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Chapter 29 - The Cold War

 1)Origins of the Cold War

a)Sources of Soviet-American Tensions

i)Rivalry emerged b/c of difft visions of postwar world: US foresaw world where nations shed military alliances and used democratic international bodies as mediators; Soviet Union sought to control areas of strategic influence 

b)Wartime Diplomacy

i)Tensions began in 1943 b/c of Allied refusal to open second front w/ French invasion, dispute over governance of Poland unresolved at Tehran Conference


i)Meeting of Big Three at Yalta in 1945 led to plan to create United Nations (w/ General Asembly and Security Council w/ permanent members)

ii)Disagreement existed over future of Polish govt (independent + democratic vs Communist); US wanted to German reconstruction, Stalin wanted heavy reparations- finally agreed to commission and each Ally given German “zone”

2)The Collapse of the Peace

a)The Failure of Potsdam

i)After Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, new Pres Truman decided US needed to “Get Tough” w Soviets to honor Yalta accords

ii)Potsdam Conference in July ended w/ Stalin receiving increased land w/ new Polish-German border, US refusing to allow German reparations from Allied zones but US recognizing new communist Polish govt under Soviet influence

b)The China Problem

i)US had vision of open world “policed” by major powers; vision troubled by unpopular + corrupt Chinese govt under Chiang Kai-shek (supported by US aid during civil war) who battled communists under Mao Zedong

ii)B/c Kai-shek govt sure to collapse, US sought to create new, Pro-West Japan by encouraging industrial development, lift trade restrictions

c)The Containment Doctrine

i)US no longer sought “open” world but rather “containment” of Soviet expansion; new Truman Doctrine sought aid for those forces in Turkey + Greece opposing take-over of Communist forces under Soviet influence

d)The Marshall Plan

i)Sec of State George Marshall 1947 plan to provide aid to all Eur nations (for humanitarian reasons, to rebuild to create markets for US goods, and to strengthen Pro-US govts against communists); 1948 created the Economic Cooperation Administration to channel billions of $ to aid economic revival

e)Mobilization at Home

i)US maintained wartime military levels, established Atomic Energy Commission to continue nuclear research 

ii)National Security Act of 1947 restructured military by creating Department of Defense to combine all armed services, create National Security Council in White House and Central Intelligence Agency to collect information

f)The Road to NATO

i)Truman merged German “Western zones” into the West German republic; Stalin responded by blockading Western Berlin, Truman responded w/ airlift to re-supply inhabitants; Federal Republic became govt of west Germany, Democratic Republic of east

ii)To strengthen military position US and Western Eur naions1949 created North Atlantic Treaty Organization as alliance to protect all members against threat of Soviet invasion (communists 1955 formed similar Warsaw Pact)

g)Reevaluating Cold War Policy

i)1949 saw Soviet Union explode atomic weapon and collapse of Nationalists in China to Mao’s Communists 

ii)To reevaluate foreign policy, National Security Council released report NSC-68 that held US should lead noncommunist world and oppose communist expansion everywhere it existed, also expand US military power dramatically

3)American Society and Politics After the War

a)The Problems of Reconversion

i)After end of war Truman attempted to quickly return nation to normal economic conditions, but problems ensued

ii)No economic collapse b/c of increase in spending on consumer goods from savings, Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (GI Bill) provided education + economic aid to returning soldiers that further increased spending

iii)Problems arose w/ high inflation, union strikes in RR + mining industries, and displacement of some minorities and women b/c of returning soldiers to labor

b)The Fair Deal Rejected

i)After Jap surrender Truman proposed “Fair Deal” to enact liberal reforms—included raising minimum wage, enacting Fair Employment Practices Act, expanding Social Security, and creating nation health insurance plan

ii)Fair Deal opposed by Repubs who gained majority in both Houses of Congress in 1946 elections; Repubs sought to reduce govt spending and economic controls, cut taxes for wealthy, refused to raise wages

