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a. Why do you think the Cold War is termed “cold”? b. Do you think today we are in a new “Cold War”? Make sure your respond to Part A showing understanding of this week’s assignments.REQUIREMENTS.Post should be in your own words.No outside research except content that is in the Module Week 12 and the text.Show understanding of the reading for Week 12 and my content comments as you write your posts.No more than 2 direct quotes per post. Direct quotations should not exceed 1.5 sentences in length.


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Prof. Haber Content Comments on Week 12
Start of the Cold War
There are many interpretation on what started the Cold War; however recent scholars Russian and non
Russian who have access now to Soviet archives have shown that the conflict of ideologies has to be
taken into consideration. This is from an article on Cold War histories:” While there has not been a
unanimous interpretation of the recently-opened archival evidence, most scholars have argued the
evidence indicates that the Soviets did harbor ideological ambitions for expansion after World War
II.(20) However, these ambitions were tempered and shaped by considerations of power and the
changing perspectives of Stalin and his advisors.(21) “”Despite the claims of Leffler and Trachtenberg,
the consensus of Cold War histories written in recent years is that ideological conflict triggered the Cold
War.(24) Even John Lewis Gaddis, who in earlier accounts emphasized misperception and
miscommunication between the two sides, now recognizes the ideological struggle that was at the heart
of the Cold War.(25) ”
Struggle between USSR and U.S.
Each side had allies and tried to gain allies especially among the emerging new nations who got
independence after WWII as colonialism disintegrated. In the Cold War each side tried to win the
loyalty of the new nations. The Soviet Union wanted to expand communism and its clients and America
wanted to keep and gain allies and “contain” the USSR at the same time supporting free governments
and free markets. When the text discussed the origins of the Cold War (758-13th ed.) and visions for the
post war world, it implies the idea of spheres of influence was “vaguely similar to the traditional
European balance of power”. The key words are vaguely similar meaning just a bit similar. The
difference was that the USSR desired to control those in its sphere. For example when Hungary tried to
break away from the Soviet sphere the USSR responded quickly with invading troops which quickly
crushed the Hungarian Revolution. Those that the Soviets controlled in Eastern Europe were ruled by
Soviet puppets and under authoritarian rule.
Remember that the Soviets and British and Americans had strong differences during the war about
military strategy; therefore, tensions developed. Because FDR wanted the aid of the USSR in ending the
war against Japan, at Yalta the Soviets were offered territory in return for their military help. FDR did so
to maintain this relationship with the Soviets to end the Pacific war. You are correct about the
issues concerning post-war Germany discussed at Yalta in February 1945. Post war European issues
were indeed controversial. FDR agreed to many of the Soviet demands concerning the division of
Germany and Berlin as well as Poland. it’s important to understand the time line. FDR died in April, 1945
and the war in Europe ended May 8. Toward the war’s end the American military leaders had
disagreements among themselves about taking the capital of Germany– Berlin. Eisenhower won out
and allowed the Soviets to take Berlin, thus avoiding more American casualties. Tensions increased
when the Soviet armies stayed (really occupied) where they “liberated” the area from the Nazi’s which
increased the tension between the U.S. and USSR. Truman now President of the U.S. distrusted the
Soviets and he took a harder stance with the Soviets as he viewed their actions in Eastern Europe after
the war in Europe ended.
On page 762 Brinkley states that the U.S. worked on containment policy rather than working to build “
open unified world” but do you think this is possible when both sides had entirely different perspective
and agendas–one open and one totalitarian and oppressive?
Fighting in the Cold War compared to previous fighting:
the difference was it was limited war. There was some fighting. The Korean War is a fine example: we
didn’t fight to gain back all of Korea but to “contain” communist incursion. Korea is still divided. We still
have troops on the 38th parallel. We still have troops in Germany. As of this month there are 28,500
military personnel in South Korea, and 48,000 Germany. The German forces will be reduced next year
but 2500, perhaps more.
A good definition of the new fighting in the Cold War (instead of total war as in WWII) is limited war for
limited ends. Both major sides in the Cold War had atomic weapons, and no side wanted to begin
WWIII. What we will see as new in the post Cold War era (after 1989) is the proliferation of atomic
weapons and rise of terrorism around the world.
Note that this conference occurred during the war. Stalin, FDR and Churchill and their advisers met at
Yalta which is in the Crimea February 1945. The USSR had the upper hand as the meeting was in USSR’s
territory (Stalin’s insistence) and FDR was very ill. Soviet armies were very close to Berlin (40 miles
away). This is where Stalin agreed to enter the war against Japan after the Germans were defeated.
Remember that the war had no ended when the Yalta conference was held. They were to discuss the
post war world. America’s primary emphasis (war weary) was not political and we were trying to
minimize the loss of American lives. That’s why the U.S. allowed the USSR to take the battle to
Berlin. The idea was to let the Soviets absorb the loss of life. If FDR and Ike had been more attuned to
the military political issues they might have pushed to get to Berlin first. General Patton was more
attuned but he was the exception. There is still a debate over Yalta. Some say it was a betrayal of
Eastern Europe to the Soviets. Others say it reflects the military necessities of the time. The spheres of
influence were where their armies were at the end of the war. Many fault FDR for acquiescing to Soviet
ambitions in Eastern Europe. Others hold a contrary perspective. They say FDR knew the American
people did not want more war and they wouldn’t be behind a new war with the Soviets to get the USSR
out of Eastern Europe. In their mind FDR didn’t give up Easter Europe because he was weak. He was
just being a practical politician in their opinion.
