: Cold War

: Cold War

Ministry of education, science and culture

High College of English

Graduation Paper

on theme:

U.S. - Soviet relations.

Student: Pavlunina I.V.

Supervisor: Kolpakov A. V.

Bishkek 2000




Chapter 1: The Historical Background of Cold War. 5

1.1 The Historical Context.


1.2 Causes and Interpretations.


Chapter 2: The Cold War Chronology.


2.1 The War Years.


2.2 The Truman Doctrine.


2.3 The Marshall Plan.


Chapter 3: The Role of Cold War in American History and Diplomacy. 37

3.1 Declaration of the Cold War.


3.2 old War Issues.






The reference list.



This graduation paper is about U.S. - Soviet relations in Cold War period.

Our purpose is to find out the causes of this war, positions of the countries

which took part in it. We also will discuss the main Cold War's events.

The Cold War was characterized by mutual distrust, suspicion and

misunderstanding by both the United States and Soviet Union, and their

allies. At times, these conditions increased the likelihood of the third

world war. The United States accused the USSR of seeking to expand Communism

throughout the world. The Soviets, meanwhile, charged the United States with

practicing imperialism and with attempting to stop revolutionary activity in

other countries. Each block's vision of the world contributed to East-West

tension. The United States wanted a world of independent nations based on

democratic principles. The Soviet Union, however, tried control areas it

considered vital to its national interest, including much of Eastern Europe.

Through the Cold War did not begin until the end of World War II, in 1945,

U.S.-Soviet relations had been strained since 1917. In that year, a

revolution in Russia established a Communist dictatorship there. During the

1920's and 1930's, the Soviets called for world revolution and the

destruction of capitalism, the economic system of United States. The United

States did not grant diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union until 1933.

In 1941, during World War II, Germany attacked the Soviet Union. The Soviet

Union then joined the Western Allies in fighting Germany. For a time early in

1945, it seemed possible that a lasting friendship might develop between the

United States and Soviet Union based on their wartime cooperation. However,

major differences continued to exist between the two, particularly with

regard to Eastern Europe. As a result of these differences, the United States

adopted a "get tough" policy toward the Soviet Union after the war ended.

The Soviets responded by accusing the United States and the other capitalist

allies of the West of seeking to encircle the Soviet Union so they could

eventually overthrow its Communist form of government.

The subject of Cold War interests American historicans and journalists as

well as Russian ones. In particular, famous journalist Henryh Borovik fraces

this topic in his book. He analyzes the events of Cold War from the point of

view of modern Russian man. With appearing of democracy and freedom of speech

we could free ourselves from past stereotype in perception of Cold War's

events as well as America as a whole, we also learnt something new about

American people's real life and personality. A new developing stage of

relations with the United States has begun with the collapse of the Soviet

Union on independent states. And in order to direct these relations in the

right way it is necessary to study events of Cold War very carefully and try

to avoid past mistakes. Therefore this subject is so much popular in our


This graduation paper consist of three chapters. The first chapter maintain

the historical documents which comment the origins of the Cold War.

The second chapter maintain information about the most popular Cold War's


The third chapter analyze the role of Cold War in World policy and diplomacy.

The chapter also adduce the Cold War issues.

Chapter 1: The Historical Background of Cold War.

1.1 The Historical Context.

The animosity of postwar Soviet-American relations drew on a deep reservoir

of mutual distrust. Soviet suspicion of the United States went back to

America's hostile reaction to the Bolshevik revolution itself. At the end of

World War I, President Woodrow Wilson had sent more than ten thousand

American soldiers as part of an expeditionary allied force to overthrow the

new Soviet regime by force. When that venture failed, the United States

nevertheless withheld its recognition of the Soviet government. Back in the

United States, meanwhile, the fear of Marxist radicalism reached an

hysterical pitch with the Red Scare of 1919-20. Attorney General A. Mitchell

Palmer ordered government agents to arrest 3,000 purported members of the

Communist party, and then attempted to deport them. American attitudes toward

the seemed encapsulated in the comments of one minister who called for the

removal of communists in "ships of stone with sails of lead, with the wrath

of God for a breeze and with hell for their first port."

