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HIS344 sept 17 Demise of the Grand Alliance

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Vasilis Dimitriadis

His344 September 17, 2014 The demise of the Grand Alliance Key Words Notes  Look at the grand alliance. It came very early on, soon after the war ended. If you look back into history of international relations, it took considerable time and effort to destroy a grand alliance. Suffice to point to the Holy Alliance or the Quadruple Alliance after the Napoleonic wars. it took 40 years for them to fall apart. If you look at the Grand alliance, which William III created it took 20 – 30 years for that to fall apart. However, now we have a grand alliance that is crucial and pivotal to save the world form tyranny and keep it in existence, yet within a year it fell apart.  historiography: three ways of  Another thing that is important is the role of historiography. We looking at history: will come across interpretation of international affairs. Obviously - traditional or orthodox no story contains exactly the same interpretation. International interpretation relations in general, especially with the cold war offered 4 versions - revisionist of the causes. - post revisionist  The major interruption that we have for international relations and - soviets for the cold war in particular are: - The traditional orthodox interpretation: by large promoted and sported by the historians of the 50’s and 60’s. Pushed by historians who knew nothing about Soviet Union, other than the actions of Stalin. Historians who have never seen soviet documents. Historians who took completely at value US or western opinion. These historians pointed fingers at the Soviets as the guilty party. They blamed soviets and Stalin as the guilty party, and for the bad relations and of the lost lives of people and of the numerous relations that were destroyed. - Revisionist: Within 15 to 20 years a new American historian wave arrived. By the early 70’s the American and western historians traveled to Moscow and had access to soviet documents. And for the first time could see things from two different perspective-western as well as eastern views. And almost immediately they pointed fingers at DC. That the US had contributed to the outbreak of the cold war. It was the US who wanted to spread it’s own ideology; it’s own capitalist system. they had economic interest. The traditional did not like this interpretation. The government did not like this interpretation, however there it was. Contradicting with all the views of the traditional interpretation. - Post revisionist: By the time the Soviet Union was in its final collapse, late 80’s early 90’s there was a moment of unpredenct offer from Moscow. Those historians who happened to be in Moscow in 1991, 1992 were given access to even the most secret documents reserved in the presidential achieves. They pointed fingers at both, Washington and Moscow. They both contributed to the collapse of the grand alliance and to the outbreak of cold war - Soviet: after mid 1990’s there is the last school of thought. they point finger at the US and do not offer any document or evidence at all.  The first thing we must start with is the major peace agreement. The second of the tree major conference that took place during the  Yalta- February 1945 Second World War. Yalta February 1945. It pretty much started to - started off as the greatest get the ball rolling. Many, especially the traditionalist argue that it betrayal by the western states was one of the greatest betrayals by the western state, above all by - the Grand alliance was sure the US (Roosevelt) and sold out and left eastern Europe to Stalin’s the war would be over soon, mercy. What was the essence of this conference? so they sat down to discuss - By then, February 1945, every single member of the Grand what sort of states would alliance-Britain, US, Soviet Union was aware that the war would emerge. be over in a few month. Nazi Germany is or will be defeated after - There was still a military they sat to map out the future of Europe and how to handle situation with Germany, and some of the outstanding issues. this played an important role - They sat down to settle the outstanding issues. Such as what in the outcome of Yalta. The kind of Europe or Germany emerge? What will happen to the germans had already bogged territory of fascist and Nazi Germany? How will peace and down the Americans, so the stability ensured. Russians were the only ones - Now matter how loft goal each of the representatives had, you left to deal with Germany. have to keep in mind the military situation. There was no way - At this point the red army getting around it. While they may have had good military occupied central Europe. objectives in mind, the military situation is what determined the - Roosevelt: outcome. a. wanted acceptance of the - The US and Britain were bogged down. The Germans started idea of UN. offensive, nailed both the American and British, and only with b. Wanted the acceptance of the soviet were they able to overcome that German offensive. China into the security They stood no less than 600 kilometers from Berlin. They could council never put a claim on the table and demand concessions as Stalin c. Wanted 4 freedoms: could. The red army was at the gates of Berlin, mere 60 Freedom of want, Freedom kilometers. 10 times closer than the British or Americans, and of speech, freedom of this is what determined the outcome. By this point Eastern political interference, Europe was occupied by the red army. freedom from hunger. - So to claim that Roosevelt gave up on Poland o Czechoslovakia, d. Wanted Soviet participation or Hungary was untrue. The red army was already there. That in the Japanese war. being aside, what objects did they have in mind? - Churchill: - Roosevelt’s object were similar to those of Woodrow: a. Was fully aware that the US a. Wanted the acceptance of his idea of creating a new would soon pull out of international organization: the UN. For that he needed Europe just as it had done Stalin’s concessions. before. b. Roosevelt also wanted an acceptance of the American plea to b. Wanted another great bring in china. At this point China had no power, but he power in the Security thought of making China a member of the Security Council. council: France Which Stalin agreed to. - Stalin: