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HIS344 Study Guide.docx

Course Code
Vasilis Dimitriadis

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HIS344 Study Guide
The “First” Cold War/Truman Doctrine
- Historiography about the Cold War, collapse of Grand Alliance
o Traditional view
Came from the West, the US
Dominated until the mid-1960s
Era of McCarthyism
Soviets did not “provide” evidence against this view
Cause of the Cold War was nothing but Soviet activity, the Soviet Union
Guilt falls on the Soviets, Communism and Stalin
Communism by its nature wanted to expand
Soviet Union aimed to overthrow the free world
o Revisionist
Mid 1970s US and Soviet relations thawed out -> challenged the traditional
Cold War emerged because of the US being in a superior position -> its desire to
ensure markets for their its economy
o Post-Revisionist
1989-90: unprecedented opportunity because all of the Soviet archives were
opened to the public
Both sides committed blunders, tried to gain the upper hand in Cold War
Archives proved that it wasn’t just Soviet ideology but also genuine Soviet
concerns triggered international conflicts
Both sides pursued their national interests
US had misinterpreted Soviet actions
Many post-revisionist still put more blame on the Soviets
o Soviet
Every single point blames the US
Looks over the Soviets’ own mistakes
- Beginnings of the Cold War
o By Potsdam Conference in 1945, it became clear to the major states that national
interests were more important than cooperation
Truman: “I’m tired of babying the Soviets”
Truman did not have a working relationship with Stalin
Soviets felt they had a free-hand over the countries in the East
- The communization of Eastern Europe during the first three years after the end of WWII
precipitated a fundamental reassessment of US foreign policy towards the USSR
o Truman administration began to interpret it as the first stage of a Russian campaign to
acquire control of the entire continent of Europe
- Developments that lead to the Truman Doctrine
o Feb. 1946: Stalin’s Speech to the Supreme Soviet
Announced that the world was now divided into two hostile camps capitalist
and communist that were destined to come to blows
o Kennan’s “Long Telegram”
In his telegram, Kennan laid out the course of future US foreign policy

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Argued that the USSR, due to its nature, will always feel insecure, have the need
to establish spheres of influence
Given political and ideological nature of the USSR, it is not possible for any
Western states to cooperate with them
Communism is committed to the destruction of capitalism
Only way to deal with Soviets is through confrontation and containment globally
-> Soviets not allowed to achieve a single victory
o Winston Churchill “Iron Curtain” Speech
Warned that an Iron Curtain had descended across Europe behind which evil
communism was spreading and trying to expand
Called for Anglo-American alliance against the USSR to counter what he viewed
as the country’s expansionist policy
o Food Crisis in Germany
Lucius Clay warned that if economic situation is not alleviated it would lead to a
communist controlled Germany
Fears that capitalist economic collapse in Europe would lead to a Soviet
o Iran and Turkey 1946
Stalin made demands to both countries in order to increase the Soviet sphere of
Britain and US intervene and protest against the demands threaten military
Stalin backs down in both cases but shows he is willing to push the envelope
o Greek Civil War
Percentages Agreement - Greece considered within the British sphere of
British defeat Greek Communists -> Stalin did not give aid to the
Early 1946 return to civil war in Greece
Truman administration saw the Greek insurgency as an instance of Soviet
meddling that had already been witnessed in Iran and Turkey
Feb. 1947: Britain announces that dire economic conditions at home would
oblige it to terminate all financial assistance to Greece and Turkey
- Truman Doctrine March 12th, 1947
o Was an unconditional pledge of American assistance to countries anywhere in the world
that were threatened either by external aggression from the USSR or an indigenous
Communist insurgency backed by Moscow
o Communism would be opposed pro-actively
o US will stand up wherever it is necessary to promote Western democratic values
o First active step of the Cold War
- After the Truman Doctrine
o George Kennan’s Article in Foreign Affairs
USSR would probe the weak spots all along its periphery to expand its power
and national security
Moscow would pursue these expansionist goals by annexation or satellite states
The US alone was capable of imposing limits on Soviet expansion
US must do so discreetly and indirectly by promoting the prosperity, stability
and security of those countries in danger

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These military robust and economically viable states along its periphery would
oblige the USSR to accept its geographical limits
This doctrine of “containment” was rooted in the assumption that a major
objective of Soviet foreign policy was the achievement of hegemony over non-
communist Europe
o 1947: Marshall Plan
Restoration of Western Europe’s economic viability was seen as the key to the
success of ‘containment’
US promised financial assistance and economic aid to Europe
Financial assistance would be distributed on a multi-lateral basis:
individual European countries would have to cooperate, integrate their
markets and create a supranational institution (would later develop into
the EU)
Opened up market possibilities for American businesses
Offer was extended to all European countries also those of Eastern Europe
Many Eastern European states expressed interest to participate in the Marshall
Plan -> instigated a real Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe Stalinization
o Increasing Militarization of the Cold War
Clashes over the future of Germany
March 1946: Kennan argues that unified idea of Germany must be
Jan. 1947: Bi-Zonia
o British and US zones merged
o Greater effort to rejuvenate the Germany economy
London Conference Feb-June 1948
Western proposal to merge their zones and include West Germany into
the EER
Creation of single currency Deutsche Mark
Berlin Blockade
Berlin is closed off from the West
Americans decide to supply West Berlin through an airlift
Blockade is lifted in May 1949
Declaration of NATO April 1949
Goal was to resist any Soviet aggression in Western Europe
Attack against any member state would be considered an attack on the
entire NATO
Created a military block
Purpose of NATO was a political statement by the US, that US would
side with Western Europe
Raised the stakes of military confrontation
o April 1950: NSC-68
Laid the foundation of US foreign policy for the next 4 decades
There could be ‘peaceful coexistence’ with the USSR
Containment policy was no longer sufficient communism had to be destroyed
Proposed a number of measures:
Developing the hydrogen bomb to preserve America’s nuclear
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