American attitudes toward the Soviet Union, in turn, reflected profound

concern about Soviet violation of human rights, democratic procedures, and

international rules of civility. With brutal force, Soviet leaders had

imposed from above a revolution of agricultural collectivization and

industrialization. Millions had died as a consequence of forced removal from

their lands. Anyone who protested was killed or sent to one of the hundreds

of prison camps which, in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's words, stretched across

the Soviet Union like a giant archipelago. What kind of people were these,

one relative of a prisoner asked, "who first decreed and then carried out

this mass destruction of their own kind?" Furthermore, Soviet foreign policy

seemed committed to the spread of revolution to other countries, with

international coordination of subversive activities placed in the hands of

the Comintern. It was difficult to imagine two more different societies.

For a brief period after the United States granted diplomatic recognition to

the Soviet Union in 1933, a new spirit of cooperation prevailed. But by the

end of the 1930s suspicion and alienation had once again become dominant.

From a Soviet perspective, the United States seemed unwilling to join

collectively to oppose the Japanese and German menace. On two occasions, the

United States had refused to act in concert against Nazi Germany. When

Britain and France agreed at Munich to appease Adolph Hitler, the Soviets

gave up on any possibility of allied action against Germany and talked of a

capitalist effort to encircle and destroy the Soviet regime.

Yet from a Western perspective, there seemed little basis for distinguishing

between Soviet tyranny and Nazi totalitarianism. Between 1936 and 1938 Stalin

engaged in his own holocaust, sending up to 6 million Soviet citizens to

their deaths in massive purge trials. Stalin "saw enemies everywhere," his

daughter later recalled, and with a vengeance frightening in its

irrationality, sought to destroy them. It was an "orgy of terror," one

historian said. Diplomats saw high officials tapped on the shoulder in public

places, removed from circulation, and then executed. Foreigners were subject

to constant surveillance. It was as if, George Kennan noted, outsiders were

representatives of "the devil, evil and dangerous, and to be shunned."

On the basis of such experience, many Westerners concluded that Hitler and

Stalin were two of a kind, each reflecting a blood-thirsty obsession with

power no matter what the cost to human decency. "Nations, like individuals,"

Kennan said in 1938, "are largely the products of their environment." As

Kennan perceived it, the Soviet personality was neurotic, conspiratorial, and

untrustworthy. Such impressions were only reinforced when Stalin suddenly

announced a nonaggression treaty with Hitler in August 1939, and later that

year invaded the small, neutral state of Finland. It seemed that Stalin and

Hitler deserved each other. Hence, the reluctance of some to change their

attitudes toward the Soviet Union when suddenly, in June 1941, Germany

invaded Russia and Stalin became "Uncle Joe."

Compounding the problem of historical distrust was the different way in which

the two nations viewed foreign policy. Ever since John Winthrop had spoken of

Boston in 1630 as "a city upon a hill" that would serve as a beacon for the

world, Americans had tended to see themselves as a chosen people with a

distinctive mission to impart their faith and values to the rest of

humankind. Although all countries attempt to put the best face possible on

their military and diplomatic actions, Americans have seemed more committed

than most to describing their involvement in the world as pure and

altruistic. Hence, even ventures like the Mexican War of 1846 - 48 - clearly

provoked by the United States in an effort to secure huge land masses - were

defended publicly as the fulfillment of a divine mission to extend American

democracy to those deprived of it.

Reliance on the rhetoric of moralism was never more present than during

America's involvement in World War I. Despite its official posture of

neutrality, the United States had a vested interest in the victory of England

and France over Germany. America's own military security, her trade lines

with England and France, economic and political control over Latin America

and South America - all would best be preserved if Germany were defeated.

