall short of the expectations generated by moralistic visions.
The Soviet Union, by contrast, operated with few such constraints. Although Soviet pronouncements on foreign policy tediously invoked the rhetoric of capitalist imperialism, abstract principles meant far less than national self-interest in arriving at foreign policy positions. Every action that the Soviet Union had taken since the Bolshevik revolution, from the peace treaty with the Kaiser to the 1939 Nazi-Soviet pact and Russian occupation of the Baltic states reflected this policy of self-interest. As Stalin told British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden during the war, "a declaration I regard as algebra... I prefer practical arithmetic." Or, as the Japanese ambassador to Moscow later said, "the Soviet authorities are extremely realistic and it is most difficult to persuade them with abstract arguments." Clearly, both the United States and the Soviet Union saw foreign policy as involving a combination of self-interest and ideological principle. Yet the history of the two countries suggested that principle was far more a consideration in the formulation of American foreign policy, while self-interest-purely defined-controlled Soviet actions.
The difference became relevant during the 1930s as Franklin Roosevelt attempted to find some way to move American public opinion back to a spirit of internationalism. After World War I, Americans had felt betrayed by the abandonment of Wilsonian principles. Persuaded that the war itself represented a mischievous conspiracy by munitions makers and bankers to get America involved, Americans had preferred to opt for isolation and "normalcy" rather than participate in the ambiguities of what so clearly appeared to be a corrupt international order. Now, Roosevelt set out to reverse those perceptions. He understood the dire consequences of Nazi ambitions for world hegemony. Yet to pose the issue strictly as one of self-interest offered little chance of success given the depth of America's revulsion toward internationalism. The task of education was immense. As time went on, Roosevelt relied more and more on the traditional moral rhetoric of American values as a means of justifying the international involvement that he knew must inevitably lead to war. Thus, throughout the 1930s he repeatedly discussed Nazi aggression as a direct threat to the most cherished American beliefs in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of occupational choice. When German actions corroborated the president's simple words, the opportunity presented itself for carrying the nation toward another great crusade on behalf of democracy, freedom, and peace. Roosevelt wished to avoid the errors of Wilsonian overstatement, but he understood the necessity of generating moral fervor as a means of moving the nation toward the intervention he knew to be necessary if both America's self-interest-and her moral principles-were to be preserved.
The Atlantic Charter represented the embodiment of Roosevelt's quest for moral justification of American involvement. Presented to the world after the president and Prime Minister Churchill met off the coast of Newfoundland in the summer of 1941, the Charter set forth the common goals that would guide America over the next few years. There would be no secret commitments, the President said. Britain and America sought no territorial aggrandizement. They would oppose any violation of the right to self-government for all peoples. They stood for open trade, free exchange of ideas, freedom of worship and expression, and the creation of an international organization to preserve and protect future peace. This would be a war fought for freedom—freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom of religion, freedom from the old politics of balance-of-power diplomacy.
Roosevelt deeply believed in those ideals and saw no inconsistency between the moral principles they represented and American self-interest. Yet these very commitments threatened to generate misunderstanding and conflict with the Soviet Union whose own priorities were much more directly expressed in terms of "practical arithmetic." Russia wanted security. The Soviet Union sought a sphere of influence over which it could have unrestricted control. It wished territorial boundaries that would reflect the concessions won through military conflict. All these objectives-potentially-ran counter to the Atlantic Charter. Roosevelt himself-never afraid of inconsistency-often talked the same language. Frequently, he spoke of guaranteeing the USSR "measures of legitimate security" on territorial questions, and he envisioned a postwar world in which the "four policemen"-the superpowers-would manage the world.
But Roosevelt also understood that the American public would not accept the public embrace of such positions. A rationale of narrow self-interest was not acceptable, especially if that self-interest led to abandoning the ideals of the Atlantic Charter. In short, the different ways in which the Soviet Union and the United States articulated their objectives for the war—and formulated their foreign policy—threatened to compromise the prospect for long-term cooperation. The language of universalism and the language of balance-of-power politics were incompatible, at least in theory. Thus, the United States and the Soviet Union entered the war burdened not only by their deep mistrust of each other's motivations and systems of government, but also by a significantly different emphasis on what should constitute the major rationale for fighting the war.
1.2 Causes and Interpretations.
Any historian who studies the Cold War must come to grips with a series of questions, which, even if unanswerable in a definitive fashion, nevertheless compel examination. Was the Cold War inevitable? If not, how could it have been avoided? What role did personalities play? Were there points at which different courses of action might have been followed? What economic factors were central? What ideological causes? Which historical forces? At what juncture did alternative possibilities become invalid? When was the die cast? Above all, what were the primary reasons for defining the world in such a polarized and ideological framework?
