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Truman and the Cold War 1945-1952.

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Presentation on theme: "Truman and the Cold War 1945-1952."— Presentation transcript:

1 Truman and the Cold War

2 Key Quote – Truman pledges the United States will “support free peoples”
The setting As World War II ended, the United States hoped for a new period of cooperation with the Soviet Union. “We really believed,” recalled one presidential advisor, “that this was the dawn of the new day we had all been praying for.” Yet within a short time this optimism vanished as the two former allies became bitter rivals. The Soviet Union steadily tightened its grip on Eastern Europe. While the United States demobilized its forces, the Red Army supported new Communist governments. Communist officials imprisoned opponents, censored newspapers, and established state-controlled radio stations. Guards patrolled the borders to prevent people from escaping. In a speech in Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill warned that, “an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent.” The nations of Eastern Europe were now satellites controlled by the Soviet Union.

3 Key Quote – Truman pledges the United States will “support free peoples”
The setting George Kennan, a leading expert on Soviet affairs, believed that Cold War hostility would remain a constant factor for years to come. In an influential 1947 article Kennan recommended that the United States should adopt a policy of “long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment.” By containment he meant adopting a strategic policy of blocking the expansion of Soviet influence. The threat of Communist expansion was not limited to Eastern Europe. In early 1947, Communist pressure threatened the independence of Greece and Turkey. President Truman accepted America’s responsibility to become the leader of the Free World. On March 12, 1947 he asked Congress for $400 million for military and economic aid to help Greece and Turkey.

4 Key Quote – Truman pledges the United States will “support free peoples”
The quote “It must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.”

5 Key Quote – Truman pledges the United States will “support free peoples”
Importance Congress overwhelmingly approved Truman’s request. The aid played a vital role in helping Greece and Turkey successfully confront the Communist threat. The Truman Doctrine marked the first use of containment. As the leader of the Free World, America pledged to use its strength to limit the spread of Communism throughout the world. This global commitment dominated American foreign policy from 1947 to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.


7 Containment in Europe The Marshall Plan
Greece and Turkey were not the only countries that needed aid. World War II left Western Europe in ruins. Homeless families struggled to survive in shattered cities. Devastated factories could not provide employment or produce badly needed goods. In France and Italy many frustrated workers cast their votes for the Communist Party. Secretary of State George Marshall argued that the United States had to act quickly. Speaking at Harvard University in June 1947, he proposed a bold plan to offer massive economic aid to help reconstruct Europe. “Our policy,” he said, “is directed not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos.”

8 Containment in Europe The Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan helped revive European hopes and spark a dramatic economic recovery. During the next four years, sixteen Eastern European countries received $13 billion. American dollars helped to rebuild apartments and retool factories. Within four years, industrial production in the countries receiving Marshall Plan aid was 41 percent higher than it had been on the eve of World War II. The Marshall Plan thus accomplished its twin goals of reconstructing Europe and containing Communism.

9 Containment in Europe The NATO alliance
The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan represented the first two phases of America’s new containment policy. The third phase came in 1949 when the United States, Canada, and ten Western European nations formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The NATO members pledged military support to one another in case any member was attacked. America’s decision to join an alliance based upon collective security marked a decisive break from its prewar policy of isolationism. The NATO alliance escalated the Cold War. The Russians retaliated by forming a military alliance with its Eastern European satellites called the Warsaw Pact. Two hostile alliances now confronted each other across a divided Europe.


11 Containment in Europe The Berlin Airlift
At the end of World War II, the Allies divided Germany into four separate zones. The city of Berlin, lying 110 miles inside the Soviet zone, was also divided among the Allies. In June 1948, the United States, Great Britain, and France agreed to merge their three occupation zones into a new German republic. Stalin reacted quickly to thwart this plan. On June 24, 1948, the Soviets suddenly cut off all highway and railroad traffic into West Berlin. The 2.2 million people living in West Berlin had coal supplies for 45 days and enough food for just 36 days.

12 Containment in Europe The Berlin Airlift
The Berlin blockade represented the first great Cold War test of wills between the United States and the Soviet Union. If Truman withdrew from West Berlin he would lose the city and the confidence of all Western Europe. Truman refused to give in to Stalin. He ordered a massive airlift to supply the 4,500 tons of food and fuel which Berliners needed each day. As the Berlin airlift succeeded, tensions slowly eased. The constant roar of planes over Berlin provided a vivid demonstration of American power and will. On May 12, 1949, Stalin reopened road and rail traffic into West Berlin.

