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THE AMERICAN CENTURY The Postwar Economy –after Roosevelt’s death, Truman attempted to follow Roosevelt’s policies at home and abroad –the first issue.

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Presentation on theme: "THE AMERICAN CENTURY The Postwar Economy –after Roosevelt’s death, Truman attempted to follow Roosevelt’s policies at home and abroad –the first issue."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE AMERICAN CENTURY The Postwar Economy –after Roosevelt’s death, Truman attempted to follow Roosevelt’s policies at home and abroad –the first issue he confronted after the war was reconversion of the economy –at the war’s end, most Americans wanted to demobilize the military, end wartime controls, and reduce taxes –policymakers hoped to avoid both sudden economic dislocation and a return to depression

2 –torn between these objectives, Truman vacillated –yet the nation weathered demobilization with relative ease; pent-up consumer demand spurred production –however, inflation and labor unrest helped the Republicans to win control of Congress in 1946 –in 1947, Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act, outlawing “closed shops” and authorizing the president to order an eighty-day cooling off period in strikes that threatened the national interest

3 At Home and Work –the wartime trend toward earlier marriages and larger families accelerated with the war’s end –government policies, such as income tax deductions for dependents, further encouraged the inclination of people to have children –household management and child rearing became the career of choice for millions of American women, including college graduates –scholars supported the notion that women belonged in the home

4 –although men assumed prominent roles in some domestic rituals, they were expected to cede management of the domestic sphere to women –a man’s primary contribution to the family was to earn enough to sustain it –unemployment remained low, but the character or work changed in unsettling ways –large corporations depended on increasing numbers of managers and clerical workers –entrepreneurial individuals gave way to “organization men” and the need to conform

5 –attitudes toward marriage and child rearing spanned the spectrum of American society –the growth of suburbs gave a physical dimension to emerging ideas of family life –much as it reinforced the desire to have larger families, government policies encouraged the growth of suburbs –not all women in the suburbs lived the life portrayed in television situation comedies –substantial numbers worked outside the home, particularly in the clerical and service sectors of the economy

6 The Containment Policy –Stalin seemed intent on expanding Soviet power into central Europe, Asia, and the Middle East –by January 1946, Truman moved toward a tougher stand with respect to the Soviet Union –George F. Kennan, a foreign service officer, contended that origins of Soviet expansionism lay in the instability and illegitimacy of the Soviet regime

7 –he proposed that the United States firmly but patiently resist Soviet expansion wherever it appeared –Kennan never elaborated on how, precisely, the Soviet Union should be contained or in what parts of the world the policy should be applied

8 The Atom Bomb: A “Winning” Weapon? –although Truman authorized the use of the atom bomb to force the surrender of Japan, he also hoped that it would serve as a counterweight to the numerically superior Red Army –Stalin, however, refused to be intimidated –in addition, horrifying accounts of the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki left Americans uneasy –Truman came to doubt that American people would permit the use of atomic weapons for aggressive purposes

9 –in November 1945, the United States proposed that the United Nations supervise all production of nuclear energy –U.N. created an Atomic Energy Commission, which put forward a plan for the eventual outlawing of atomic weapons backed by unrestricted U.N. inspections –the Soviets rejected the American and U.N. plans

10 A Turning Point in Greece –in 1947, the policy of containment began to take shape –responding to a communist threat in Greece, Truman asked Congress for economic and military aid for Greece and Turkey –the Truman Doctrine promised “to support free peoples resisting subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures” –in selling his proposal, Truman overstated the threat and couched the request in ideological terms

11 The Marshall Plan and the Lesson of History –the economies of European countries remained unstable after the war –in 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall proposed a plan by which the U.S. would finance reconstruction of European economy –western European powers eagerly seized upon Marshall’s suggestion –although initially tempted, Stalin declined to take part and insisted that eastern European nations do so as well