The simplest and easiest response is to conclude that Soviet-American confrontation was so deeply rooted in differences of values, economic systems, or historical experiences that only extraordinary action— by individuals or groups—could have prevented the conflict. One version of the inevitability hypothesis would argue that the Soviet Union, given its commitment to the ideology of communism, was dedicated to worldwide revolution and would use any and every means possible to promote the demise of the West. According to this view—based in large part on the rhetoric of Stalin and Lenin—world revolution constituted the sole priority of Soviet policy. Even the appearance of accommodation was a Soviet design to soften up capitalist states for eventual confrontation. As defined, admittedly in oversimplified fashion, by George Kennan in his famous 1947 article on containment, Russian diplomacy "moves along the prescribed path, like a persistent toy automobile, wound up and headed in a given direction, stopping only when it meets some unanswerable force." Soviet subservience to a universal, religious creed ruled out even the possibility of mutual concessions, since even temporary accommodation would be used by the Russians as part of their grand scheme to secure world domination.
A second version of the same hypothesis—argued by some American revisionist historians—contends that the endless demands of capitalism for new markets propelled the United States into a course of intervention and imperialism. According to this argument, a capitalist society can survive only by opening new areas for exploitation. Without the development of multinational corporations, strong ties with German capitalists, and free trade across national boundaries, America would revert to the depression of the prewar years. Hence, an aggressive internationalism became the only means through which the ruling class of the United States could retain hegemony. In support of this argument, historians point to the number of American policymakers who explicitly articulated an economic motivation for U. S. foreign policy. "We cannot expect domestic prosperity under our system," Assistant Secretary of State Dean Acheson said, "without a constantly expanding trade with other nations." Echoing the same theme, the State Department's William Clayton declared: "We need markets—big markets—around the world in which to buy and sell. . . . We've got to export three times as much as we exported just before the war if we want to keep our industry running somewhere near capacity." According to this argument, economic necessity motivated the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and the vigorous efforts of U. S. policymakers to open up Eastern Europe for trade and investment. Within such a frame of reference, it was the capitalist economic system—not Soviet commitment to world revolution—that made the Cold War unavoidable.
Still a third version of the inevitability hypothesis—partly based on the first two—would insist that historical differences between the two superpowers and their systems of government made any efforts toward postwar cooperation almost impossible. Russia had always been deeply suspicious of the West, and under Stalin that suspicion had escalated into paranoia, with Soviet leaders fearing that any opening of channels would ultimately destroy their own ability to retain total mastery over the Russian people. The West's failure to implement early promises of a second front and the subsequent divisions of opinion over how to treat occupied territory had profoundly strained any possible basis of trust. From an American perspective, in turn, it stretched credibility to expect a nation committed to human rights to place confidence in a ruthless dictator, who in one Yugoslav's words, had single-handedly been responsible for more Soviet deaths than all the armies of Nazi Germany. Through the purges, collectivization, and mass imprisonment of Russian citizens, Stalin had presided over the killing of 20 million of his own people. How then could he be trusted to respect the rights of others? According to this argument, only the presence of a common enemy had made possible even short-term solidarity between Russia and the United States; in the absence of a German foe, natural antagonisms were bound to surface. America had one system of politics, Russia another, and as Truman declared in 1948, "a totalitarian state is no different whether you call it Nazi, fascist, communist, or Franco Spain."
Yet, in retrospect, these arguments for inevitability tell only part of the story. Notwithstanding the Soviet Union's rhetorical commitment to an ideology of world revolution, there is abundant evidence of Russia's willingness to forego ideological purity in the cause of national interest. Stalin, after all, had turned away from world revolution in committing himself to building "socialism in one country." Repeatedly, he indicated his readiness to betray the communist movement in China and to accept the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek. George Kennan recalled the Soviet leader "snorting rather contemptuously. . . because one of our people asked them what they were going to give to China when [the war] was over." "We have a hundred cities of our own to build in the Soviet Far East," Stalin had responded. "If anybody is going to give anything to the Far East, I think it's you." Similarly, Stalin refused to give any support to communists in Greece during their rebellion against British domination there. As late as 1948 he told the vice-premier of Yugoslavia, "What do you think, . . . that Great Britain and the United States. . . will permit you to break their lines of communication in the Mediterranean? Nonsense. . . the uprising in Greece must be stopped, and as quickly as possible."
Nor are the other arguments for inevitability totally persuasive. Without question, America's desire for commercial markets played a role in the strategy of the Cold War. As Truman said in 1949, devotion to freedom of enterprise "is part and parcel of what we call America." Yet was the need for markets sufficient to force a confrontation that ultimately would divert precious resources from other, more productive use? Throughout most of its history, Wall Street has opposed a bellicose position in foreign policy. Similarly, although historical differences are important, it makes no sense to regard them as determinative. After all, the war led to extraordinary examples of cooperation that bridged these differences; if they could be overcome once, then why not again? Thus, while each of the arguments for inevitability reflects truths that contributed to the Cold War, none offers an explanation sufficient of itself, for contending that the Cold War was unavoidable.