13 Containment in Asia A new Japan
President Truman placed General Douglas MacArthur in charge of the Japanese occupation. Under MacArthur’s direction, Japan adopted a new constitution that created a democratic government. At the same time, American aid helped Japan rebuild factories, launch new electronic industries, and implement a program of land reform. By 1953, the Japanese economy was performing at prewar levels. MacArthur’s display of firm but fair leadership won the respect of the Japanese people. The United States and Japan gradually came to view each other as allies.

14 Containment in Asia The fall of China
While the Japanese recovered, a civil war divided China. As World War II ended, conflict between the Nationalists led by Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists led by Mao Zedong spread across the country. Despite massive American aid, Chiang’s forces steadily lost ground. An American military advisor reported that the Nationalist losses were due to “the world’s worst leadership” and “a complete loss of will to fight.”

15 Containment in Asia The fall of China
On October 1, 1949, Mao triumphantly announced the birth of the People’s Republic of China. Meanwhile, Chiang and the remnants of his defeated army fled to Formosa (renamed Taiwan), an island 100 miles from the Chinese mainland. In early 1950, Mao signed a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union. Alarmed Americans viewed the Chinese Revolution as part of a menacing Communist monolith (a single unified force). The fall of China represented a bitter defeat for American Cold War diplomacy. The U.S. refused to establish diplomatic relations with Mao’s new government. Instead, Truman recognized the government in Taiwan as the representative of all China.

16 Containment in Asia The outbreak of the Korean War
Korea occupies a strategic peninsula which borders China and Russia and extends to within 100 miles of Japan. After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to divide Korea at the 38th parallel. The Soviets quickly established a Communist government in North Korea and the United States supported a noncommunist government in South Korea. On June 25, 1950 the North Korean army suddenly attacked South Korea. Supported by artillery and heavy tanks, about 90,000 North Korean soldiers smashed through the South Korean defenses and rolled south.

17 Containment in Asia The outbreak of the Korean War
The North Korean surprise attack stunned the United States. Truman saw the invasion as a test of containment and an opportunity to prove that the Democrats were not “soft” on Communism. He immediately called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. Normally the Soviets would have vetoed any plan of action. However, the Soviet representative was boycotting the Security Council because it would not seat Communist China in place of the Nationalist government in Taiwan. The Security Council promptly condemned the North Korean aggression and called upon member nations to aid South Korea. Within days, American troops commanded by General MacArthur rushed into South Korea. The American forces formed the core of a UN army that included units from fourteen other nations. It is important to note that Truman decided to fight the war under the auspices of the UN. As a result, he did not ask Congress for a declaration of war.

18 Containment in Asia Truman fires MacArthur
By the end of September 1950, MacArthur’s reinforced army recaptured all of South Korea. The next month, MacArthur confidently crossed the 38th parallel in a bid to reunite the entire Korean peninsula. The Chinese warned that they would not “stand idly by” and allow a North Korean defeat. On November 25th China launched a devastating counterattack that took MacArthur by surprise and drove the UN forces back into South Korea. Truman now decided to give up the attempt to unify Korea and instead adopted a policy of fighting a limited war to save South Korea. MacArthur publicly questioned Truman’s decision, “We must win. There is no substitute for victory.” This open act of insubordination forced Truman to remove MacArthur from all his commands. Truman’s action ignited a firestorm of public outrage. However, the American public gradually came to accept MacArthur’s recall as a necessary decision to protect the principle of civilian control of the military.

19 Containment in Asia The Korean armistice
The Korean War continued for another two years. The prolonged stalemate was a source of mounting frustration that influenced both the rise of Senator McCarthy and the election of Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. The North Koreans finally signed an armistice agreement on July 27, The armistice provided for a cease-fire that left the border between the two Koreas along the 38th parallel.

20 The Cold War at Home A second Red Scare
The Communist victory in China followed by the outbreak of the Korean War shocked America. Public apprehension deepened when the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb thus ending America’s nuclear monopoly. These stunning reversals heightened the public’s fear that Communist agents had infiltrated the State Department and other sensitive government agencies. This apprehension did not seem unjustified. Prodded by the relentless investigation of Richard Nixon, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) discovered that a prominent State Department official named Alger Hiss had been a Soviet spy in the 1930s. Even more disquieting (unsettling), news surfaced when the government discovered that a British-American spy network had transmitted secret information about the development of the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. This discovery led to the arrest and ultimate execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for espionage. The Red Scare even extended to Hollywood. Motion picture executives drew up a “blacklist” of about 500 writers, directors, and actors who were suspended from work for their supposed political beliefs and associations.

