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Chapter 17-Section 4

Chapter 17-Section 4

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Published by: Austin Rosenberg Lee on May 11, 2012
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Chapter 4 (A Hard and Bitter Peace

• Topic- The Start of the Cold War

• Read p. 20-35 in 20th Century World- Cold War

The German Question
• Principal factor in the Cold War
– Discussed at Yalta and Potsdam
• Differing objectives (East vs. West) made agreement difficult- especially at Potsdam

• September, 1945- London Conference of Five permanent members of the UN Security Council
– Charged with drafting peace treaties between the Grand Alliance and Germany’s wartime allies – Soviet ambitions involve “Spheres of Influence” as proposed by Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov
• No agreement is made

The German Question
• US and USSR became increasingly contemptuous of British opinions and interests after the war • Secretary of State James Byrnes sent Mark Ethridge and historian Cyril Black to the Balkans on a fact-finding mission
– Resulted in the Ethridge Report
• Recognized legitimate Soviet concerns, but emphasized imperialistic nature of Moscow

Moscow, December 1945
• Meeting of the Foreign Ministers
– Byrnes and Molotov take center stage

• Balkan question resolved in favor of USSR • Romania and Bulgaria would add two nonCommunists to their governments • Treaties for the Soviet satellites would be drafted at the forthcoming peace conference in Paris • Soviets agreed to a joint British-American-Canadian proposal to establish a UN commission to control atomic energy • No agreement was made concerning the withdrawal of British and Soviet troops from Iran

“Two Worlds” and An Iron Curtain
• Truman/Byrnes relationship
– Secretary of State Byrnes was given great discretionary authority by the president
• Conducted diplomacy in great secrecy • Arranged a radio report to US citizens on the Moscow Conference before briefing the president

– Unacceptable Soviet conduct caused Truman to become less tolerant of Byrnes’s behavior – January 5, 1946- Truman meets with Byrnes
• Truman let Byrnes know that he was taking too conciliatory of a position with the Soviets and it was not consistent with his views (which included a firmer US policy toward the USSR)

“Two Worlds” and An Iron Curtain
• Truman had been conflicted with how to deal with Stalin/USSR
– Conciliatory or Confrontational? – Because of aggressive Soviet policies towards eastern Europe- Truman came down on the side of confrontation – By January 1946 the US had not declared Cold War

“Two Worlds” and An Iron Curtain
• By January 1946 Stalin had made his own declaration
– February 1946- Stalin gives an election speech to an assembly of voters in Moscow
• Asserted Marxist-Leninist thought • Contrasted capitalism and communism • Declared that the world remained divided into two hostile camps
– Between which war was inevitable sooner or later

The Marshall Plan
• George Marshall- Secretary of State
– Formed a Policy Planning Staff at the State Department (headed by George Kennan of Long Telegram fame)
• Purpose- to counter Soviet expansion
– Get Eastern European nations to turn to the US for economic aid rather than the Soviet Union

– Creation of the Marshall Plan (European Recovery Program)

The Marshall Plan
• Open invitation to all European countries (even the USSR)
– Kennan gambled on the rejection of the plan by the Soviets

• Countries who accepted would have to open their financial books to the West, thus pave the way for political freedom and the dissolution of the Soviet Bloc • June 26, 1947- 17 Euro nations gathered to implement the groundwork for the Marshall Plan

The Marshall Plan
• July 2, 1947- USSR announces the creation of the Molotov Plan
– Czechoslovakia and Poland joined the Molotov Plan after seriously thinking about the Marshall Plan

• Soviets felt threatened by the Marshall Plan
– Could possibly loosen their grip on Eastern Europe – Fostered German economic recovery
• Soviets despised this aspect as a possible threat to their future national security

• September, 1947- creation of the Cominform
– Purpose- to keep Eastern European communist governments in line with Soviet directives

Containment- The X-Article
• Edward Willett- author of internal government paper linking Soviet objectives to Marxist-Leninist principles • Defense Secretary Forrestal- asked George Kennan (Policy Planning Staff) to comment on Willett’s paper
– Believed that Willett overstated the degree of American military expenditure necessary to “contain” Russian expansion – Thus was asked to write his own paper on the topic

Containment- The X-Article
• George Kennan- author of internal government paper entitled “Psychological Background of Soviet Foreign Policy” in January 1947 • Editor of Foreign Affairs (professional journal) wanted Kennan’s article for publication • State Department was alerted and they allowed the publishing of the paper under the authorship of “X”, thus the nomenclature- The X-Article • Published in Foreign Affairs in July 1947
– “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” – The most widely discussed publication of the century in the field of international relations

Containment- The X-Article
• Importance- first public use of the term “containment” as a recommended American policy toward the USSR • Kennan argued Soviet expansion could be “contained by the adroit and vigilant application of counterforce at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points” • The belief was that once the Soviets were confronted that they would back off and apply pressure elsewhere- if opposed at every turn, it would place tremendous strains upon the Soviet system
– Hopefully leading to self-destruction from internal pressures or them becoming a more benign force in international relations

Containment- The X-Article
• Kennan proposed a series of political, economic, and diplomatic confrontations
– Military force would be a last resort

• US foreign policy over the next four decades was shaped by
– The Truman Doctrine – The Marshall Plan – Containment Ideology

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