A stronger case, it seems, can be made for the position that the Cold War was unnecessary, or at least that conflicts could have been handled in a manner that avoided bipolarization and the rhetoric of an ideological crusade. At no time did Russia constitute a military threat to the United States. "Economically," U. S. Naval Intelligence reported in 1946, "the Soviet Union is exhausted.... The USSR is not expected to take any action in the next five years which might develop into hostility with Anglo Americans." Notwithstanding the Truman administration's public statements about a Soviet threat, Russia had cut its army from 11.5 to 3 million men after the war. In 1948, its military budget amounted to only half of that of the United States. Even militant anticommunists like John Foster Dulles acknowledged that "the Soviet leadership does not want and would not consciously risk" a military confrontation with the West. Indeed, so exaggerated was American rhetoric about Russia's threat that Hanson Baldwin, military expert of the New York Times, compared the claims of our armed forces to the "shepherd who cried wolf, wolf, wolf, when there was no wolf." Thus, on purely factual grounds, there existed no military basis for the fear that the Soviet Union was about to seize world domination, despite the often belligerent pose Russia took on political issues.
A second, somewhat more problematic, argument for the thesis of avoidability consists of the extent to which Russian leaders appeared ready to abide by at least some agreements made during the war. Key, here, is the understanding reached by Stalin and Churchill during the fall of 1944 on the division of Europe into spheres of influence. According to that understanding, Russia was to dominate Romania, have a powerful voice over Bulgaria, and share influence in other Eastern European countries, while Britain and America were to control Greece. By most accounts, that understanding was implemented. Russia refused to intervene on behalf of communist insurgency in Greece. While retaining rigid control over Romania, she provided at least a "fig-leaf of democratic procedure"—sufficient to satisfy the British. For two years the USSR permitted the election of noncommunist or coalition regimes in both Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The Finns, meanwhile, were permitted to choose a noncommunist government and to practice Western-style democracy as long as their country maintained a friendly foreign policy toward their neighbor on the east. Indeed, to this day, Finland remains an example of what might have evolved had earlier wartime understandings on both sides been allowed to continue.
What then went wrong? First, it seems clear that both sides perceived the other as breaking agreements that they thought had been made. By signing a separate peace settlement with the Lublin Poles, imprisoning the sixteen members of the Polish underground, and imposing—without regard for democratic appearances—total hegemony on Poland, the Soviets had broken the spirit, if not the letter, of the Yalta accords. Similarly, they blatantly violated the agreement made by both powers to withdraw from Iran once the war was over, thus precipitating the first direct threat of military confrontation during the Cold War. In their attitude toward Eastern Europe, reparations, and peaceful cooperation with the West, the Soviets exhibited increasing rigidity and suspicion after April 1945. On the other hand, Stalin had good reason to accuse the United States of reneging on compacts made during the war. After at least tacitly accepting Russia's right to a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, the West seemed suddenly to change positions and insist on Western-style democracies and economies. As the historian Robert Daliek has shown, Roosevelt and Churchill gave every indication at Tehran and Yalta that they acknowledged the Soviet's need to have friendly governments in Eastern Europe. Roosevelt seemed to care primarily about securing token or cosmetic concessions toward democratic processes while accepting the substance of Russian domination. Instead, misunderstanding developed over the meaning of the Yalta accords, Truman confronted Molotov with demands that the Soviets saw as inconsistent with prior understandings, and mutual suspicion rather than cooperation assumed dominance in relations between the two superpowers.
It is this area of misperception and misunderstanding that historians have focused on recently as most critical to the emergence of the Cold War. Presumably, neither side had a master plan of how to proceed once the war ended. Stalin's ambitions, according to recent scholarship, were ill-defined, or at least amenable to modification depending on America's posture. The United States, in turn, gave mixed signals, with Roosevelt implying to every group his agreement with their point of view, yet ultimately keeping his personal intentions secret. If, in fact, both sides could have agreed to a sphere-of-influence policy—albeit with some modifications to satisfy American political opinion—there could perhaps have been a foundation for continued accommodation. Clearly, the United States intended to retain control over its sphere of influence, particularly in Greece, Italy, and Turkey. Moreover, the United States insisted on retaining total domination over the Western hemisphere, consistent with the philosophy of the Monroe Doctrine. If the Soviets had been allowed similar control over their sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, there might have existed a basis for compromise. As John McCloy asked at the time, "[why was it necessary] to have our cake and eat it too? . . . To be free to operate under this regional arrangement in South America and at the same time intervene promptly in Europe." If the United States and Russia had both acknowledged the spheres of influence implicit in their wartime agreements, perhaps a different pattern of relationships might have emerged in the postwar world.
The fact that such a pattern did not emerge raises two issues, at least from an American perspective. The first is whether different leaders or advisors might have achieved different foreign policy results. Some historians believe that Roosevelt, with his subtlety and skill, would have found a way to promote collaboration with the Russians, whereas Truman, with his short temper, inexperience, and insecurity, blundered into unnecessary and harmful confrontations. Clearly, Roosevelt himself—just before his death—was becoming more and more concerned about Soviet intransigence and aggression. Nevertheless, he had always believed that through personal pressure and influence, he could find a way to persaude "uncle Joe." On the basis of what evidence we have, there seems good reason to believe that the Russians did place enormous trust in FDR. Perhaps—just perhaps—Roosevelt could have found a way to talk "practical arithmetic" with Stalin rather than algebra and discover a common ground. Certainly, if recent historians are correct in seeing the Cold War as caused by both Stalin's undefined ambitions and America's failure to communicate effectively and consistently its view on where it would draw the line with the Russians, then Roosevelt's long history of interaction with the Soviets would presumably have placed him in a better position to negotiate than the inexperienced Truman.