21 The Cold War at Home The rise of McCarthyism
The Hiss and Rosenberg cases touched a sensitive public nerve. The American people believed that they were locked in a life-or-death struggle with world Communism. Angry and bewildered citizens wanted to know why America appeared to be losing the Cold War.

22 The Cold War at Home The rise of McCarthyism
Joseph McCarthy, a previously obscure Senator from Wisconsin, skillfully exploited the political climate of paranoia. On February 9, 1950, McCarthy told an audience in Wheeling, West Virginia that America’s foreign policy failures could be traced to Communist infiltration of the State Department. He menacingly declared, “I have in my hand a list of 205 – a list of names known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.” In speeches given the next two days, McCarthy repeated his charges but dropped the number of names on his list to 57. McCarthy failed to uncover a single Communist. His practice of making unsubstantial accusations of disloyalty without evidence became known as McCarthyism. Nonetheless, his campaign of innuendo and half-truths made him one of the most powerful and feared politicians in America.

23 The Cold War at Home The fall of McCarthy
Many of President Eisenhower’s advisors urged him to use his own great prestige to confront McCarthy. But Ike refused saying, “I will not get in the gutter with that guy.” McCarthy finally caused his own downfall in the spring of 1954 when he launched a televised investigation of the U.S. Army. A national audience of more than 20 million people watched as McCarthy bullied witnesses, twisted people’s testimony, and used phony evidence. The Army-McCarthy hearings swiftly turned public sentiment against McCarthy. In December 1954 the full Senate formally censured McCarthy for his dishonorable conduct. Flashing his famous grin, Ike asked his cabinet, “Have you heard the latest? McCarthyism is McCarthywasm.”

24 Labor Relations and Racial Relations
The Taft-Hartley Act Many economists predicted that a new depression would follow the end of World War II. Instead the economy began a new boom. During the war, Americans saved about $140 billion. Consumers were now eager to spend their savings on new homes, cars, and household appliances.

25 Labor Relations and Racial Relations
The Taft-Hartley Act Unfortunately, frustrated consumers soon found that the demand for goods exceeded the supply. When Congress removed the wartime wage and price controls the price of food, clothing, and fuel jumped 50 percent between 1946 and 1948. As prices rose labor leaders demanded higher wages. When management refused, the unions went out on strike. In 1946 there were a record 5,000 strikes, involving 4.7 million workers. For a time walkouts by coal miners and railroad workers threatened to paralyze the economy.

26 Labor Relations and Racial Relations
The Taft-Hartley Act Conservative Democrats and Republicans argued that the wave of strikes demonstrated that unions were abusing their power and endangering national security. In June 1947, Congress enacted the Taft-Hartley Act over President Truman’s veto. The act contained a number of provisions designed to curb the power of labor unions. It authorized the federal government to issue an 80-day injunction against a strike that would endanger the “national health or safety.” It also prohibited direct union contributions to political campaigns and required union leaders to file affidavits that they were not Communists. An especially controversial provision permitted states to enact right-to-work laws that made it possible for a worker to hold a job without being required to join a union.

27 Labor Relations and Racial Relations
Civil rights In the months before the 1946 congressional election, black leaders attempted to start a voter registration drive in the South. Ku Klux Klan members and their supporters responded by threatening and even killing African Americans who tried to exercise their rights. The violence outraged the black community. President Truman responded to their complaints by appointing a presidential commission to study mob violence and civil rights. In the fall of 1947 the committee issued a report calling for a federal anti-lynching law, a civil rights division within the Justice Department, and a permanent Fair Employment Practices Committee. However, southern opposition blocked any action by Congress. The battle over civil rights continued at the Democratic National Convention. Minneapolis mayor Hubert H. Humphrey called upon the delegates to support a civil rights plank in the party platform. He passionately declared: “The time has arrived for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.”

28 Labor Relations and Racial Relations
Civil rights Segregationist delegates from the Deep South promptly walked out of the convention. Two weeks later they met in Birmingham, Alabama and nominated South Carolina governor Strom Thurman to head a new States’ Rights or “Dixiecrat” Party. Although Truman eventually won the 1948 presidential election, the Dixiecrats carried four southern states. The election showed that lifelong southern Democrats would desert their party over the issue of segregation. Southern resistance continued to block civil rights action in Congress. Truman was nonetheless able to use the power of the presidency to issue an executive order ending racial segregation in the armed forces. As a result, African Americans served in integrated units in the Korean War.

29 Prompt #9 Truman was successful in handling the Cold War. Assess the validity of this statement.

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