12 –after the fall of Czechoslovakia in a communist coup in February 1948, Congress appropriated over $13 billion for European recovery effort –the results were spectacular; by 1951, the economies of western Europe were booming –western European nations moved toward social, cultural, and economic collaboration –Britain, France, and the United States created a single West German Republic from their zones of occupation –when the Soviets closed ground access to Berlin, the United States responded with an airlift that forced the Soviets to lift the blockade

13 Dealing with Japan and China –containment proved far less effective in the Far East than it did in Europe –American policy succeeded in Japan and failed in China –after the surrender of Japan, a four-power Allied Control Commission was established, but American forces, led by General MacArthur, controlled Japan and encouraged Japan’s nascent democracy

14 –Japan emerged economically strong, politically stable, and firmly allied with the United States –the problems in China were probably insurmountable –Truman dispatched George C. Marshall to negotiate a settlement between Chiang Kai- shek’s nationalists and Mao Tse-tung’s communists –this attempt at compromise failed, and civil war soon erupted

15 The Election of 1948 –by spring of 1948, public opinion polls revealed that most Americans considered Truman incompetent –he had alienated both southern conservatives and northern liberals –Truman still managed to win the nomination; but southern Democrats, known as “Dixiecrats,” walked out when the convention adopted a strong civil rights plank and chose Strom Thurmond to run on a third-party ticket

16 –compounding matters, the left wing also defected; Henry A. Wallace ran on the Progressive ticket –the Republican nominee, Governor Thomas Dewey of New York, anticipating an easy victory, ran a listless campaign –Truman, in contrast, launched a vigorous campaign –his strong denunciation of the “do nothing” Republican Congress and the success of the Berlin Airlift aided his reelection bid

17 –many Democratic liberals thought Wallace too pro-Soviet and voted for Truman –Truman surprised everyone and won a narrow victory in the popular vote and a more substantial one in the electoral college –after the election, Truman put forward a number of proposals, which he called the Fair Deal –however, little of his program was enacted into law

18 Containing Communism Abroad –during Truman’s second term, the confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union increasingly dominated attention –the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, designed to protect the West from Soviet aggression, was formed in 1949 –the Soviet detonation of an atomic bomb in September 1949 led Truman to authorize development of a hydrogen bomb –containment failed in Asia. In China, Mao’s communists defeated the nationalists

19 –Chiang’s forces fled in disarray to Formosa in 1949 –right-wing Republicans charged that Truman had not supported the Chinese nationalists strongly enough and had therefore “lost” China –Truman ordered a review of containment –the resulting report, NSC-68, called for a massive expansion of the nation's armed forces –although Truman initially had reservations about the document, events in Korea changed his mind

20 Hot War in Korea –American policymakers had decided that a land war on the Asian continent would be impracticable –yet when communist North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950, Truman decided on a military response –despite early gains by the North, U.N. forces (90 percent American) under the command of MacArthur turned the tide and began pressing north

21 –MacArthur proposed conquest of North Korea –despite opposition from his civilian advisors, Truman authorized an advance as far as the Chinese border –in November 1950, 33 divisions of the People’s Republic of China army crossed the Yalu River and shattered U.N. lines –MacArthur urged the bombing of Chinese installations north of the Yalu and a blockade of China

22 –when Truman rejected his proposals, MacArthur openly criticized the administration –Truman removed MacArthur from command –in June 1951, the communists agreed to negotiations, which dragged on interminably –initially, this “police action” was popular with the American public, but the bloody stalemate eroded public enthusiasm

23 The Communist Issue at Home –the frustrating Korean War illustrated the paradox that, at the height of its power, American influence was waning –the United States faced internal as well as external threats –exposure of communist espionage in Canada and Great Britain fueled American fears of communist subversion

24 –hoping to allay allegations that he was “soft” on communism, Truman established the Loyalty Review Board in 1947 to ensure that no subversives found employment in the federal government –the Hiss and Rosenberg trials heightened the climate of fear