The second issue is more complicated, speaking to a political problem which beset both Roosevelt and Truman—namely, the ability of an American president to formulate and win support for a foreign policy on the basis of national self-interest rather than moral purity. At some point in the past, an American diplomat wrote in 1967:
[T]here crept into the ideas of Americans about foreign policy... a histrionic note, ... a desire to appear as something greater perhaps than one actually was. ... It was inconceivable that any war in which we were involved could be less than momentous and decisive for the future of humanity. ... As each war ended, ... we took appeal to universalistic, Utopian ideals, related not to the specifics of national interest but to legalistic and moralistic concepts that seemed better to accord with the pretentious significance we had attached to our war effort.
As a consequence, the diplomat went on, it became difficult to pursue a policy not defined by the language of "angels or devils," "heroes" or "blackguards."
Clearly, Roosevelt faced such a dilemma in proceeding to mobilize American support for intervention in the war against Nazism. And Truman encountered the same difficulty in seeking to define a policy with which to meet Soviet postwar objectives. Both presidents, of course, participated in and reflected the political culture that constrained their options. Potentially at least, Roosevelt seemed intent on fudging the difference between self-interest and moralism. He perceived one set of objectives as consistent with reaching an accommodation with the Soviets, and another set of goals as consistent with retaining popular support for his diplomacy at home. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he planned—in a very Machiavellian way—to use rhetoric and appearances as a means of disguising his true intention: to pursue a strategy of self-interest. It seems less clear that Truman had either the subtlety or the wish to follow a similarly Machiavellian course. But if he had, the way might have been opened to quite a different—albeit politically risky— series of policies.
None of this, of course, would have guaranteed the absence of conflict in Eastern Europe, Iran, or Turkey. Nor could any action of an American president—however much rooted in self-interest—have obviated the personal and political threat posed by Stalinist tyranny and ruthlessness, particularly if Stalin himself had chosen, for whatever reason, to act out his most aggressive and paranoid instincts. But if a sphere-of-influence agreement had been possible, there is some reason to think—in light of initial Soviet acceptance of Western-style governments in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Finland—that the iron curtain might not have descended in the way that it did. In all historical sequences, one action builds on another. Thus, steps toward cooperation rather than confrontation might have created a momentum, a frame of reference and a basis of mutual trust, that could have made unnecessary the total ideological bipolarization that evolved by 1948. In short, if the primary goals of each superpower had been acknowledged and implemented—security for the Russians, some measure of pluralism in Eastern European countries for the United States, and economic interchange between the two blocs—it seems conceivable that the world might have avoided the stupidity, the fear, and the hysteria of the Cold War.
As it was, of course, very little of the above scenario did take place. After the confrontation in Iran, the Soviet declaration of a five-year plan, Churchill's Fulton, Missouri, speech, and the breakdown of negotiations on an American loan, confrontation between the two superpowers seemed irrevocable. It is difficult to imagine that the momentum building toward the Cold War could have been reversed after the winter and spring of 1946. Thereafter, events assumed an almost inexorable momentum, with both sides using moralistic rhetoric and ideological denunciation to pillory the other. In the United States it became incumbent on the president—in order to secure domestic political support—to defend the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan in universalistic, moral terms. Thus, we became engaged, not in an effort to assure jobs and security, but in a holy war against evil. Stalin, in turn, gave full vent to his crusade to eliminate any vestige of free thought or national independence in Eastern Europe. Reinhold Niebuhr might have been speaking for both sides when he said in 1948, "we cannot afford any more compromises. We will have to stand at every point in our far flung lines."
The tragedy, of course, was that such a policy offered no room for intelligence or flexibility. If the battle in the world was between good and evil, believers and nonbelievers, anyone who questioned the wisdom of established policy risked dismissal as a traitor or worse. In the Soviet Union the Gulag Archipelago of concentration camps and executions was the price of failing to conform to the party line. But the United States paid a price as well. An ideological frame of reference had emerged through which all other information was filtered. The mentality of the Cold War shaped everything, defining issues according to moralistic assumptions, regardless of objective reality. It had been George Kennan's telegram in February 1946 that helped to provide the intellectual basis for this frame of reference by portraying the Soviet Union as "a political force committed fanatically" to confrontation with the United States and domination of the world. It was also George Kennan twenty years later who so searchingly criticized those who insisted on seeing foreign policy as a battle of angels and devils, heroes and blackguards. And ironically, it was Kennan yet again who declared in the 1970s that "the image of a Stalinist Russia, poised and yearning to attack the west, . . . was largely a product of the western imagination."
But for more than a generation, that image would shape American life and world politics. The price was astronomical—and perhaps— avoidable.
Chapter 2: The Cold War Chronology.
