March 6, 2014
Building the “Ranks of the Free”: The Global Cold War
− We will look at this idea of “global cold war”
− University swelled during the Cold War period – GI Bill
− Baby boom:
− Most educated
− most opinionated in American History
− This is the generation that will be protesting against globalAmerican policy
− Rise of Soviet communism and rapid decolonization of the Third world
− Cold War becomes global
• Introduction: Kennedy and the “ranks of the free”
• Kennedy speaks directly to the Third World
• Trying to convince these new nations to become strong content nations of the West or of the “ranks
of the free”
• Modernization as Ideology (and foreign Relations)
• Modernization: range of approaches and practices
• Belief in technological and economic progress which will lead to stable social and economical
• Important concept from the Kennedy administration
• A lot of Cold War intellectuals will put a great effort to encompass the concept ofAmericanism
• How do we come up with a concept that is enough to rival Communism
• US until the 1960s – totally racist
• Eisenhower on record: Everyone in the world is watching the US and its domestic racial
• How can you expect them to follow us
• Communism appears to have a plan
• If you follow Leninism you build socialism in one country, and then this expands to the
proletariat and expands to countries around
• US doesn't really have a plan
• Not good for Third World - Part of Western economic success is based on slavery and taking
advantage of colonies.
• Kennedy administration finds intellectuals and asks them what to do?
• 1957 Book: Massive foreign aid was the best way to go for the US.
• You can help countries get to the point you need them at, you don't have to wait anymore.
• Stages of Economic Growth – Rostow
• 1. Traditional Society
• 2. Preconditions for take-off
• 3. Take-off
• 4. Drive to Maturity
• 5. High-mass consumption: the majority of society has its basic needs taken care of • The most stable state.
• Rostow: Communism = disease of the transition
• The point where countries could fall to Communism was number 3 – the take-off.
• “It is in such a setting of economic and political confusion that communist conspiracy is
• Implications: if number three is the stage where Communism can thrive, then that's the stage
where they needed to intervene.
• They believed that progress was linear.
• In some ways it gives academic and intellectual justification to American ideas.
• If you are Kennedy:
• The appeal on Rostow's theory is in terms of technology
• American technological capabilities – skills transfer – will influence the Third World
• And then we can enter politically
• Peace Corps:
• Provide technical assistance in the Third World
• The idea is to mobilize the best and brightest of American youth and place them somewhere
in the Third World so they can share their knowledge.
• It fits very nicely with modernization – because you actually go physically and share
• It helps to have exemplars and makesAmerica look wonderful
• People volunteered because they believed in the mission
• People believes in helping other people in the developing world
• In many communities people thought that peace corps volunteers might be spies
• Many Americans going to the Third World started doubting America.
• “The Ugly American:”
• He helps the Vietnamese individually
• Kennedy really liked that book
• 1961: UglyAmerican started to be used for aggressive action
• Alliance for progress:
• Kennedy said that Latin America was the most dangerous nation in the world
• The rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer.
• Kennedy administration considered poverty to be pre-condition for Communism, or worse
• Castro is not sitting quietly in Cuba, but actively encouraging other Latin American
countries to be againstAmerica.
• He violates the Monroe Doctrine
• As a Communist leader in Latin America – he does not answer to anybody, or worse he
could answer to Moscow.
• We know now that there were many tensions between Moscow and Havana.
• Alliance for Progress: Classic Modernization theory: we start giving these countries money so
they do not ally with Castro
• In return for US aid Kennedy said that you have to distribute this money in a more equitable
• Launched it in Uruguay: everybody is invited except for Cuba
• Agrarian reform
• Rising standard of living
• 2 dollars out of every 100 made it to the poorest population • Latin American elites are not interested in re-distribution
• Fundamental problem with the way the Latin American governments were organized
• The Alliance for Progress is going to fail
• Aspects of the Gl