Moreover, American banks and munition makers had invested millions of dollars

in the allied cause. Nevertheless, the issue of national self-interest rarely

if ever surfaced in any presidential statement during the war. Instead, U.S.

rhetoric presented America's position as totally idealistic in nature. The

United States entered the war, President Wilson declared, not for reasons of

economic self-interest, but to "make the world safe for democracy." Our

purpose was not to restore a balance of power in Europe, but to fight a war

that would "end all wars" and produce "a peace without victory." Rather than

seek a sphere of influence for American power, the United States instead

declared that it sought to establish a new form of internationalism based on

self-determination for all peoples, freedom of the seas, the end of all

economic barriers between nations, and development of a new international

order based on the principles of democracy.

America's historic reluctance to use arguments of self-interest as a basis

for foreign policy undoubtedly reflected a belief that, in a democracy,

people would not support foreign ventures inconsistent with their own sense

of themselves as a noble and just country. But the consequences were to

limit severely the flexibility necessary to a multifaceted and effective

diplomacy, and to force national leaders to invoke moral - even religious -

idealism as a basis for actions that might well fall short of the

expectations generated by moralistic visions.

The Soviet Union, by contrast, operated with few such constraints. Although

Soviet pronouncements on foreign policy tediously invoked the rhetoric of

capitalist imperialism, abstract principles meant far less than national

self-interest in arriving at foreign policy positions. Every action that the

Soviet Union had taken since the Bolshevik revolution, from the peace treaty

with the Kaiser to the 1939 Nazi-Soviet pact and Russian occupation of the

Baltic states reflected this policy of self-interest. As Stalin told British

Foreign Minister Anthony Eden during the war, "a declaration I regard as

algebra ... I prefer practical arithmetic." Or, as the Japanese ambassador to

Moscow later said, "the Soviet authorities are extremely realistic and it is

most difficult to persuade them with abstract arguments." Clearly, both the

United States and the Soviet Union saw foreign policy as involving a

combination of self-interest and ideological principle. Yet the history of

the two countries suggested that principle was far more a consideration in

the formulation of American foreign policy, while self-interest-purely

defined-controlled Soviet actions.

The difference became relevant during the 1930s as Franklin Roosevelt

attempted to find some way to move American public opinion back to a spirit

of internationalism. After World War I, Americans had felt betrayed by the

abandonment of Wilsonian principles. Persuaded that the war itself

represented a mischievous conspiracy by munitions makers and bankers to get

America involved, Americans had preferred to opt for isolation and "normalcy"

rather than participate in the ambiguities of what so clearly appeared to be

a corrupt international order. Now, Roosevelt set out to reverse those

perceptions. He understood the dire consequences of Nazi ambitions for world

hegemony. Yet to pose the issue strictly as one of self-interest offered

little chance of success given the depth of America's revulsion toward

internationalism. The task of education was immense. As time went on,

Roosevelt relied more and more on the traditional moral rhetoric of American

values as a means of justifying the international involvement that he knew

must inevitably lead to war. Thus, throughout the 1930s he repeatedly

discussed Nazi aggression as a direct threat to the most cherished American

beliefs in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of

occupational choice. When German actions corroborated the president's simple

words, the opportunity presented itself for carrying the nation toward

another great crusade on behalf of democracy, freedom, and peace. Roosevelt

wished to avoid the errors of Wilsonian overstatement, but he understood the

necessity of generating moral fervor as a means of moving the nation toward

the intervention he knew to be necessary if both America's self-interest-and

her moral principles-were to be preserved.

The Atlantic Charter represented the embodiment of Roosevelt's quest for

moral justification of American involvement. Presented to the world after the

president and Prime Minister Churchill met off the coast of Newfoundland in

the summer of 1941, the Charter set forth the common goals that would guide

America over the next few years. There would be no secret commitments, the

President said. Britain and America sought no territorial aggrandizement.

They would oppose any violation of the right to self-government for all

peoples. They stood for open trade, free exchange of ideas, freedom of

worship and expression, and the creation of an international organization to

preserve and protect future peace. This would be a war fought for

freedomfreedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom of religion, freedom

from the old politics of balance-of-power diplomacy.