c. When you look at the legacy of Yalta it wasn’t just a one- a. wanted territorial security: way street. Stalin gave in to the demands from both Great b. argued that SU had been Britain and the US. invaded twice through d. In addition to this, Roosevelt also wanted his 4 freedoms. Poland. Freedom of want, freedom of speech, freedom of political c. Said he wanted a buffer interference, freedom of hunger and freedom of Hunger zone: push 200 kilometers (war). Stalin agreed to that as well. into Poland and to make up - Churchill wanted a few things too: for that loss, Poland should a. He knew that the US would pull out of Europe just as it had be pushed 200 kilometers done in 1919. Knowing that, Churchill wanted another great into Germany. power in the Security Council. So he wanted France. France d. The other two agreed however had collaboration with the Nazi. This was okay with becyae the red army had Stalin. suffered great losses during b. Stalin agreed so this was s concession on his side. the war. - Stalin wanted security. a. Territorial security.  Legacy of Yalta: the legacy was b. His argument was this. the Soviet had been invaded twice, that it wasn’t just a compromise both coming from the west, both coming from Poland. on one side, but compromise on c. Given that it was a necessity for an extended territory- a both sides of the street. Roosevelt buffer zone between western Europe and soviet union and Churchill make concessions d. That required pushing western territory into Poland. A good on their side and Stalin made 200 kilometers. And to compensate Poland for that loss he concessions on his side. needed to push Polish territory further west that is into German territory. - It made sense for both Roosevelt and Churchill to accept that. Throughout the war 90% of the German army bled in that front. It was preoccupied there. It was engaged by the Soviet Union and of course its losses were sustained on the eastern front. - The Russians suffered terrible casualties. The western powers had to make up for that. So they agreed to Stalin’s demands. - In addition Roosevelt also wanted soviet participation in the war with Japan. - February 1945: American headquarters calculated to invade the homeland-not the islands, but Japan homeland, which would cause the Americans no less than million lives. And no president would ever survive that politically. Because of that they needed soviet assistance. Fighting against the Japanese. - When you put al these together the conference Yalta emerges as a well-balanced conference. All three achieved what was feasible. Concession on all three parts were possible.  However, that was not the last deal. In May 1945, when Germany was defeated they once again met in Potsdam present day Berlin. They came together to see what would happen with Germany. The change between Yalta and Potsdam was that at Yalta there was no issue on Germany. They were all peripheral issues. But at Potsdam they decided to deal with the German question.  However, we have to examine the changes between Yalta and Potsdam. You are talking about three months: between February and June. - April 12, 1945 Roosevelt dies. He was replaced by Harry Truman. - In addition, at March causing the soviets by surprise, the United States canceled and stopped all lend lease agreements to the Soviet Union, which had been going on since 1945. All belligerent powers that are on the allied side fighting with the Americans against Nazism or fascism in Japan has a free access to American markets, military support, financial support. Unexpectantly the American’s terminated it. They didn’t even offer an explanation to them. - In addition when Molotov, foreign minster travelled to the United State to San Francisco to the opening day of the UN, visited Washington. Truman dealt with him like a child. Truman said, you must behave, if you do not want to be treated like this the next time. - Furthermore Truman demanded a concession from the SU that in every international affair, whatever the issue, the US must have 85% say deciding in that issue with only 15% with the rest of the world. If you talk about equals or a grand alliance where each state participates with all their efforts against a common objective you cannot demand things like that. - Furthermore, the Russian through their own intelligence that the US were in negotiation with the Germans to have a separate peace. In March 1945 SS. General Wolf met with the American representative in Berlin in secret and tried to achieve a separate peace. Nothing came out of it, because the American’s refuse to negotiate when they found out what the Germans were demanding. The fact that the Soviet found out on their own cast a shadow on the alliance between the US and SU. The Russians feared very much that the Americans would full out of the Grand alliance, make a separate peace with the Germans, and then in the last month of the war 1945 to concentrate all their forces in the eastern front and fight with the Russians for anther decade or so. - As one can see the combination of these factor set the tone for the meeting at Potsdam set expectations very low.  It is important to keep in mind that by the time Stalin went to Berlin at Potsdam, much had changed. Churchill was booted out, voted out by the British electorate. Clemtine Attlee came in. He lacked the charisma of Churchill, the know how of Churchill and the lack of experience in international relations. Of course Truman was also a new individual. The only thing that Stalin knew about Truman was the report that Molotov sent. Truman also had no experience in international relations. When Stalin first saw Truman, he said it reminded him of shopkeeper who would shoot first and then ask later.  It was this gathering that had to decide the fate of Germany. It was this gathering that brought in two individuals who had no allegiance to Stalin. They did not care about the Soviet sacrifices. They didn’t think they owed the Russia anything.  