The Onset of the Cold War
February 28, 2002
I. Setting the Stage
1. The Alternatives for the United States [(1) Internationalism: Eleanor Roosevelt, faith in power of UN, learning the lessons of Wilsonianism; obstacles: Security Council veto, Article 51, congressional power, role of nuclear weapons; (2) Cooperation: the rise and fall of Henry Wallace, wartime spirit toward USSR; obstacles: Poland, Iran, EE; (3) Regional: Welles and Latin America, east Asia and China Lobby; obstacle: logical inconsistency; (4) Nationalists: Republican hard right, marrying of domestic and international agenda; obstacle: limited appeal]
2. Harry Truman and Foreign Policy (Truman reliance on State Department and contrast from FDR; importance of Kennan—Long Telegram and interpretation of Soviet behavior; role of European allies—ties among official classes; pulling US in—Churchill and Iron Curtain speech, Monnet and EC, Adenauer and German politics)
II. The Creation of the Cold War Consensus
1. Crisis Atmosphere (diplomatic stalemate; Soviet espionage; 1946—Iranian crisis, Churchill speech, Wallace attack on HST, midterm elections and their effect; 1947—Greece, Turkey and announcement of Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan and origins of US foreign aid program; 1948—Czech coup, Berlin airlift, collapse of KMT)
2. The Rationale for the Cold War (role of Congress: Democratic divisions and importance of Republicans; Vandenberg, Smith, HC Lodge—provide ideological justification; role of official class—Lovett, McCloy, Harriman, etc.; military)
3. Structural Change (National Security Act—creation of Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, CIA, NSC; establishment of national security state; contrasting visions of American role in world affairs)
4. Unresolved Issues (future of Germany—Kennan and possibility of unity under neutralism; importance of East Asia—MacArthur in Japan, US role in Chinese civil war; role of US government—federal role—retrenchment or permanent commitment?; the internal challenge—HUAC and different type of Cold War)
Russell Buhite, The Origins of the Cold War in East Asia
John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment
Michael Hogan, Cross of Iron
James Patterson, Mr. Republican
Michael Schaller, The American Occupation of Japan
Thomas Schwartz, America’s Germany
1.) One historian has described US foreign policy during the first half of the century as having made a transition from "nationalism to internationalism." How useful is this framework for analyzing the US approach to international affairs? Discuss, using examples from the 1910s, 1920s, and 1940s in your answer.
2.) Did the Senate’s rejection of the League of Nations affect the course of US diplomacy? Compare and contrast American foreign policy during Woodrow Wilson’s first six years with the country’s international course in the decade between 1919 and the Stock Market crash.
3.) "Despite the differing international environments, the American public viewed European instability in roughly the same way in both the 1910s and 1930s." Do you agree? Compare and contrast the debates over American policy toward World War I (1914-1917) with similar debates toward the US role in Europe (1933-1941).