25 McCarthyism –in February 1950, Joseph R. McCarthy, an obscure senator from Wisconsin, charged that the State Department was “infested” with communists –although he offered no evidence to support his claims, many Americans believed him –McCarthy went on to make more fantastic accusations

26 –the enormity of his charges and the status of his targets convinced many that there had to be some truth in his accusations –events of the early cold war and the public’s resulting fears made people more susceptible to McCarthy’s allegations

27 Dwight D. Eisenhower –the Republican party selected Eisenhower as their candidate in 1952 –aside from his popularity as a war hero, Eisenhower’s genial tolerance made a welcome change from Truman –his ability as a leader was amply demonstrated by his military career, and his campaign promise to go to Korea was a political masterstroke –Eisenhower easily defeated his Democratic opponent, Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois

28 –Eisenhower dismantled no New Deal programs and undertook some modest new initiatives –moreover, he adopted an essentially Keynesian approach to economic issues –Eisenhower proved to be a first-rate politician who knew how to be flexible without compromising basic values –in spite of his political skills, however, he was unable to recast the Republican Party in his own, moderate, image

29 The Eisenhower-Dulles Foreign Policy –president and his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, formulated a “New Look” in foreign policy, which reduced reliance on conventional forces and relied instead on America’s nuclear arsenal to achieve international stability –this approach promised to save money and to prevent the United States from being caught up in another local conflict like the Korean War –moreover, Dulles hoped the new approach would make it possible to “liberate” eastern Europe and “unleash” Chaing against the Chinese mainland

30 –after administration hinted at its willingness to use nuclear weapons, Chinese signed armistice that ended hostilities but left Korea divided –threatened use of nuclear weapons also seemed to convince the Chinese to abandon their aggressive intent toward Quemoy and Matsu –the New Look did succeed in reducing the defense budget, but it did not lead to the liberation of eastern Europe –further, unleashing Chaing would have been like pitting a Pekingese against a tiger –above all, “massive retaliation” made little sense when the Soviet Union also possessed nuclear weapons

31 McCarthy Self-Destructs –even after it came under the control of his own party, McCarthy did not moderate his attacks on the State Department –partly in an effort to blunt McCarthy’s charges, Dulles sanctioned the dismissal of nearly five hundred State Department employees –early in 1954, McCarthy finally overreached himself by leveling allegations at the army

32 –televised broadcasts of the Army-McCarthy Senate hearings revealed to the American public McCarthy’s disregard for decency and truth –with Eisenhower quietly applying pressure behind the scenes, the Senate voted to censure McCarthy in 1954

33 Asian Policy After Korea –both Truman and Eisenhower provided aid to France’s efforts to defeat the Viet Minh in Indochina –however, during the siege of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, Eisenhower refused to commit American personnel to the struggle –France soon surrendered; and France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China signed an agreement that divided Vietnam at the 17th parallel and called for a national election in 1956

34 –North Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Minh, established a communist government –in South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem overthrew the emperor, and the United States provided support and advice to his new government –the planned election was never held, and Vietnam remained divided –Dulles organized the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO)

35 The Middle East Cauldron –American policy in the Middle East was influenced by that region’s massive petroleum reserves and by the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors –Truman consistently made support for Israel a priority –Eisenhower and Dulles deemphasized support for Israel –U.S. provided economic aid to Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser but refused to sell him arms –the Soviets gladly provided the arms, and Nasser drifted toward the Eastern Bloc

36 –in response, the United States withdrew its funding of the Aswan Dam –Nasser then nationalized the Suez Canal –an allied force of British, French, and Israeli forces attacked Egypt in October 1956 –the United States and the Soviet Union eventually compelled the invaders to withdraw, and the crisis subsided –in January 1956, Eisenhower announced the “Eisenhower Doctrine,” stating that the United States would use armed force anywhere in the Middle East “to halt aggression from any nation controlled by international communism”