Roosevelt deeply believed in those ideals and saw no inconsistency between

the moral principles they represented and American self-interest. Yet these

very commitments threatened to generate misunderstanding and conflict with

the Soviet Union whose own priorities were much more directly expressed in

terms of "practical arithmetic." Russia wanted security. The Soviet Union

sought a sphere of influence over which it could have unrestricted control.

It wished territorial boundaries that would reflect the concessions won

through military conflict. All these objectives-potentially-ran counter to

the Atlantic Charter. Roosevelt himself-never afraid of inconsistency-often

talked the same language. Frequently, he spoke of guaranteeing the USSR

"measures of legitimate security" on territorial questions, and he envisioned

a postwar world in which the "four policemen"-the superpowers-would manage

the world.

But Roosevelt also understood that the American public would not accept the

public embrace of such positions. A rationale of narrow self-interest was not

acceptable, especially if that self-interest led to abandoning the ideals of

the Atlantic Charter. In short, the different ways in which the Soviet Union

and the United States articulated their objectives for the warand formulated

their foreign policythreatened to compromise the prospect for long-term

cooperation. The language of universalism and the language of balance-of-

power politics were incompatible, at least in theory. Thus, the United States

and the Soviet Union entered the war burdened not only by their deep mistrust

of each other's motivations and systems of government, but also by a

significantly different emphasis on what should constitute the major

rationale for fighting the war.

1.2 Causes and Interpretations.

Any historian who studies the Cold War must come to grips with a series of

questions, which, even if unanswerable in a definitive fashion, nevertheless

compel examination. Was the Cold War inevitable? If not, how could it have

been avoided? What role did personalities play? Were there points at which

different courses of action might have been followed? What economic factors

were central? What ideological causes? Which historical forces? At what

juncture did alternative possibilities become invalid? When was the die cast?

Above all, what were the primary reasons for defining the world in such a

polarized and ideological framework?

The simplest and easiest response is to conclude that Soviet-American

confrontation was so deeply rooted in differences of values, economic

systems, or historical experiences that only extraordinary action by

individuals or groupscould have prevented the conflict. One version of the

inevitability hypothesis would argue that the Soviet Union, given its

commitment to the ideology of communism, was dedicated to worldwide

revolution and would use any and every means possible to promote the demise

of the West. According to this viewbased in large part on the rhetoric of

Stalin and Leninworld revolution constituted the sole priority of Soviet

policy. Even the appearance of accommodation was a Soviet design to soften up

capitalist states for eventual confrontation. As defined, admittedly in

oversimplified fashion, by George Kennan in his famous 1947 article on

containment, Russian diplomacy "moves along the prescribed path, like a

persistent toy automobile, wound up and headed in a given direction, stopping

only when it meets some unanswerable force." Soviet subservience to a

universal, religious creed ruled out even the possibility of mutual

concessions, since even temporary accommodation would be used by the Russians

as part of their grand scheme to secure world domination.

A second version of the same hypothesisargued by some American revisionist

historianscontends that the endless demands of capitalism for new markets

propelled the United States into a course of intervention and imperialism.

According to this argument, a capitalist society can survive only by opening

new areas for exploitation. Without the development of multinational

corporations, strong ties with German capitalists, and free trade across

national boundaries, America would revert to the depression of the prewar

years. Hence, an aggressive internationalism became the only means through

which the ruling class of the United States could retain hegemony. In support

of this argument, historians point to the number of American policymakers who

explicitly articulated an economic motivation for U.S. foreign policy. "We

cannot expect domestic prosperity under our system," Assistant Secretary of

State Dean Acheson said, "without a constantly expanding trade with other

nations." Echoing the same theme, the State Department's William Clayton

declared: "We need marketsbig marketsaround the world in which to buy and

sell. . . . We've got to export three times as much as we exported just

before the war if we want to keep our industry running somewhere near

capacity." According to this argument, economic necessity motivated the

Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and the vigorous efforts of U.S.

policymakers to open up Eastern Europe for trade and investment. Within such

a frame of reference, it was the capitalist economic systemnot Soviet

commitment to world revolutionthat made the Cold War unavoidable.

