HISB31H3 Chapter Notes -Sun Yat-Sen, Mao Zedong, Egalitarianism

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Published on 31 Dec 2010
1. The United States: a reluctant world power
as seen from Europe during the first post-war years, the US was a land of plenty, however, this was not true
at home Americans, too, faced shortages, and industrial dislocation as the country after 1945 turned from needs of war to those of peace
worst off were the 20 million black citizens—they had already experienced discrimination in the army while fighting the “crusade for
freedom; at home they experienced racism and segregation
but there were both black and white citizens who wanted to right these wrongs
the long-established National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People began to win some significant legal battled
there was strong Republican resistance to the New Deal and to federal interference in industrial relations and social welfare
the immediate problem facing the US, as everywhere else, was to convert the economy to peacetime conditions
inflation was gathering pace, too much money was chasing too few goods; workers demanded wage increases to keep up with price rises
through 1945 and 1946, price controls were progressively relaxed—one result was that organised labour demanded end to wage controls
in the making of policy much depends on the degree of collaboration achieved between the president and Congress
in September 1945, Truman enjoyed in 79th Congress a Democratic majority in both House and Senate; but Democratic Party lacked
cohesion more than Republicans did, Southern Democrats aligning themselves with conservative Republicans on many domestic issues
Truman’s single biggest failure was his inability to check inflation
wartime controls had been abandoned too quickly to stop the spiral of price rises and wage demands backed by crippling strikes
the decline of Truman’s popularity made itself felt during the elections in November 1946 for the 80th Congress—the Democrats lost
heavily, and the Republicans now gained majorities in both the Senate and the House
the most important measure of 1947 was probably the Taft-Hartley Act, which limited union power—strike record of the unions and the
disruption they had caused made this acceptable outside the circles of organised labour, and Truman’s veto was overridden by Congress
yet, despite undoubted problems, the US economy passed successfully from war to peace
some unemployment persisted in the US but the great majority of the millions demobilised from the armed services found work
American industry took up the slack left by the fall-off of wartime production, and during the post-war years from 1945 to 1949
Americans enjoyed growing prosperity
with the end of the war against Japan, the administration suddenly cancelled the Land-Lease arrangements
the US in 1946 exported twice as much as it imported; its exports were now 3 times as large as in 1939
the exports of France and the rest of Europe combined amounted to less than half the imports of these countries from the US
Italy, Germany and Japan had been crushed by the war, and their import needs, to maintain even the lowest standards of living, exceeded
their exporting capacity—this was clearly a huge trade imbalance
the gap between progress in the two halves of Europe (Western Europe, which depended on the US in the hopes for a better life, and
Eastern Europe, which had received aid from the US, but then had to survive on its own without American assistance) widened in 1945
and communist mismanagement continued to increase the differences in the era from 1945 to the 1990s
only the US now had the financial capacity to become the world’s banker and to recycle through loans and gift the huge surpluses US’s
favourable balance of trade earned it; but the US wished to return to normal commercial practice as soon as possible
US financial advisers were too optimistic about West European recovery and thought special assistance would be needed for 2 or 3 years
in their desire to move quickly towards conditions of freer trade and unimpeded currency exchanges in order to avoid repetition of 1930s,
Americans attached conditions to their loans which West European economies were unable to meet when called upon to do so in 1947
Roosevelt had deliberately avoided any coherent detailed master plan to guide American policy in the post-war world
but, in what became the Soviet “sphere” in Eastern and Central Europe, the US and Western Europe had neither the means nor the will to
interfere effectively; all they could do was to refrain for a short time from recognising the Soviet-created governments
Truman’s experience of world affairs was limited—on the complex questions confronting the US in the spring and summer of 1945, he
tried to follow through Roosevelt’s policies; but the counsels of his principal advisers were divided
important issue was whether to confront Russia or to try to arrive at some working arrangement with Stalin over disputed issues such as
future of Germany, agreements that would allow East and West to accept each other’s differences and yet be able to live side by side
the conference called to draft the UN Charter met at San Francisco in April 1945