2.1 The War Years.
Whatever tensions existed before the war, conflicts over military and diplomatic issues during the war proved sufficiently grave to cause additional mistrust. Two countries that in the past had shared almost no common ground now found themselves intimately tied to each other, with little foundation of mutual confidence on which to build. The problems that resulted clustered in two areas: (1) how much aid the West would provide to alleviate the disproportionate burden borne by the Soviet Union in fighting the war; and (2) how to resolve the dilemmas of making peace, occupying conquered territory, and defining postwar responsibilities. Inevitably, each issue became inextricably bound to the others, posing problems of statecraft and good faith that perhaps went beyond the capacity of any mortal to solve.
The central issue dividing the allies involved how much support the United States and Britain would offer to mitigate, then relieve, the devastation being sustained by the Soviet people. Stated bluntly, the Soviet Union bore the massive share of Nazi aggression. The statistics alone are overwhelming. Soviet deaths totaled more than 18 million during the war—sixty times the three hundred thousand lives lost by the United States. Seventy thousand Soviet villages were destroyed, $128 billion dollars worth of property leveled to the ground. Leningrad, the crown jewel of Russia's cities, symbolized the suffering experienced at the hands of the Nazis. Filled with art and beautiful architecture, the former capital of Russia came under siege by German armies almost immediately after the invasion of the Soviet Union. When the attack began, the city boasted a population of 3 million citizens. At the end, only 600,000 remained. There was no food, no fuel, no hope. More than a million starved, and some survived by resorting to cannibalism. Yet the city endured, the Nazis were repelled, and the victory that came with survival helped launch the campaign that would ultimately crush Hitler's tyranny.
Such suffering provided the backdrop for a bitter controversy over whether the United States and Britain were doing enough to assume their own just share of the fight. Roosevelt understood that Russia's battle was America's. "The Russian armies are killing more Axis personnel and destroying more Axis materiel," he wrote General Douglas MacArthur in 1942, "than all the other twenty-five United Nations put together." As soon as the Germans invaded Russia, the president ordered that lend-lease material be made immediately available to the Soviet Union, instructing his personal aide to get $22 million worth of supplies on their way by July 25—one month after the German invasion. Roosevelt knew that, unless the Soviets were helped quickly, they would be forced out of the war, leaving the United States in an untenable position. "If [only] the Russians could hold the Germans until October 1," the president said. At a Cabinet meeting early in August, Roosevelt declared himself "sick and tired of hearing. . . what was on order"; he wanted to hear only "what was on the water." Roosevelt's commitment to lend-lease reflected his deep conviction that aid to the Soviets was both the most effective way of combating German aggression and the strongest means of building a basis of trust with Stalin in order to facilitate postwar cooperation. "I do not want to be in the same position as the English," Roosevelt told his Secretary of the Treasury in 1942. "The English promised the Russians two divisions. They failed. They promised them to help in the Caucasus. They failed. Every promise the English have made to the Russians, they have fallen down on. . . . The only reason we stand so well... is that up to date we have kept our promises." Over and over again Roosevelt intervened directly and personally to expedite the shipment of supplies. "Please get out the list and please, with my full authority, use a heavy hand," he told one assistant. "Act as a burr under the saddle and get things moving!"
But even Roosevelt's personal involvement could not end the problems that kept developing around the lend-lease program. Inevitably, bureaucratic tangles delayed shipment of necessary supplies. Furthermore, German submarine assaults sank thousands of tons of weaponry. In just one month in 1942, twenty-three of thirty-seven merchant vessels on their way to the Soviet Union were destroyed, forcing a cancellation of shipments to Murmansk. Indeed, until late summer of 1942, the Allies lost more ships in submarine attacks than they were able to build.
Above all, old suspicions continued to creep into the ongoing process of negotiating and distributing lend-lease supplies. Americans who had learned during the purges to regard Stalin as "a sort of unwashed Genghis Khan with blood dripping from his fingertips" could not believe that he had changed his colors overnight and was now to be viewed as a gentle friend. Many Americans believed that they were saving the Soviet Union with their supplies, without recognizing the extent of Soviet suffering or appreciating the fact that the Russians were helping to save American lives by their sacrifice on the battlefield. Soviet officials, in turn, believed that their American counterparts overseeing the shipments were not necessarily doing all that they might to implement the promises made by the president. Americans expected gratitude. Russians expected supplies. Both expectations were justified, yet the conflict reflected the extent to which underlying distrust continued to poison the prospect of cooperation. "Frankly," FDR told one subordinate, "if I was a Russian, I would feel that I had been given the runaround in the United States." Yet with equal justification, Americans resented Soviet ingratitude. "The Russian authorities seem to want to cover up the fact that they are receiving outside help," American Ambassador Standley told a Moscow press conference in March 1943. "Apparently they want their people to believe that the Red Army is fighting this war alone." Clearly, the battle against Nazi Germany was not the only conflict taking place.