Still a third version of the inevitability hypothesispartly based on the

first twowould insist that historical differences between the two

superpowers and their systems of government made any efforts toward postwar

cooperation almost impossible. Russia had always been deeply suspicious of

the West, and under Stalin that suspicion had escalated into paranoia, with

Soviet leaders fearing that any opening of channels would ultimately destroy

their own ability to retain total mastery over the Russian people. The West's

failure to implement early promises of a second front and the subsequent

divisions of opinion over how to treat occupied territory had profoundly

strained any possible basis of trust. From an American perspective, in turn,

it stretched credibility to expect a nation committed to human rights to

place confidence in a ruthless dictator, who in one Yugoslav's words, had

single-handedly been responsible for more Soviet deaths than all the armies

of Nazi Germany. Through the purges, collectivization, and mass imprisonment

of Russian citizens, Stalin had presided over the killing of 20 million of

his own people. How then could he be trusted to respect the rights of others?

According to this argument, only the presence of a common enemy had made

possible even short-term solidarity between Russia and the United States; in

the absence of a German foe, natural antagonisms were bound to surface.

America had one system of politics, Russia another, and as Truman declared in

1948, "a totalitarian state is no different whether you call it Nazi,

fascist, communist, or Franco Spain."

Yet, in retrospect, these arguments for inevitability tell only part of the

story. Notwithstanding the Soviet Union's rhetorical commitment to an

ideology of world revolution, there is abundant evidence of Russia's

willingness to forego ideological purity in the cause of national interest.

Stalin, after all, had turned away from world revolution in committing

himself to building "socialism in one country." Repeatedly, he indicated his

readiness to betray the communist movement in China and to accept the

leadership of Chiang Kai-shek. George Kennan recalled the Soviet leader

"snorting rather contemptuously . . . because one of our people asked them

what they were going to give to China when [the war] was over." "We have a

hundred cities of our own to build in the Soviet Far East," Stalin had

responded. "If anybody is going to give anything to the Far East, I think

it's you." Similarly, Stalin refused to give any support to communists in

Greece during their rebellion against British domination there. As late as

1948 he told the vice-premier of Yugoslavia, "What do you think, . . . that

Great Britain and the United States . . . will permit you to break their

lines of communication in the Mediterranean? Nonsense . . . the uprising in

Greece must be stopped, and as quickly as possible."

Nor are the other arguments for inevitability totally persuasive. Without

question, America's desire for commercial markets played a role in the

strategy of the Cold War. As Truman said in 1949, devotion to freedom of

enterprise "is part and parcel of what we call America." Yet was the need for

markets sufficient to force a confrontation that ultimately would divert

precious resources from other, more productive use? Throughout most of its

history, Wall Street has opposed a bellicose position in foreign policy.

Similarly, although historical differences are important, it makes no sense

to regard them as determinative. After all, the war led to extraordinary

examples of cooperation that bridged these differences; if they could be

overcome once, then why not again? Thus, while each of the arguments for

inevitability reflects truths that contributed to the Cold War, none offers

an explanation sufficient of itself, for contending that the Cold War was


A stronger case, it seems, can be made for the position that the Cold War was

unnecessary, or at least that conflicts could have been handled in a manner

that avoided bipolarization and the rhetoric of an ideological crusade. At no

time did Russia constitute a military threat to the United States.

"Economically," U.S. Naval Intelligence reported in 1946, "the Soviet Union is

exhausted.... The USSR is not expected to take any action in the next five

years which might develop into hostility with Anglo Americans." Notwithstanding

the Truman administration's public statements about a Soviet threat, Russia

had cut its army from 11.5 to 3 million men after the war. In 1948, its

military budget amounted to only half of that of the United States. Even

militant anticommunists like John Foster Dulles acknowledged that "the Soviet

leadership does not want and would not consciously risk" a military

confrontation with the West. Indeed, so exaggerated was American rhetoric about

Russia's threat that Hanson Baldwin, military expert of the New York Times,

compared the claims of our armed forces to the "shepherd who cried wolf, wolf,

wolf, when there was no wolf." Thus, on purely factual grounds, there existed

no military basis for the fear that the Soviet Union was about to seize world

domination, despite the often belligerent pose Russia took on political issues.