the US was the keenest proponent of setting up the world organisation and that this was accomplished by the end of June 1945 was the
most important diplomatic success of the early months of the Truman administration
it was of course clear that the UN would not be a “world government”—its members remained sovereign nations
the decision making procedure would be based on Western democratic process of majority vote, which would place the Soviet Union and
its associates in a minority; therefore, the nub of the problem became how far any nation would have to accept a decision by majority vote
clearly nations were not equal in size and power, nor did they share the same ideals or government
the inequality of states had to be recognized by giving to what were then regarded as the most important nations—the Soviet Union, the
US, China, Britain, and France—a special status; they were to be the permanent members of the Security Council; a number of smaller
states, 6 in 1945, were then elected by the General Assembly to the Security Council to join the 5 permanent members for a fixed period
all the founding member nations, 51 in 1945, were also members of the General Assembly
but this division of General Assembly and Security Council did not solve the problem
a complicated formula, full of ambiguities, was eventually evolved to determine when a veto could or could not be exercised by a
permanent member; however, there was no doubt that any one of the permanent members of the Security Council could stop military
action or any other form of sanction by the exercise of a veto
Truman continued Roosevelt’s policy of mediation between Nationalists and communists but not on the basis of equality for both sides
confrontation in northern China became inevitable as the Nationalists increasingly clashed with communist forces, who had the advantage
of fighting close to their base whereas the Nationalists were hundreds of miles from theirs
from 1945 to 1949 the US shipped large quantities of arms to China’s Nationalist forces to help them gain control of the whole of China;
but, to begin with, US policy aims were fine tuned
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during the war Japanese behaviour was judged by Allied governments and peoples to have been even worse than that of the Germans
in one important respect, as far as the Western Allied nations were concerned, the Americans, the British, and the Dutch, this was true:
the Japanese had treated captured prisoners of war with barbarity, many thousands perished from starvation and overwork
in China, Japanese cruelty inflicted horrors indiscriminately on civilians and soldiers which had shocked the civilised world when the
China War began in 1937, at a time when the rest of the world—except for Spain—was then still at peace and still shockable
it was at first expected, after the war ended, that Japan would need to be occupied and the Japanese ruled for a long time, not so much for
their own good, but to safeguard the world from their aggressive and barbarous impulses
despite unconditional surrender, the trial of war criminals and the purging of thousands from positions of influence in Germany and
Japan, the history of the occupation in the two countries nevertheless developed differently in one important respect
although Japan was stripped of all its overseas conquests acquired since its war with China in 1894, the Japanese homeland was not
divided into separate Allied zones of occupation but remained a whole nation
above all, entry of Soviet Union into war only a few days before Japan’s surrender and fact that no Soviet military forces set foot on main
islands of Japan, meant that West-East disputes about post-war treatment of Japan were contained on purely diplomatic level
Japan was first nation to experience horrors of atomic devastation, and long-term suffering of victims who were not killed outright served
as a constant reminder that war could now destroy a whole people and deform babies years after their parents exposure to radiation
many reforms introduced by the Americans during the occupation years fitted in with earlier Japanese traditions and were in practice
adapted by the Japanese to suit their need; thus the associations which they were encouraged to form in rural and urban communities for
social, political, or cultural purposes were nothing new; the same was true of agricultural and fishing cooperatives
most remarkable difference between occupation of Japan and that of Germany was continuity of institutions that was maintained in Japan
introduction of Western, especially American, models and imposition on Japan, as if Japan were blank sheet in 1945, did not always work
politically and socially, land reforms made an important impact in depriving absentee landlords and aristocrats of their wealth and with it
their potential for special influence, while raising the standards of the farmers, who formed a declining population of Japan’s population
the year 1947 as one of the major foreign policy reassessments in the US after the failure to reach a settlement with the Soviet Union
Japan’s rapid recover should be attributed principally to the hard work and skill of the Japanese people
