GOV 312L Midterm: 2nd Midterm Review

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6 Feb 2017

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Review Sheet, Second Midterm Exam, GOV 312L: U.S. Foreign
1. How did the Versailles Treaty, particularly the harsh terms imposed on Germany,
contribute to World War II?
Versailles Treaty: one of the peace treaties following WWI (1914-1918), ended
state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers
Harsh Terms
Germany lost its navy, colonies, merchant marine, territory in West and
East, and army was limited to 100k
It was difficult for Germany to stand within the terms of the reparations
(payments intended to cover damage of war), which were propped up by US
credit. When US withdrew credit, Germany wasn’t able to phay
Germany, traditionally a proud and very nationalistic country, lost a lot of
its land holdings including the Rhineland which was an important industrial
center of Europe/Germany (this also cut out a lot of ‘German’ people from
the country)
Note: relate Germans left out of Germany to new international boundaries
and situation in Ukraine today
Contributed to WWII
The harsh terms destabilized the democratic Weimar Republic (1919-
This activated German conservatives to initiate a new revisionist foreign
policy in which lost territory was retaken.
The US failure to ratify Treaty of Versailles led to its withdrawal from
The League of Nations. This prompted a withdrawal from world politics
(retreat to isolationism) and the loss of a strong collective security system.
The CYCLE of credit in which the US loans money to Germany, so that
they can pay reparations to Great Britain, which Great Britain then provides
to the US to repay war loans. This cycle collapses when the US ceases
+loaning money to Germany after the Great Depression. This ignites further
conservative backlash.
2. How did American capital play an important role in keeping the reparations system
afloat and the withdrawal of American capital contribute to the end of German reparation
In order to pay its war reparations to countries like Great Britain, Germany took loans from
the US. Great Britain then used these payments from Germany to pay back the US for its
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wartime loans. The circular cycle of credit, and its subsequent revocation, made the Great
Depression an international event.
USA LOANS → GERMANY → Great Britain / France / Belgium (Reparation receipt
to pay back / war time loans ) → USA ... when US increased interest rate in response
to the Great Depression, people (Germany) borrowed less because they couldn’t
afford it so the whole cycle fell apart
3. How did American policies contribute to the Great Depression? What were the political
consequences of the Great Depression (1929-1939) and how did they contribute to World
War II (1939-1945)?
American Policies:
Tight monetary policy, halting loans to Germany (1928)
Smoot-Hawley Tariff (1929) imposed higher tariffs on imported goods,
incited other states to do likewise for American export, triggering a collapse
of international trade
FDR took the US off the gold standard (1933) to offset deflation, which
increases government spending, which leads to inflation. This damages
international monetary relations and devalues the dollar compared to
other currencies.
Political consequences:
The US was forced to withdraw from Europe through the Neutrality Acts
(1935, 1936, 1937)
Germany enacts austerity measures like tax hikes, spending cuts, and
increased interest rates to preserve their dedication to the gold standard,
which allows the Nazi Party to assume power.
Austerity measures increased global instability by creating an
economic vacuum in which Hitler could assume power.
German financial system collapsed during the Banking Crisis of 1931,
further polarizing Germany. Hitler restarted Germany economy through
rearmament and led the war in 1939 (World war 2 - 1939-1945).
Note: Great Depression (extremely bad 1929-1933) led to collapsing
industrial production, falling agricultural prices (decrease 75% 1925-1932),
rising unemployment (some countries over 30%, US 25% 1929, Germany
34% 1931), international trade contracts significantly dropped (some
countries 50%)
4. How did FDR get around an [relatively, US was becoming less isolationist at the time]
isolationist Congress and support the Allied powers (particularly the British war effort)
against Germany?
FDR got Congress to repeal arms embargo against any belligerents in war (1939)
FDR did not publicly commit the US to the war effort
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The US Navy patrolled the Atlantic
Destroyers traded for naval bases with British by executive order
The Lend Lease Act (1941) made the US an “arsenal for democracy.” It
authorized the president to transfer arms and other defense materials for which
Congress appropriated deems vital to the defense of the US. By allowing the
transfer of supplies without compensation to Britain, US could also get around the
Neutrality Act that banned loans to states fighting in war.
All congressional restrictions took a back-seat after the bombing of Pearl Harbor
Pearl harbor destroyed isolationism as a grand strategy at the time
5. Why did wartime cooperation between the United States and Soviet Union so quickly
collapse after World War II?
Competing Goals
The US wanted to advance democracy and free/fair elections, promote
free/open markets, supported UN and collective security and the USSR
wanted to advance communism.
The USSR also wanted to gain more land in Eastern Europe, and expand
their sphere of influence. sphere of influence.. “War not in the past,
whoever occupies territory imposes own social system and as far as army
can reach...cannot be otherwise” - Stalin.
A history of Soviet mistrust of the US because of Western imperialism that
predated WWII.
Effect of individuals (paranoia of Stalin about Western imperialism and the
anti-communism of Truman)
Module 11: Historical Overview of US Foreign Policy The Cold War
1. How did George Kennan view the Soviet threat? How did Kennan’s definition of the
Soviet threat naturally give rise to the containment strategy?
A. Patience and Marxist Ideology - Marxist ideology preaches a philosophy of
Communism vs Capitalism where Communism is the inevitable conclusion. This
philosophy gives rise to a kind of resilience in the Soviet threat. Essentially, the Soviets
believed that Capitalism would eventually collapse in the west because the proletariats
would rise up and overthrow the system to implement Communism, so the Soviets just had
to be patient and wait for that to happen.
B. Dictatorship and the need for an external enemy - Stalin, as longtime head of the Soviet
Union, created an external enemy in all capitalist countries to help keep his power. As time
went on, people became more devoted to the fight against this external enemy and the
dictators afterwards kept up this facade of the capitalist monster. This external enemy
combined with (A) gave rise to the idea of a slow but steady takeover.
C. Containment as a contest between rival political systems
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