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George F Kennans “Long Telegram_” 1946


                        Cold War—Hot Topic
   President Truman‟s advisor Bernard Baruch coined the phrase “Cold War” in
    a congressional hearing in 1947, but essayist and journalist Walter
    Lippmann popularized it with a 1947 series of articles “The Cold War”
    opposing Containment and the Truman Doctrine
   Different Periodizations—Different Interpretations:
    1947-1962: use of term by contemporaries
    1943-1955: division of Europe
    1917-1991: U.S.-Soviet antagonism
    1943-1975: U.S.-Soviet antagonism dominated world affairs
    1890s-1991: U.S.-Russian antagonism
   John L. Gaddis: “For all its dangers, atrocities, costs, distractions, and moral
    compromises, the Cold War—like the American Civil War—was a necessary
    contest that settled fundamental issues once and for all. We have no reason
    to miss it. But given the alternatives, we have little reason either to regret
    its having occurred.” [Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History, xi]
   Walter LaFeber: “The Cold War has dominated American life since 1945. It
    has cost Americans $8 trillion in defense expenditure, taken the lives of
    nearly 100,000 of their young men and women, ruined the careers of many
    others during the McCarthyite witch hunts, led the nation into the horrors of
    Southeast Asian conflicts, and in the 1980s triggered the worst economic
    depression in forty years. It has not been the most satisfying chapter in
    American diplomatic history.” [LaFeber, America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1]
       The Specter of Bolshevism, 1917-1945
   Woodrow Wilson‟s response to the Russian Revolution (1917) and
    V.I. Lenin: “agent theory of revolution”; double meaning of
    “Bolshevik” as communist and foreign agent
   U.S. military intervention in 1918-20 Russian Civil War
   World War I as a war that fostered and undermined democracy:
    Example 1: 1917 Espionage Act (prohibited spying and interfering
    with draft and “false statements” that might impede military
    success), Eugene Debs arrested
    Example 2: Red Scare (1919-20): over 5,000 persons arrested in
    Palmer Raids (hundreds of immigrant radicals deported, among
    them Emma Goldman)
   World War II tensions: Second Front
                              Manhattan Project
                              Occupations of Poland, Italy, Germany
                              Hiroshima and Nagasaki
   George F. Kennan‟s “Long Telegram,” 1946
“At bottom of Kremlin‟s neurotic view of world affairs is traditional and
instinctive Russian sense of insecurity … And they learned to seek security
only in patient but deadly struggle for total destruction of rival power,
never in compacts and compromises with it … There is good reason to
suspect that this Government is actually a conspiracy within a conspiracy;
and I for one am reluctant to believe that Stalin himself receives anything
like on objective picture of the outside world …
In summary, we have here a political force committed fanatically to the
belief that with US there can be no permanent modus vivendi, that it is
desirable and necessary that the internal harmony of our society be
disrupted, our traditional way of life be destroyed, the international
authority of our state be broken, if Soviet power is to be secure …
Problem of how to cope with this force [is] undoubtedly greatest task our
diplomacy has ever faced and probably greatest it will ever have to face …
I would like to record my conviction that problem is within our power to
solve—and that without recourse to any general military conflict …
Soviet power, unlike that of Hitlerite Germany, is neither schematic nor
adventuristic. It does not work by fixed plans. It does not take unnecessary
risks. Impervious to logic of reason, and it is highly sensitive to logic of
Source: Telegram, George Kennan to George Marshall ["Long Telegram"]
     Winston Churchill‟s “Iron Curtain” Speech, 1946
      “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has
      descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the
      ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe … Police governments are
      prevailing in nearly every case, and so far, except in Czechoslovakia,
      there is no true democracy … Except in the British Commonwealth, and
      in the United States, where communism is in its infancy, the Communist
      parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to
      Christian civilization … there is nothing they [Russians] admire so much
      as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than
      for military weakness. For that reason the old doctrine of a balance of
      power is unsound.”
                          Map: Cold War Division Map # 1

