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Harry Truman and the Cold War Discussion Questions What was the fundamental cause of the Cold War? Would the Cold War have happened if Roosevelt instead of Truman had been president? Was the primary threat from the Soviet Union military or ideological-that is, was the danger that the Russian army would invade Western Europe or that more and more people in Europe and elsewhere would be attracted to Communist ideas? Key Concepts of the Cold War Conflicting U.S. and Soviet postwar objectives U.S. sought to contain communism in Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa Second Red Scare (McCarthyism) led the public to believe that there were communists seeking to undermine American institutions Key Concepts of the Cold War U.S. succeeded in containing communism in Europe. U.S. was unable to contain the spread of communism to China, but did so in South Korea. When did the Cold War Begin? Before WWII ended. Yalta Conference (February 1945) – Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt – Stalin pledged war on Japan – U.S., U.S.S.R., and Britain would divide Germany and jointly govern Berlin – Stalin promised to hold free elections in conquered territories – Soviets refused to remove troops from an oil-rich Iran Atlantic Charter (1941) Affirmation of the right of self-government for all Economic security Free access to trade Reaffirmation of Wilson’s vision of freedom of the seas, freedom from fear of aggression Establishment of a permanent system of general security George Kennan: American Diplomat Warned Truman that the Soviets would spread influence if given the opportunity. Foundation for the containment policy Cold War Alliances North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Soviet and American postwar Objectives and Priorities Reconstruction of the economy: Soviets demanded $20 billion from Germany in reparations Military competition: nuclear arms race Self-defense: Soviets created a buffer zone known as the Soviet-bloc U.S. needed cheap energy: U.S. helped to overthrow the government in Iran to insure a cheap oil supply Reconstruction of Europe: U.S. goal to help the economies of countries such as France, Britain, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Greece, and Germany – Would be able to repay war debts – Eventually benefit trade with the U.S. – Containment of communism Responses to the Cold War Diplomatic battles over Poland and Germany Truman Doctrine Marshall Plan North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Formation and arming of West Germany Discussion Questions What was legitimate concern and what was hysterical “witch-hunting” in the postwar wave of domestic anticommunism? Why was the Korean War such a frustrating experience for Americans?
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