Presentation on theme: "The End of World War II in Europe Michael S. Neiberg"— Presentation transcript:
The End of World War II in Europe Michael S. Neiberg
The Horrors of Europe: Is Europe Still a Model for the USA? “I never dreamed that such cruelty, bestiality, and savagery could really exist in this world” – Eisenhower to his wife, Mamie Ike urged Marshall to bring the entire US Congress to see the camps for themselves. Eisenhower and other senior American officers tour a liberated concentration camp
Domestic Problems Racial tensions and Riots across the nation Economic concerns: will the Depression return “Reconversion” of US industry and the integration of 12,000,000 young men Racial violence in Detroit, 1945
Other Major International Problems Rebuilding of Japan Civil War in China Resettlement of Jews in Palestine Colonial issues in India, Vietnam, and Malaya George Marshall in China, 1946
US Strategic Choices: Mass Demobilization Europe “has degenerated into a state worse than that of animals” – a US soldier after seeing the Buchenwald concentration camp.
US Strategic Choices: Stay Mobilized "Let's keep our boots polished, bayonets sharpened, and present a picture of force and strength to the Red Army. This is the only language they understand and respect” – George Patton.
US Strategic Choices: Constructive Engagement “What Rome was to the ancient world, what Great Britain has been to the modern world, America is to the world of tomorrow” – two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Walter Lippman.
The New World No peace conference like 1919 European states devastated – Agriculture, transport, and industry all destroyed US and USSR now in charge and their goals in conflict
Potsdam Conference 17 July to 2 August 1945 Unconditional Surrender for Japan “The freely expressed will of the Japanese people” will determine its government Each power to take reparations from its sector of Germany Germany to be “denazified” Surrender of Japanese forces in Korea and Vietnam agreed. Clement Atlee, Harry Truman, and Josef Stalin at Potsdam.
What to do with Germany? Morgenthau Plan British desires to rebuild Germany USSR wants to devastate it USA wanted Germany in a new alliance Partition Starving children reaching for food in Germany, 1946
Unresolved Questions Can the USA trust Stalin? Will the Germans try again? When will America’s allies be ready to help? Is a Cold War inevitable?
US Strategy The “Long Telegram” Demobilization Need to rebuild our allies reshape Europe
The New Secretary of State January 21, 1947 First general to serve in that role Non-partisan image (GOP controlled Congress) Had no interest in elected office
Can America Meet Its New Challenges? “I found the problems to be almost identical with those of the war years. There was the same problem between East and West; the same limitations as to our capability; the same pressures at home and abroad.”
The First Phase, George Kennan’s “Long Telegram” and the policy of containment “Lessons” of World War II Truman Doctrine Creation of NATO and Warsaw Pact Korean War, US and Soviet soldiers meet on the Elbe, April, 1945
New US Defense Policies 1950: NSC 68 recommended tripling defense budget 1952: US introduced peacetime conscription 1953: US builds first H- bomb : US sends more military personnel to Europe than to Asia 1955: (West) Germany rearmed The King gets drafted, 1958
Phase Two: USSR and USA want to avoid nuclear war So they fight “proxy” wars in the Third World Connections to wars of anticolonialism Few direct confrontations Soviet advisors in Vietnam, 1966
Final Phase, Reagan and “evil empire” rhetoric SDI and massive US military spending Alliances with Saudi Arabia to reduce USSR oil values, bring Arab states into US alliances Defeat USSR with economic effort, not direct military confrontation Building tight US – Saudi links seemed like a good idea at the time
Soviet Initiatives Perestroika (restructuring) and Glasnost (openness) USSR spending 50% of its GDP on defense Sign bipartisan disarmament agreements Seek to use the US as a partner not an enemy Dismantle Warsaw Pact, remove troops from Eastern Europe “I was talking about another time and another era” – Reagan when asked about his “evil empire” statement of 1982