A second, somewhat more problematic, argument for the thesis of avoidability

consists of the extent to which Russian leaders appeared ready to abide by at

least some agreements made during the war. Key, here, is the understanding

reached by Stalin and Churchill during the fall of 1944 on the division of

Europe into spheres of influence. According to that understanding, Russia was

to dominate Romania, have a powerful voice over Bulgaria, and share influence

in other Eastern European countries, while Britain and America were to

control Greece. By most accounts, that understanding was implemented. Russia

refused to intervene on behalf of communist insurgency in Greece. While

retaining rigid control over Romania, she provided at least a "fig-leaf of

democratic procedure"sufficient to satisfy the British. For two years the

USSR permitted the election of noncommunist or coalition regimes in both

Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The Finns, meanwhile, were permitted to choose a

noncommunist government and to practice Western-style democracy as long as

their country maintained a friendly foreign policy toward their neighbor on

the east. Indeed, to this day, Finland remains an example of what might have

evolved had earlier wartime understandings on both sides been allowed to


What then went wrong? First, it seems clear that both sides perceived the other

as breaking agreements that they thought had been made. By signing a separate

peace settlement with the Lublin Poles, imprisoning the sixteen members of the

Polish underground, and imposingwithout regard for democratic

appearancestotal hegemony on Poland, the Soviets had broken the spirit, if not

the letter, of the Yalta accords. Similarly, they blatantly violated the

agreement made by both powers to withdraw from Iran once the war was over, thus

precipitating the first direct threat of military confrontation during the Cold

War. In their attitude toward Eastern Europe, reparations, and peaceful

cooperation with the West, the Soviets exhibited increasing rigidity and

suspicion after April 1945. On the other hand, Stalin had good reason to accuse

the United States of reneging on compacts made during the war. After at least

tacitly accepting Russia's right to a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe,

the West seemed suddenly to change positions and insist on Western-style

democracies and economies. As the historian Robert Daliek has shown, Roosevelt

and Churchill gave every indication at Tehran and Yalta that they acknowledged

the Soviet's need to have friendly governments in Eastern Europe. Roosevelt

seemed to care primarily about securing token or cosmetic concessions toward

democratic processes while accepting the substance of Russian

domination. Instead, misunderstanding developed over the meaning of the Yalta

accords, Truman confronted Molotov with demands that the Soviets saw as

inconsistent with prior understandings, and mutual suspicion rather than

cooperation assumed dominance in relations between the two superpowers.

It is this area of misperception and misunderstanding that historians have

focused on recently as most critical to the emergence of the Cold War.

Presumably, neither side had a master plan of how to proceed once the war

ended. Stalin's ambitions, according to recent scholarship, were ill-defined,

or at least amenable to modification depending on America's posture. The

United States, in turn, gave mixed signals, with Roosevelt implying to every

group his agreement with their point of view, yet ultimately keeping his

personal intentions secret. If, in fact, both sides could have agreed to a

sphere-of-influence policyalbeit with some modifications to satisfy American

political opinionthere could perhaps have been a foundation for continued

accommodation. Clearly, the United States intended to retain control over its

sphere of influence, particularly in Greece, Italy, and Turkey. Moreover, the

United States insisted on retaining total domination over the Western

hemisphere, consistent with the philosophy of the Monroe Doctrine. If the

Soviets had been allowed similar control over their sphere of influence in

Eastern Europe, there might have existed a basis for compromise. As John

McCloy asked at the time, "[why was it necessary] to have our cake and eat it

too? . . . To be free to operate under this regional arrangement in South

America and at the same time intervene promptly in Europe." If the United

States and Russia had both acknowledged the spheres of influence implicit in

their wartime agreements, perhaps a different pattern of relationships might

have emerged in the postwar world.