1.     British Motive: Churchill wanted to prevent U.S. return to pre-war
2.     Soviet Response: Stalin accused Churchill of issuing a “call to war with
       the Soviet Union”
3.     U.S. Response: Wall Street Journal: “The country‟s response to Mr.
       Churchill‟s Fulton speech must be convincing proof that the US wants no
       alliance or anything that resembles an alliance, with any other nation.”
4.     African American Protests: speech delivered at segregated Westminster
       College in Fulton, Missouri
       Nikolai Novikov on U.S. Drive for World
              Supremacy, 1946 (Part 1)
“The foreign policy of the United States, which reflects the imperialistic
 tendencies of American monopolistic capital, is characterized in the
 postwar period by a striving for world supremacy … the Soviet Union
 continues to remain economically independent of the outside world and is
 rebuilding its national economy with its own force … At the same time the
 USSR‟s international position is currently stronger than it was in the
 prewar period … In the Slavic countries that were liberated by the Red
 Army or with its assistance—Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia—
 democratic regimes have also been established that maintain relations
 with the Soviet Union on the basis of agreements on friendship and
 mutual assistance … President Truman, a politically unstable person …
 Obvious indications of the U.S. effort to establish world dominance are
 also to be found in the increase in military potential in peacetime and in
 the establishment of a large number of naval air bases both in the United
 States and beyond its borders ... The establishment of American bases on
 the islands that are … on the other side of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans
 clearly indicates the offensive nature of strategic concepts of the
 commands of the U.S. army and navy … American capital … now controls
 about 42 percent of all proven [oil] reserves in the Near East, excluding
 Iran … The „hard-line‟ policy with regard to the USSR announced by
 [Secretary of State James F.] Byrnes after the rapprochement of the
 reactionary Democrats with the Republicans is at present the main
 obstacle on the road to cooperation of the Great Powers.”
 Nikolai Novikov on U.S. Drive for World
        Supremacy, 1946 (Part 2)
 “In Germany, the United States is taking measures to strengthen
reactionary forces for the purpose of opposing democratic reconstruction.
Furthermore, it displays special insistence on accompanying this policy with
completely inadequate measures for the demilitarization of Germany. The
American occupation policy does not have the objective of eliminating the
remnants of German Fascism and rebuilding German political life on a
democratic basis, so that Germany might cease to exist as an aggressive
force. The United States is not taking measures to eliminate the
monopolistic associations of German industrialists on which German Fascism
depended in preparing aggression and waging war … One cannot help
seeing that such a policy has clearly outlined anti-Soviet edge and
constitutes a serious danger to the cause of peace … preaching war against
the Soviet Union is not a monopoly of the far-right yellow American press …
This anti-Soviet campaign also has been joined by the „reputable‟ and
„respectable‟ organs of the conservative press, such as the New York Times
and New York Herald Tribune … Careful note should be taken of the fact
that the preparation by the United States for a future war is being
conducted with the prospect of war against the Soviet Union, which in the
eyes of American imperialists is the main obstacle in the path of the United
States to world domination.”

 Source: Telegram from N. Novikov, Soviet Ambassador to the US, to the
Soviet Leadership
                    Containment Policy
   Truman Doctrine (1947): to defend freedom and contain
    communism, Truman requested $400 million in military aid to
    Greece and Turkey [Sources: Truman Doctrine, March 12, 1947;
    Truman Doctrine Activity]
   Senate leader Arthur Vandenberg advised to “scare hell” out of
    Americans to get a reluctant Congress to fund containment policy
   Marshall Plan (1947): provided $13 billion for the economic recovery
    of (Western) Europe: “Our policy is directed not against any country
    or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos.”
    Marshall Plan Slogan: “Prosperity Makes You Free.” [Sources:
    Marshall Plan; Marshall Plan Teaching Packet]
   Berlin Blockade (1948-49): Soviets cut off road and rail traffic to
    West Berlin, led to eleven-month airlift [Source: The Berlin Airlift-
    June 24, 1948 to May 12, 1949]
   NATO (1949): The member states of the North Atlantic Treaty
    Organization (U.S., Canada, western Europe) pledged mutual
    defense against any future Soviet attack; first long-term military
    alliance between U.S. and Europe since American Revolution
    [Source: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation - Official Homepage]
Walter Lippmann, “The Cold War” (1947)—Part 1