37 Eisenhower and Khrushchev –Eisenhower defeated Stevenson by an even greater margin in 1956 than he had in 1952 –the cold war escalated when United States detonated the first hydrogen bomb in 1952 and the Soviets followed suit within six months –after Stalin’s death in 1953, his successor, Nikita Khrushchev, attempted to move the Soviet Union away from Stalinism –abroad, Khrushchev courted many emerging nations by appealing to the anti-western prejudices of countries recently held as colonies and by offering economic and technological aid

38 –Eisenhower understood that the United States maintained superiority in the nuclear arms race –further, he was aware of the Soviet Union’s many weaknesses, but the Soviet success in placing the Sputnik satellite in orbit alarmed many Americans –Eisenhower knew that, militarily, the Soviet Union was no match for the United States and that Sputnik had not changed the equation appreciably –yet to call the Soviet bluff might prod Khrushchev to rash action

39 –Eisenhower reassured American people they had little to fear and otherwise remained silent –Eisenhower exercised great restraint in the conduct of foreign policy, particularly when faced with a crisis –although he had always guided foreign policy, Eisenhower took over much of the actual conduct of diplomacy after failing health forced Dulles to resign in 1959 –confronted with the threat of nuclear war moved the United States and the Soviet Union toward accommodation

40 –in the summer of 1959, Vice-President Richard M. Nixon visited Moscow, and Khrushchev toured the United States in September –in this new air of cordiality, a date was set for a new summit meeting –this meeting never took place –on May 1, 1960, the Soviets shot down an American reconnaissance plane over Soviet territory, and Soviet-American relations quickly soured

41 Latin America Aroused –the United States neglected Latin America in the postwar years –like Truman, Eisenhower supported military governments in preference to communist revolutions –violent anti-American rioting illustrated the depth of anti-Yankee sentiment and forced curtailment of Vice-President Nixon’s “good- will” tour in 1958 –in 1959, Fidel Castro overthrew Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista

42 –although Eisenhower quickly recognized the new Cuban government, Castro soon began to spout anti-American rhetoric; he also confiscated American property –when Castro established close relations with the Soviet Union, Eisenhower banned the importation of Cuban sugar –Khrushchev announced that American intervention in Cuba would be met with nuclear retaliation by the Soviet Union –near the end of his second term, Eisenhower broke off relations with Cuba

43 The Politics of Civil Rights –during the Cold War, America’s treatment of its racial minorities took on added importance because of the ideological competition with communism –America’s blacks became increasingly unwilling to accept their status as second-class citizens –Truman had proposed civil rights reforms but failed to sway Congress –Eisenhower succeeded in integrating the military, but the direct assault on racial inequality came from the Supreme Court

44 –in Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka (1954), the Court overturned the doctrine of “separate but equal” –although Eisenhower believed that equality could not be legislated, he refused to countenance defiance of federal authority or the Constitution –when the governor of Arkansas used the National Guard to prevent the execution of a federal court order upholding the right of a handful of black children to attend Little Rock’s Central High School, Eisenhower nationalized the Arkansas Guard and sent federal troops to enforce the order

45 –the Eisenhower administration gained passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which created a Civil Rights Commission and authorized the Department of Justice to ensure the right of southern blacks to register and to vote –the act proved difficult to enforce

46 The Election of 1960 –Eisenhower reluctantly endorsed the candidacy of Vice-President Nixon –Nixon ran on the Eisenhower legacy and on his own reputation as a staunch anticommunist –the Democrats nominated John F. Kennedy, a senator from Massachusetts, and chose the Senate majority leader, Lyndon Johnson, as his running mate

47 –although he had not been a particularly liberal congressman, Kennedy sought to appear more forward-looking as a presidential candidate –Kennedy benefited from his television presence during several debates with Nixon –in the end, Kennedy won a paper-thin victory in the popular vote


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