iii)Repubs wanted to decrease powers unions gained in 1935 Wagner Act by passing 1947 Labor-Management Relations Act of (Taft-Hartley Act)- made “closed-shop” illegal; limited efforts help those not yet organized (minorities)

c)The Election of 1948

i)Truman sought to make re-election about liberal reforms but electorate saw him as weak; Southern Dems (Dixiecrats) + progressives refused full support

ii)Repubs nominated Thomas Dewey and seemed to be in strong position to win, but intense campaigning by Truman and his platform to reduce inflation + help common man allowed him to win Pres; Dems also won both Houses of C

d)The Fair Deal Revivied

i)New Dem Congress allowed for minimum wage increase + Social Security expansion, but hostile to Fair Deal programs expanding education aid, national healthcare, and civil rights

ii)Truman did end govt hiring discrimination, desegregated armed forces; Supreme Court inSkelley v. Kraemer rules community “covenants” preventing movement of blacks unenforceable by courts

e)The Nuclear Age

i)Nuclear weapons viewed w/ fear b/c of threat from Soviet Union (expressed in pop culture,film noir, and govt preparations for nuclear attack), but public also awed by technological potential of nuclear power (Dreams of prosperity and unlimited + cheap electricity)

4)The Korean War

a)The Divided Peninsula

i)Korea divided at 38th Parallel into Communist North and Southern government of capitalist Syngman Rhee (supported by US)

ii)Nationalists in North invaded S in 1950 in effort to reunite countries; US won UN resolution calling for support of S. Korea armies (Russia unable to veto b/c boycotting Security Council at time)—“containment” but also “liberation”

b)From Invasion to Stalemante

i)Gen MacArthur (head of UN forces) able to advance far into North, but new communist Chinese govt feared American forces + entered conflict late 1950 

ii)UN armies force dto retreat to 38th parallel long stalemate ensued until 1953

iii)Truman wanted peace andnot new world war w/ China; Gen MacArthur publicly opposed peace effort and was relieved of command by Pres in 1951

c)Limited Mobilization

i)War led to only limited mobilization: Truman created Office of Defense Mobilization to combat rising inflation; govt seized RRs + steel mills during union strikes, increased govt spending stimulated economy

ii)Inability of US to quickly end “small” war led to growth of fears of growth of communist  at home

5)The Crusade Against Subversion

a)HUAC and Alger Hiss

i)“Red Scare” prompted by fear of Stalin, Communist growth (“loss” of China, Korean frustrations) many sought to blame US communist conspiracy

ii)Repubs soguht to use anticommunist feeligns to win support against Dems; Congress created House Un-American Activities Committee 1947 to investigate communist subversion

iii)Investigation into former State Dept official Alger Hiss revaled some complicity w/ communists increased fear of communist infiltrations

b)The Federal Loyalty Program and the Rosenberg Case

i)Truman began 1947 program to determine “loyalty” of fed employees; FBI monitored radicals; 1950 Congress passed McCarran Interal Secuity Act forcing communist groups to register w/ government

ii)Explosion of atomic bomb by Soviets led to famous Rosenberg tiral to find out how Russia had learned of technology so quickly; Rosenbergs executed

iii)HUAC, Rosenberg trial, “Loyalty” program, Hiss ordeal, McCarran Act all lead to national anticommunist hysteria at national, state, and local level


i)Wisconsin Sen Joseph McCarthy 1951 began leveling charges of communist agents in State Dept and other agencies; his subcommittee was at the fore of anticommunist hysteria + partisan politics

d)The Republican Revival

i)Korean stalemate + anticommunist sentiments led to Dem disappointments

ii)Dem nominated Adlai Stevenson (viewed as liberal and weak on Communism); Repubs nominated popular Gen Dwight Eisenhower and VP Richard Nixon (Eisenhower talked of Korean peace, Nixon of communist subversion)

iii)Eisenhower won election by huge margin & Republicans gained control of both Houses of Congress



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