Free world vs. Communism in the Cold War
I get the impression from past classes that some students have the opinion that the U.S. was wrong to
fight communism. The text might call it posturing (between the sides) but many times it was more than
that—Both sides supported their clients. And yes both sides removed the opposition. The difference was
that the USSR established totalitarian rule in the countries in Eastern Europe as well as desiring world
revolution for communism. They silenced dissidents with terror, imprisonment or death. The Soviets if
you recall supported Castro in Cuba, and communist parties all over the world. They invaded Angola and
Afghanistan to give a couple of examples. There was been more bloodshed by communist countries in
the 20th century than in all other wars combined.
This site says Mao killed 45 million in 4 years.
Here’s a review of a book on Mao’s great famine.
Chang, Jung. Mao: The Unknown Story is also excellent
Costs of Containment and NSC-68
The challenge of containment would be how to accomplish it. The American people wanted a
contraction, not expansion, of government after WWII. Containment would be expensive.
George Kennan and Containment
Not only did Kennan delineate what became the policy he also predicted that communism with its lack
of human freedom and economic freedom would fall under its own weight. He urged that the U.S.
continue to challenge the Soviets economically and they would eventually fall. It happened–and we will
see that at the end of the semester when we discuss Reagan. They spent most of their GDP on defense
spending but couldn’t outspend us. Gorbachev saw the reality of this and made concessions.
Communist spies
Please take a look at the websites (see PPT and other resources Ch. 27) on Venona. These were
intercepted Soviet cables. There were more spies than anyone realized at the time. Here is an example:
In the Week 13 Resources folder, Websites, Websites on Venona folder, there are other excellent links
on the Soviet spies in the U.S.
Alger Hiss
Most people at present have concluded Alger Hiss was a communist. In 1996 some of the Venona files
were declassified. They speak of a Soviet spy who accompanied FDR to Yalta and then this same man
flew to Moscow. According to these and other material since found NSA analysts and others conclude
Hiss was indeed a Soviet spy. Take a look at the last paragraph on the page at this
website. See
There is more information on the Hiss case in a CIA website.
In it is an in depth treatment of Chambers, Hiss and the defenses both made. Scroll down the website
and look at the information researched by Historian Allan Weinstein who started out believing Hiss
innocent but found overwhelming evidence that Hiss was a spy. Last the website goes into a thorough
discussion of the Venona documents.
Truman presumed the invasion of South Korea by North Korea was orchestrated by Moscow which was
not the case. He went to the UN Security Council. The Soviets were boycotting the Security Council and
they were not there for the vote which was unanimous in favor of the U.S. This was a U.N. “police
action”. No formal declaration of war was made because of the latter. Using the military as an
instrument of foreign policy was the American strategy. Truman and his administration had a philosophy
which was anti appeasement thinking that if you appease aggression you get more
aggression. Remember Truman saw containment as global. He wanted to contain the spread of
communism. Look at the difference between North and South Korea today.
Harry Truman
Truman was confronted with problems that were immense. In his ending of the war, creator of
containment, policy toward Korea, policy toward Europe he became the architect of the 20th century.
But by the end of his presidency, the American public wondered why the communists obtained so many
post war victories. Examples are the takeover of Eastern Europe, Communist takeover of China,
detonating an Atomic bomb. Could it be some speculated that Truman had been “soft” on
Communism? How could the Communists achieve so many victories? Others speculated that there were
communists in the very offices of the State Department. Note the next President, Eisenhower, was a
victorious general. Americans yearned for the “clear” victory of WWII. Eisenhower comes into office in
1953 pledging he would be tougher on communism than his predecessor Truman and spend less money
doing it. We will see that Eisenhower has many of the same constraints as Truman did and he will use
the same instruments of foreign policy as Truman.
Prof. Haber
Chapter 27
Cold War
Mutual Distrust
1947 Truman Doctrine
Initially focused on Greece and Turkey
1947 Marshall Plan
Yugoslavia breaks from USSR
Czechoslovakia brought into USSR sphere
Berlin Blockade
Policy response
What is new?
USSR detonates A bomb
Change in policy
NSC 68
Bipolar world
Massive military build up
Korean War
Invasion across 38th Parallel: June 24, 1950
United Nations agreement
Illustration of Cold War
Truman and MacArthur
Effects of Korean War
Containment global
Use of military as instrument
Use of defensive alliances
Insecurity about communism
Red Scare at home
Republican victory in 1952
Truman Administration
Truman and Civil Rights
What he wanted
“To secure those rights”
What he achieved
Highlights of the Fair Deal
Tax Cuts passed over Truman’s veto
Taft Hartley passed over Truman’s veto
Aid to Housing, Social Security
Department of Defense

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