The fact that such a pattern did not emerge raises two issues, at least from

an American perspective. The first is whether different leaders or advisors

might have achieved different foreign policy results. Some historians believe

that Roosevelt, with his subtlety and skill, would have found a way to

promote collaboration with the Russians, whereas Truman, with his short

temper, inexperience, and insecurity, blundered into unnecessary and harmful

confrontations. Clearly, Roosevelt himselfjust before his deathwas

becoming more and more concerned about Soviet intransigence and aggression.

Nevertheless, he had always believed that through personal pressure and

influence, he could find a way to persaude "uncle Joe." On the basis of what

evidence we have, there seems good reason to believe that the Russians did

place enormous trust in FDR. Perhapsjust perhapsRoosevelt could have found

a way to talk "practical arithmetic" with Stalin rather than algebra and

discover a common ground. Certainly, if recent historians are correct in

seeing the Cold War as caused by both Stalin's undefined ambitions and

America's failure to communicate effectively and consistently its view on

where it would draw the line with the Russians, then Roosevelt's long history

of interaction with the Soviets would presumably have placed him in a better

position to negotiate than the inexperienced Truman.

The second issue is more complicated, speaking to a political problem which

beset both Roosevelt and Trumannamely, the ability of an American president

to formulate and win support for a foreign policy on the basis of national

self-interest rather than moral purity. At some point in the past, an

American diplomat wrote in 1967:

[T]here crept into the ideas of Americans about foreign policy ... a

histrionic note, ... a desire to appear as something greater perhaps than one

actually was. ... It was inconceivable that any war in which we were involved

could be less than momentous and decisive for the future of humanity. ... As

each war ended, ... we took appeal to universalistic, Utopian ideals, related

not to the specifics of national interest but to legalistic and moralistic

concepts that seemed better to accord with the pretentious significance we

had attached to our war effort.

As a consequence, the diplomat went on, it became difficult to pursue a

policy not defined by the language of "angels or devils," "heroes" or


Clearly, Roosevelt faced such a dilemma in proceeding to mobilize American

support for intervention in the war against Nazism. And Truman encountered

the same difficulty in seeking to define a policy with which to meet Soviet

postwar objectives. Both presidents, of course, participated in and reflected

the political culture that constrained their options. Potentially at least,

Roosevelt seemed intent on fudging the difference between self-interest and

moralism. He perceived one set of objectives as consistent with reaching an

accommodation with the Soviets, and another set of goals as consistent with

retaining popular support for his diplomacy at home. It is difficult to avoid

the conclusion that he plannedin a very Machiavellian wayto use rhetoric

and appearances as a means of disguising his true intention: to pursue a

strategy of self-interest. It seems less clear that Truman had either the

subtlety or the wish to follow a similarly Machiavellian course. But if he

had, the way might have been opened to quite a differentalbeit politically

risky series of policies.

None of this, of course, would have guaranteed the absence of conflict in

Eastern Europe, Iran, or Turkey. Nor could any action of an American

presidenthowever much rooted in self-interesthave obviated the personal and

political threat posed by Stalinist tyranny and ruthlessness, particularly if

Stalin himself had chosen, for whatever reason, to act out his most

aggressive and paranoid instincts. But if a sphere-of-influence agreement had

been possible, there is some reason to thinkin light of initial Soviet

acceptance of Western-style governments in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and

Finlandthat the iron curtain might not have descended in the way that it

did. In all historical sequences, one action builds on another. Thus, steps

toward cooperation rather than confrontation might have created a momentum, a

frame of reference and a basis of mutual trust, that could have made

unnecessary the total ideological bipolarization that evolved by 1948. In

short, if the primary goals of each superpower had been acknowledged and

implementedsecurity for the Russians, some measure of pluralism in Eastern

European countries for the United States, and economic interchange between

the two blocsit seems conceivable that the world might have avoided the

stupidity, the fear, and the hysteria of the Cold War.