Yet the disputes over lend-lease proved minor compared to the issue of a second front—what one historian has called "the acid test of Anglo-American intentions." However much help the United States could provide in the way of war materiel, the decisive form of relief that Stalin sought was the actual involvement of American and British soldiers in Western Europe. Only such an invasion could significantly relieve the pressure of massive German divisions on the eastern front. During the years 1941-44, fewer than 10 percent of Germany's troops were in the west, while nearly three hundred divisions were committed to conquering Russia. If the Soviet Union was to survive, and the Allies to secure victory, it was imperative that American and British troops force a diversion of German troops to the west and help make possible the pincer movement from east and west that would eventually annihilate the fascist foe.
Roosevelt understood this all too well. Indeed, he appears to have wished nothing more than the most rapid possible development of the second front. In part, he saw such action as the only means to deflect a Soviet push for acceptance of Russia's pre-World War II territorial acquisitions, particularly in the Baltic states and Finland. Such acquisitions would not only be contrary to the Atlantic Charter and America's commitment to self-determination; they would also undermine the prospect of securing political support in America for international postwar cooperation. Hence, Roosevelt hoped to postpone, until victory was achieved, any final decisions on issues of territory. Shrewdly, the president understood that meeting Soviet demands for direct military assistance through a second front would offer the most effective answer to Russia's territorial aspirations.
Roosevelt had read the Soviet attitude correctly. In 1942, Soviet foreign minister Molotov readily agreed to withdraw his territorial demands in deference to U. S. concerns because the second front was so much more decisive an issue. When Molotov asked whether the Allies could undertake a second front operation that would draw off forty German divisions from the eastern front, the president replied that it could and that it would. Roosevelt cabled Churchill that he was "more anxious than ever" for a cross-channel attack in August 1942 so that Molotov would be able to "carry back some real results of his mission and give a favorable report to Stalin." At the end of their 1942 meeting, Roosevelt pledged to Molotov-and through him to Stalin-that a second front would be established that year. The president then proceeded to mobilize his own military advisors to develop plans for such an attack.
But Roosevelt could not deliver. Massive logistical and production problems obstructed any possibility of invading Western Europe on the timetable Roosevelt had promised. As a result, despite Roosevelt's own best intentions and the commitment of his military staff, he could not implement his desire to proceed. In addition, Roosevelt repeatedly encountered objections from Churchill and the British military establishment, still traumatized by the memory of the bloodletting that had occurred in the trench fighting of World War I. For Churchill, engagement of the Nazis in North Africa and then through the "soft underbelly" of Europe-Sicily and Italy-offered a better prospect for success. Hence, after promising Stalin a second front in August 1942, Roosevelt had to withdraw the pledge and ask for delay of the second front until the spring of 1943. When that date arrived, he was forced to pull back yet again for political and logistical reasons. By the time D-Day finally dawned on June 6, 1944, the Western Allies had broken their promise on the single most critical military issue of the war three times. On each occasion, there had been ample reason for the delay, but given the continued heavy burden placed on the Soviet Union, it was perhaps understandable that some Russian leaders viewed America's delay on the second front question with suspicion, sarcasm, and anger. When D-Day arrived, Stalin acknowledged the operation to be one of the greatest military ventures of human history. Still, the squabbles that preceded D-Day contributed substantially to the suspicions and tension that already existed between the two nations.
Another broad area of conflict emerged over who would control occupied areas once the war ended? How would peace be negotiated? The principles of the Atlantic Charter presumed establishment of democratic, freely elected, and representative governments in every area won back from the Nazis. If universalism were to prevail, each country liberated from Germany would have the opportunity to determine its own political structure through democratic means that would ensure representation of all factions of the body politic. If "sphere of influence" policies were implemented, by contrast, the major powers would dictate such decisions in a manner consistent with their own self-interest. Ultimately, this issue would become the decisive point of confrontation during the Cold War, reflecting the different state systems and political values of the Soviets and Americans; but even in the midst of the fighting, the Allies found themselves in major disagreement, sowing seeds of distrust that boded ill for the future. Since no plans were established in advance on how to deal with these issues, they were handled on a case by case basis, in each instance reinforcing the suspicions already present between the Soviet Union and the West.
Notwithstanding the Atlantic Charter, Britain and the United States proceeded on a de facto basis to implement policies at variance with universalism. Thus, for example, General Dwight Eisenhower was authorized to reach an accommodation with Admiral Darlan in North Africa as a means of avoiding an extended military campaign to defeat the Vichy, pro-fascist collaborators who controlled that area. From the perspective of military necessity and the preservation of life, it made sense to compromise one's ideals in such a situation. Yet the precedent inevitably raised problems with regard to allied efforts to secure self-determination elsewhere.
The issue arose again during the Allied invasion of Italy. There, too, concern with expediting military victory and securing political stability caused Britain and the United States to negotiate with the fascist Badoglio regime. "We cannot be put into a position," Churchill said, "where our two armies are doing all the fighting but Russians have a veto." Yet Stalin bitterly resented being excluded from participation in the Italian negotiations. The Soviet Union protested vigorously the failure to establish a tripartite commission to conduct all occupation negotiations. It was time, Stalin said, to stop viewing Russia as "a passive third observer. ... It is impossible to tolerate such a situation any longer." In the end, Britain and the United States offered the token concession of giving the Soviets an innocuous role on the advisory commission dealing with Italy, but the primary result of the Italian experience was to reemphasize a crucial political reality: when push came to shove, those who exercised military control in an immediate situation would also exercise political control over any occupation regime.