 “I believe … that the strategical conception and plan which Mr.X
 recommends is fundamentally unsound, and that it cannot be made
 to work, and that the attempt to make it work will cause us to
 squander our substance and our prestige… We must begin with the
 disturbing fact … that Mr.X's conclusions depend upon the optimistic
 prediction that the „Soviet power … bears within itself the seeds of
 its own decay, and that the sprouting of these seeds is well
 advanced‟ … Of this optimistic prediction Mr. X himself says that it
 „cannot be proved. And it cannot be disproved.‟ Nevertheless, he
 concludes that the United States should construct its policy on the
 assumption that the Soviet power is inherently weak and
 impermanent … I do not find much ground for reasonable
 confidence in a policy which can be successful only if the most
 optimistic prediction should prove to be true ... Do we dare to
 assume, as we enter the arena and get set to run the race, that the
 Soviet Union will break its leg while the United States grows a pair
 of wings to speed it on its way?”
Walter Lippmann, “The Cold War” (1947)—Part 2
“Yet a policy of containment cannot be operated unless the Department of
 State can plan and direct exports and imports. For the policy demands that
 American goods be delivered or withheld at „constantly shifting geographical
 and political points corresponding to the shifts and manoeuvres of Soviet
 policy‟… Mr. X is surely mistaken … if he thinks that a free and undirected
 economy like our own can be used by the diplomatic planners to wage a
 diplomatic war against a planned economy at a series of constantly shifting
 geographical and political points. He is proposing to meet the Soviet
 challenge on the ground which is most favorable to the Soviets, and with
 the very instruments, procedures, and weapons in which they have a
 manifest superiority. I find it hard to understand how Mr. X could have
 recommended such a strategic monstrosity. .. It commits the United States
 to confront the Russians with counterforce "at every point" along the line,
 instead of at those points which we have selected because, there at those
 points, our kind of sea and air power can best be exerted … the policy of
 containment … is an attempt to organize an anti-Soviet alliance composed
 in the first instance of peoples that are either on the shadowy extremity of
 the Atlantic community, or are altogether outside it … [i.e. the] factions of
 eastern Europe, with the Greeks, the Turks, the Iranians, the Arabs and
 Afghans, and with the Chinese Nationalists … Instead of becoming an
 unassailable barrier against the Soviet power, this borderland is a seething
 stew of civil strife.”
Walter Lippmann, “The Cold War” (1947)—Part 3
 “The failure of our diplomatic campaign in the borderlands … has
 conjured up the specter of a Third World War ... The contest between the
 Truman Doctrine on the one hand, the Marshall line and the support of
 the U.N on the other is the central drama within the State Department,
 within the Administration, within the government as a whole. The
 outcome is still undecided ... The difference is fundamental. The Truman
 Doctrine treats those who are supposed to benefit by it as dependencies
 of the United States, as instruments of the American policy for
 "containing" Russia. The Marshall speech at Harvard treats the European
 governments as independent powers, whom we must help but cannot
 presume to govern, or to use as instruments of an American policy ...
 [The Marshall Plan is] a graceful way of saving the United States from the
 destructive and exhausting entanglements of the Truman Doctrine ... The
 Harvard speech calls, therefore, for a policy of settlement, addressed to
 the military evacuation of the continent, not for a policy of containment
 which would freeze the non-European armies in the heart of Europe ...
 The history of diplomacy is the history of relations among rival powers,
 which did not enjoy political intimacy, and did not respond to appeals to
 common purposes ... For a diplomat to think that rival and unfriendly
 powers cannot be brought to a settlement is to forget what diplomacy is
 about … The communists will continue to be communists. The Russians
 will continue to be Russians. But if the Red Army is in Russia, and not on
 the Elbe the power of the Russians communists and the power of the
 Russian imperialists to realise their ambitions will have been reduced
 decisively. “
 Source: Walter Lippmann, “The Cold War,” New York Herald Tribune (1947), reprinted in
 Foreign Affairs (1987); see Lippmann, Cold War
               The National Security State
   National Security State: the ideology and institutions established by
    the National Security Act of 1947 (cf. Michael Hogan, A Cross of
    Iron, 1998)
   National Security Act (1947): enlarged presidential power; Defense
    Department merged War and Navy Departments; and created
    Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Council
   Federal Employee Loyalty Program (1947): examined three million
    employees, four hundred were fired and thousands resigned
   In 1951 the Supreme Court upheld the Smith Act (1940): to
    advocate or teach the forcible overthrow of the U.S. government
    was a crime
   HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee): probed the
    motion picture industry in 1947: Walt Disney, Gary Cooper, and
    Ronald Reagan testified that movie industry harbored many
   Whittaker Chambers, editor of Time magazine, accused Alger Hiss, a
    high-ranking State Department official, of being a Soviet spy; in
    1950 Hiss was convicted of perjury and sentenced to five years in
                Recommended Readings
   Thomas Borstelmann, The Cold War and the Color Line: American
    Race Relations in the Global Arena (2001)
   John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History (2005)
   Lloyd Gardner, Safe for Democracy: Anglo-American Response to
    Revolution, 1913-1923 (1984)
   Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins
    of the National Security State, 1945-1954 (1998)
   Fred Inglis, The Cruel Peace: Everyday Life and the Cold War (1991)
   Walter LaFeber, America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945-2006
   Melvyn Leffler, The Preponderance of Power (1992)
   Geir Lundestad, The United States and Western Europe Since 1945
   David Reynolds, From World War to Cold War (2006)
   Stephen Whitfield, The Culture of the Cold War (1991)
   William A. Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (1959)

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