As it was, of course, very little of the above scenario did take place. After

the confrontation in Iran, the Soviet declaration of a five-year plan,

Churchill's Fulton, Missouri, speech, and the breakdown of negotiations on an

American loan, confrontation between the two superpowers seemed irrevocable.

It is difficult to imagine that the momentum building toward the Cold War

could have been reversed after the winter and spring of 1946. Thereafter,

events assumed an almost inexorable momentum, with both sides using

moralistic rhetoric and ideological denunciation to pillory the other. In the

United States it became incumbent on the presidentin order to secure

domestic political supportto defend the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall

Plan in universalistic, moral terms. Thus, we became engaged, not in an

effort to assure jobs and security, but in a holy war against evil. Stalin,

in turn, gave full vent to his crusade to eliminate any vestige of free

thought or national independence in Eastern Europe. Reinhold Niebuhr might

have been speaking for both sides when he said in 1948, "we cannot afford any

more compromises. We will have to stand at every point in our far flung


The tragedy, of course, was that such a policy offered no room for

intelligence or flexibility. If the battle in the world was between good and

evil, believers and nonbelievers, anyone who questioned the wisdom of

established policy risked dismissal as a traitor or worse. In the Soviet

Union the Gulag Archipelago of concentration camps and executions was the

price of failing to conform to the party line. But the United States paid a

price as well. An ideological frame of reference had emerged through which

all other information was filtered. The mentality of the Cold War shaped

everything, defining issues according to moralistic assumptions, regardless

of objective reality. It had been George Kennan's telegram in February 1946

that helped to provide the intellectual basis for this frame of reference by

portraying the Soviet Union as "a political force committed fanatically" to

confrontation with the United States and domination of the world. It was also

George Kennan twenty years later who so searchingly criticized those who

insisted on seeing foreign policy as a battle of angels and devils, heroes

and blackguards. And ironically, it was Kennan yet again who declared in the

1970s that "the image of a Stalinist Russia, poised and yearning to attack

the west, . . . was largely a product of the western imagination."

But for more than a generation, that image would shape American life and

world politics. The price was astronomicaland perhaps avoidable.

Chapter 2: The Cold War Chronology.

2.1 The War Years.

Whatever tensions existed before the war, conflicts over military and

diplomatic issues during the war proved sufficiently grave to cause

additional mistrust. Two countries that in the past had shared almost no

common ground now found themselves intimately tied to each other, with little

foundation of mutual confidence on which to build. The problems that resulted

clustered in two areas: (1) how much aid the West would provide to alleviate

the disproportionate burden borne by the Soviet Union in fighting the war;

and (2) how to resolve the dilemmas of making peace, occupying conquered

territory, and defining postwar responsibilities. Inevitably, each issue

became inextricably bound to the others, posing problems of statecraft and

good faith that perhaps went beyond the capacity of any mortal to solve.

The central issue dividing the allies involved how much support the United

States and Britain would offer to mitigate, then relieve, the devastation

being sustained by the Soviet people. Stated bluntly, the Soviet Union bore

the massive share of Nazi aggression. The statistics alone are overwhelming.

Soviet deaths totaled more than 18 million during the warsixty times the

three hundred thousand lives lost by the United States. Seventy thousand

Soviet villages were destroyed, $128 billion dollars worth of property

leveled to the ground. Leningrad, the crown jewel of Russia's cities,

symbolized the suffering experienced at the hands of the Nazis. Filled with

art and beautiful architecture, the former capital of Russia came under siege

by German armies almost immediately after the invasion of the Soviet Union.

When the attack began, the city boasted a population of 3 million citizens.

At the end, only 600,000 remained. There was no food, no fuel, no hope. More

than a million starved, and some survived by resorting to cannibalism. Yet

the city endured, the Nazis were repelled, and the victory that came with

survival helped launch the campaign that would ultimately crush Hitler's


Such suffering provided the backdrop for a bitter controversy over whether

: 1, 2, 3