The shoe was on the other foot when it came to Western desires to have a voice over Soviet actions in the Balkan states, particularly Romania. By not giving Russia an opportunity to participate in the Italian surrender, the West-in effect-helped legitimize Russia's desire to proceed unilaterally in Eastern Europe. Although both Churchill and Roosevelt were "acutely conscious of the great importance of the Balkan situation" and wished to "take advantage of" any opportunity to exercise influence in that area, the simple fact was that Soviet troops were in control. Churchill-and privately Roosevelt as well-accepted the consequences. "The occupying forces had the power in the area where their arms were present," Roosevelt noted, "and each knew that the other could not force things to an issue." But the contradiction between the stated idealistic aims of the war effort and such realpolitik would come back to haunt the prospect for postwar collaboration, particularly in the areas of Poland and other east European countries.
Moments of conflict, of course, took place within the context of day-to-day cooperation in meeting immediate wartime needs. Sometimes, such cooperation seemed deep and genuine enough to provide a basis for overcoming suspicion and conflict of interest. At the Moscow foreign ministers conference in the fall of 1943, the Soviets proved responsive to U. S. concerns. Reassured that there would indeed be a second front in Europe in 1944, the Russians strongly endorsed a postwar international organization to preserve the peace. More important, they indicated they would join the war against Japan as soon as Germany was defeated, and appeared willing to accept the Chiang Kaishek government in China as a major participant in world politics. In some ways, these were a series of quid pro quos. In exchange for the second front, Russia had made concessions on issues of critical importance to Britain and the United States. Nevertheless, the results were encouraging. FDR reported that the conference had created "a psychology of... excellent feeling." Instead of being "cluttered with suspicion," the discussions had occurred in an atmosphere that "was amazingly good."
The same spirit continued at the first meeting of Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt in Tehran during November and early December 1943. Committed to winning Stalin as a friend, FDR stayed at the Soviet Embassy, met privately with Stalin, aligned himself with the Soviet leader against Churchill on a number of issues, and even went so far as to taunt Churchill "about his Britishness, about John Bull," in an effort to forge an informal "anti-imperial" alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union. A spirit of cooperation prevailed, with the wartime leaders agreeing that the Big Four would have the power to police any postwar settlements (clearly consistent with Stalin's commitment to a "sphere of influence" approach), reaffirming plans for a joint military effort against Japan, and even—after much difficulty—appearing to find a common approach to the difficulties of Poland and Eastern Europe. When it was all over, FDR told the American people: "I got along fine with Marshall Stalin... I believe he is truly representative of the heart and soul of Russia; and I believe that we are going to get along very well with him and the Russian people—very well indeed." When pressed on what kind of a person the Soviet leader was, Roosevelt responded:
"I would call him something like me, ... a realist."
The final conference of Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt at Yalta in February 1945 appeared at the time to carry forward the partnership, although in retrospect it would become clear that the facade of unity was built on a foundation of misperceptions rooted in the different values, priorities, and political ground rules of the two societies. Stalin seemed to recognize Roosevelt's need to present postwar plans—for domestic political reasons—as consistent with democratic, universalistic principles. Roosevelt, in turn, appreciated Stalin's need for friendly governments on his borders. The three leaders agreed on concrete plans for Soviet participation in the Japanese war, and Stalin reiterated his support for a coalition government in China with Chiang Kaishek assuming a position of leadership. Although some of Roosevelt's aides were skeptical of the agreements made, most came back confident that they had succeeded in laying a basis for continued partnership. As Harry Hopkins later recalled, "we really believed in our hearts that this was the dawn of the new day we had all been praying for. The Russians have proved that they can be reasonable and far-seeing and there wasn't any doubt in the minds of the president or any of us that we could live with them and get along with them peacefully for as far into the future as any of us could imagine."
In fact, two disquietingly different perceptions of the Soviet Union existed as the war drew to an end. Some Washington officials believed that the mystery of Russia was no mystery at all, simply a reflection of a national history in which suspicion of outsiders was natural, given repeated invasions from Western Europe and rampant hostility toward communism on the part of Western powers. Former Ambassador to Moscow Joseph Davies believed that the way to cut through that suspicion was to adopt "the simple approach of assuming that what they say, they mean." On the basis of his personal negotiations with the Russians, presidential aide Harry Hopkins shared the same confidence.
The majority of well-informed Americans, however, endorsed the opposite position. It was folly, one newspaper correspondent wrote, "to prettify Stalin, whose internal homicide record is even longer than Hitler's." Hitler and Stalin were two of the same breed, former Ambassador to Russia William Bullitt insisted. Each wanted to spread his power "to the ends of the earth. Stalin, like Hitler, will not stop. He can only be stopped." According to Bullitt, any alternative view implied "a conversion of Stalin as striking as the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus." Senator Robert Taft agreed. It made no sense, he insisted, to base U. S. policy toward the Soviet Union "on the delightful theory that Mr. Stalin in the end will turn out to have an angelic nature." Drawing on the historical precedents of the purge trials and traditional American hostility to communism, totalitarianism, and Stalin, those who held this point of view saw little hope of compromise. "There is as little difference between communism and fascism," Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen said, "as there is between burglary and larceny." The only appropriate response was force. Instead of "leaning over backward to be nice to the descendents of Genghis Khan," General George Patton suggested, "[we] should dictate to them and do it now and in no uncertain terms." Within such a frame of reference, the lessons of history and of ideological incompatibility seemed to permit no possibility of compromise.