To begin with the Russians agreed with the eternal idea regarding Germany. It ought to be occupied by all four powers. The British, French, Russian and the US. It also ought to be penalized. There had to be reparations. They also had to be reparations around 20 billion dollars. They didn’t want to commit the same mistake as Versailles. To impose such heavy reparations in Germany that actually would backfire. Half of that would go to Soviets. The problem was so complex that they thought that they must deal with Germany last and deal with other issues first. Issues that had emerged since the war was over. They had a plan for Germany. The Morgenthau plan. But it would turn Germany into an agricultural state. The Russians said they would be fine with it, but let us postpone the issue of German and deal with other issues. That was primary with the formal allies of Nazi Germany. - The issue of Japan - The issue emerging in Eastern Europe. What sort of states would they be? Pro-west? Pro-soviet? Would they be friendly towards the Soviet Union and so on?  The Russians also wanted to gain a foothold in the Mediterranean. Since the British and American’s had a say in the affairs of Eastern Europe the Russians thought they had a say Mediterranean. That is in the territories that were never part of the Soviet Union: Italian lands and Italian colonies, which had nothing to do with the Soviets. Problems immediately arose: - Problem #1: The US and British said the Soviet union accommodate then in eastern Europe by allowing them to decide what sort of Government would emerge. We are not yet talking about communist governments in Eastern Europe. All of these states were under Soviet occupation. The red army was stationed there by the millions. But the governments were if not broad based still a combination of pro-communist, pro bourgeois, or even capitalist elements. It is this part that both Britain and US wanted to change and they wanted even a broader based government. But the Russians said that if that is you demand then let us have a say in Western Europe and the Italian developments. The Russians were cut out completely. They had no say what sort of government would emerge in Italy. The British and Americans by this time had already recognized a right wing Italian government by one of the leading Italian marshals who served under Mussolini. Yet the soviets were not consulted. This was a serious problem. - The German issue was postponed because of its complexity. However the powers could not even come to a compromise on the lighter issues. - Starting from Potsdam the relation between these three went down. There were a few occasions when they would try to strike a compromise and to make concessions for one another. However, starting from Potsdam the relation went down. - Problem #2: What further contributed to this decline was Spain. Spain was not penalized for supporting the Nazi effort, Likewise they complained of Poland, especially the Americans and the British. Roosevelt had agreed to pushing Poland boarder. Yet now, after Roosevelt was dead the west brought it up as an unacceptable development. They were never consulted. - Problem #3: Add to this the fact that the US had nuclear monopoly. How did the soviets feel when the Americans stood up and said unacceptable, knowing full well that behind the American objective stood the atomic bomb. Again, historians have different opinions about the ‘atomic policy’ which was brought in late 1945. Some argue that US used the nuclear weapons not because of military dictates. By august Japan was on the verge of collapse- economic and military collapse. The argument is thaththe US used the weapons (bombing Japan august 6 and 9 1945) only to demonstrate the power of the nuclear weapon. And to tell the SU to toe the American line and to accept that 85% of decision-making power was the US’s. There was no other reason to use the bomb.  Instead of complying the Soviets dug in their heels and stood against the American designs and demands. Nuclear policy backfired majorly. It created the first competition knowing full that they would not be able to match the US, the soviets rushed into the research of the nuclear weapons to somewhat equalize the situation military as well as political.  But in addition to that there were problems solving the post-war issues. To salvage the issues that emerged after Potsdam conference, they need to have a rein minster council in London. - As it turned out the British were the first to say that they were not complying. They realized that they were the poorest and poorest of the alliance members. The foreign office argued and told Attlee that the UK could no longer afford any compromise because they would lose their status of world power. The dilemma was that the British would have liked a division of the world into spheres of influence. They had done it before WWII, both with the French and the Russians 1904 and 1907. Churchill himself had done with Stalin in 1944, dividing eastern Europe between British sphere of influence, soviet sphere of influence. They would have loved to do that with the rest of the world. However, they knew that the Americans would reject that approach. Roosevelt had denounced the sphere of influence and more importantly, had the gone through with it, the Russian would have been more powerful. This is what the British wanted to avoid. By the time the ministers met in London in September 1945, the British made the decision to close the ranks with the Americans. To side with the Americans, even if that meant a ‘second’ role for the British. Even if that meant to allow the Americans to dominate the international relations. However, it was also important for the British to maintain the great power status. This meant that they had to side closer with the US, rather than making a deal with the SU.  So by this point the British were fully aware of their weakened position and they argued that they can make no compromise with the SU. So for the first time in the relation the British were the first to break the rank, and say that the national interest trumps the international interest of the Grand Alliance. No compromises, stand up against the Soviet Union and dig in their heels.  The French, who for the first time were represented in that meeting, also created trouble. They said that if the soviets could be accommodated by pushing its boarders’ 200 kilometers to the west, and if Poland can be accommodated for that loss by another 200 kilometers, then why not France? why not break up Germany? Since the First World War that was the dream of the French to weaken Germany as much as possible. Plus, because they were ashamed by the defeat of 1940 the only solut
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