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09/25 Lecture Notes

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Vasilis Dimitriadis

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HIS344 September 25 Lecture 4, 5 Series of misunderstandings & misinterpretations of each other’s action - E.g. Stalin challenging middle east states What eventually set the US and USSR against each other was three crucial documents/events - “The Long Telegram” o Depicted Soviets as set on world domination (ideology dictated policy) and seen as a challenge to British prestige and capitalist system - Looking at Soviet’s economy, they were in no position to wage another war. Britain was also broke and in no position to challenge the Soviets. o Both misread: Saw in the other a desire to take over the rest of the world 1947 by this point, the European situation was at a critical level - Germany on the verge of starvation and Europe divided into two hostile camps o Previous understanding that the USSR would be compensated for damages done by the Nazis. In exchange, they would supply W Germany food but they gave E Germany (big food producer) to Poland o Extremely dire situation in Germany. No other country could help o US Gen Lucius Clay: Reported again and again that action must be taken in W Germany to prevent it from falling to communism (E Germany) - Britain was broke and no longer able to present itself as a great power o Early 1947, voluntarily decided to pull out to Greece, allowing communists to take over o Could only ask for American’s help  $3.8b in aid and replaced Britain as defender of western democracy In the US, Republicans in control of Congress - Reduce budget, small government, low taxes (typical Republican mantra) - Only way Truman could convince Congress to give money was to paint the situation in black and white: There is a chance for communism to succeed in Europe; It was only a matter of time - Delivered the Truman Doctrine o One of the first steps that created Cold War tensions o It revealed US policy to oppose the Soviet Union: When there is a threat of a small minority trying to impose its will on the larger majority, it cannot be allowed; goes against the American way of life - Congress immediately opened their purse (giving out $13b), and basically bailed out and saved W Europe o Raised number of expectations that committed the American government (and future governments) to come to the aid of any state that is being threatened by a minority o From that point on, Greece & Turkey become focal point of cold war tension Marshall Plan - Added further flames to conflict and increased Cold war tension - Built on the Bretton Wood Plan o Rebuild destroyed infrastructure o IMF, World Bank both dominated by the US (30% of voting rights) - Program that provided monetary aid to Europe o Conditions: To qualify for the money, states must agree to open their borders, allow free trade and allow some American supervision of the plan o Countries pegged their currency to the USD o When set up (1948), it was open to Soviets  Conditions: Open up their economy to US scrutiny (see if they had hidden assets) and to American goods. Borrowed money had to be used to buy American goods - Conditions unacceptable to Soviets. Stalin also forbade Poland & Czech to participate o Seen as US way to undermine Soviet influence. No E European states agreed - European states that joined agreed that borders would open, allowing goods & people to flow freely o Laid foundation for EU & unprecedented growth in Europe (or America?) - From another perspective: Ulterior US motive to make European countries buy US goods and open their markets to US goods Sept 1947, COMINFORM - Conference of all communist countries Zhdanov Speech: The World of Two Camps - Depicted inevitability that Europe would fall into two camps. Blamed Marshall Plan as US way to dominate Europe economically. Only a matter of time before they politically & culturally dominated the world. Only way to prevent that was tying communist countries closer to the USSR (who would dictate their policies) o No longer possibility of compromise. Stalin won’t give up any of his control over the communist countries Same pattern in Asia which brought more conflict and exacerbated the situation, Divided Asia into communist and capitalist sphere of influence - Japan o Devastated by US bombing, industry destroyed. Going through economic crisis (similar to Germany). Same sect emerged in Japan as Germany o If Americans were unable to support them, people could find salvation in communism o MacArthur wanted to dismantle Japan, make sure they would never threaten the US again. Make Japan a true democratic state  Removed & dismantled any nationalist elements but ruined Japan economically and made it more vulnerable to communist take over o Japan became more important to US (China losing to communism) so State Department intervened, gave up on MacArthur’s plan to remove nationalist elements and gave billions of dollars in aid  Made them more self-sufficient and pro-American Back to Europe: Both sides taken positions counter to one another and convinced that the other wants to take over the world - Fate of Germany o Britain & France wouldn’t agree with US plan to unite their occupied Germany territories (both wanted compensation) o What forced their hand was what happened in E Germany (setting up of Soviet model) o Jan 1946, Britain & later French area in Germany joined with US area (Trizonia) Soviet Union now even more bent on making sure their areas wouldn’t fall into western hands - Czechoslovakia 1948 coup d’état o It was a generally democratic state, not under soviet control o Took Czech out from the democratic camp and made into a pro-Soviet state o First time that a state became communist without red army presence  Tiny communist party (didn’t have popular support for communist regime) was able to carry out coup d’état - Western Europe determined that it wouldn’t happen in their own states o Italy & France at this point have large communist support. - Yugoslavia o Pro communist yet deep seated distrust between leader, Tito & Stalin o Spring 1948, strike out on its own, no longer dictated by soviets o End of 1948, Yugoslavia chased out of
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