But Roosevelt clearly felt that there was a third way, a path of mutual accommodation that would sustain and nourish the prospects of postwar partnership without ignoring the realities of geopolitics. The choice in his mind was clear. "We shall have to take the responsibility for world collaboration," he told Congress, "or we shall have to bear the responsibility for another world conflict." President Roosevelt was neither politically naive nor stupid. Even though committed to the Atlantic Charter's ideals of self-determination and territorial integrity, he recognized the legitimate need of the Soviet Union for national security. For him, the process of politics—informed by thirty-five years of skilled practice—involved striking a deal that both sides could live with. Roosevelt acknowledged the brutality, the callousness, the tyranny of the Soviet system. Indeed, in 1940 he had called Russia as absolute a dictatorship as existed anywhere. But that did not mean a solution was impossible, or that one should withdraw from the struggle to find a basis for world peace. As he was fond of saying about negotiations with Russia, "it is permitted to walk with the devil until the bridge is crossed."
The problem was that, as Roosevelt defined the task of finding a path of accommodation, it rested solely on his shoulders. The president possessed an almost mystical confidence in his own capacity to break through policy differences based on economic structures and political systems, and to develop a personal relationship of trust that would transcend impersonal forces of division. "I know you will not mind my being brutally frank when I tell you," he wrote Churchill in 1942, "[that] I think I can personally handle Stalin better than either your Foreign Office or my State Department. Stalin hates the guts of all your top people. He thinks he likes me better, and I hope he will continue to do so." Notwithstanding the seeming naivete of such statements, Roosevelt appeared right, in at least this one regard. The Soviets did seem to place their faith in him, perhaps thinking that American foreign policy was as much a product of one man's decisions as their own. Roosevelt evidently thought the same way, telling Bullitt, in one of their early foreign policy discussions, "it's my responsibility and not yours; and I'm going to play my hunch."
The tragedy, of course, was that the man who perceived that fostering world peace was his own personal responsibility never lived to carry out his vision. Long in declining health, suffering from advanced arteriosclerosis and a serious cardiac problem, he had gone to Warm Springs, Georgia, to recover from the ordeal of Yalta and the congressional session. On April 12, Roosevelt suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage and died. As word spread across the country, the stricken look on people's faces told those who had not yet heard the news the awful dimensions of what had happened. "He was the only president I ever knew," one woman said. In London, Churchill declared that he felt as if he had suffered a physical blow. Stalin greeted the American ambassador in silence, holding his hand for thirty seconds. The leader of the world's greatest democracy would not live to see the victory he had striven so hard to achieve.
2.2 The Truman Doctrine.
Few people were less prepared for the challenge of becoming president. Although well-read in history, Truman's experience in foreign policy was minimal. His most famous comment on diplomacy had been a statement to a reporter in 1941 that "if we see that Germany is winning [the war] we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany and that way let them kill as many as possible, although I don't want to see Hitler victorious under any circumstances." As vice-president, Truman had been excluded from all foreign policy discussions. He knew nothing about the Manhattan Project. The new president, Henry Stimson noted, labored under the "terrific handicap of coming into... an office where the threads of information were so multitudinous that only long previous familiarity could allow him to control them." More to the point were Truman's own comments: "They didn't tell me anything about what was going on. . . . Everybody around here that should know anything about foreign affairs is out." Faced with burdens sufficiently awesome to intimidate any individual, Truman had to act quickly on a succession of national security questions, aided only by his native intelligence and a no-nonsense attitude reflected in the now-famous slogan that adorned his desk: "The Buck Stops Here."
Truman's dilemma was compounded by the extent to which Roosevelt had acted" as his own secretary of state, sharing with almost no one his plans for the postwar period. Roosevelt placed little trust in the State Department's bureaucracy, disagreed with the suspicion exhibited toward Russia by most foreign service officers, and for the most part appeared to believe that he alone held the secret formula for accommodation with the Soviets. Ultimately that formula presumed the willingness of the Russian leadership "to give the Government of Poland [and other Eastern European countries] an external appearance of independence [italics added]," in the words of Roosevelt's aide Admiral William Leahy. In the month before his death, FDR had evidently begun to question that presumption, becoming increasingly concerned about Soviet behavior. Had he lived, he may well have adopted a significantly tougher position toward Stalin than he had taken previously. Yet in his last communication with Churchill, Roosevelt was still urging the British prime minister to "minimize the Soviet problem as much as possible. . . because these problems, in one form or another, seem to arrive everyday and most of them straighten out." If Stalin's intentions still r
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