in Germany overwhelmingly large numbers of Red Army (Soviet soldiers) divisions and far fewer American and British troops faced
each other across zonal occupation lines that were rapidly hardening into an armed borer
neither politically nor economically was Germany being treated as one unit, as had been agreed at Potsdam in 1945
for the Americans, the problems of Europe after the defeat of Germany were seen more in economic and political terms than military
but in 1945 and 1946, despite growing tension with the Soviet Union, American forces were leaving Europe to be demobilised at home
the divisions that remained were intended not as a defence against Russia, but as the minimum necessary to control the Germans
main aim of US policy was to ensure that basic living standards were maintained and that money was made available for relief supplies
each occupying power in Germany—USSR, Britain, France, and US—went its own way
for British, weak economically, the task of maintaining food supplies in their zone was a heavy burden, using up money loaned from US
for Washington, the most urgent need was to assess Stalin’s future intentions
there was a consensus that the Soviets were concerned for their own security and that Stalin was isolating the Soviet Union while
continuing to build up its industrial might and thus its military potential at the expense of its people’s standard of living
the degree of destruction the Soviet Union had suffered during the war, the paramount need for reconstruction which constrained Soviet
leaders from risking war with the West, Stalin’s own preoccupation with consolidating his power at home and Soviet power in Eastern
and Central Europe, his innate caution—all these factors were given insufficient weight
gist of Marshall’s proposal was that European countries should first reach agreement among themselves on what they could do and what
help was needed from US; US would not formulate programme—that was business of Europeans, from whom initiative had come
by April 1948, a permanent Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) had been set up
this in turn worked out the individual programmes of the participating countries (the German Federal Republic, formed from the Western
occupation zones—the US, Britain, and France—became a full member in October 1949)
relations with the Soviet Union deteriorated to a new low point in the wake of the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and the evident
determination of Britain and the US to move towards a separate West German state
the agreements reached at Potsdam to treat Germany as a whole were for all practical purposes dead by the spring of 1948
2. 1948: crisis in Europe—Prague and Berlin
from Moscow’s point of view the Czech coup could not have been worse timed
government crisis in Prague lasted from 20 to 27 February 1948, at very time when Western foreign ministers were meeting in London
during winter of 1947 – 8, in Cabinet and in parliament tension between communists and opponents had led to increasingly bitter conflict
the Prague coup finally discredited Soviet moves to prevent the formation of a West German state and accelerated the conclusion of a
West European alliance, the Brussels Treaty, in March 1948
the formation of the Western alliance and the plans for ending the occupation of Germany were intimately linked
the French continued to fear a resurgence of Germany and fought a rearguard action to retain Allied control over the Ruhr
the Brussels Treaty, signed on 17 March 1948, bound Britain, France, and the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and
Luxembourg) to take whatever steps were necessary “in the event of a renewal by Germany of a policy of aggression”; the signatories
also promised to come to each others’ defence if attacked by any aggressor in Europe (which applied to Soviet Union without naming it)
although the Brussels Treaty was an essential preliminary to strengthening the link between Western Europe and the US, another year
was to pass before the North Atlantic alliance (NATO) was concluded
with the conclusion of the Brussels Treaty more rapid progress was made on the question of the future of West Germany
the Berlin blockade was the first great drama of the post-war years
it ended with a stunning diplomatic victory, a triumph for power and good sense
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Document Summary

American industry took up the slack left by the fall-off of wartime production, and during the post-war years from 1945 to 1949. Americans attached conditions to their loans which west european economies were unable to meet when called upon to do so in 1947. Soviet union and the eastern german zone, which had stopped valuable goods from going east. Luxembourg, belgium, the netherlands and the us and canada on french insistence, italy also became a founding member of nato, and iceland, norway, denmark, and portugal soon joined. France"s claim to superiority in indo-china was shattered by its defeat in europe in june 1940. Hinduism professes, but does not always practise, broad tolerance, and it can embrace many different religious practices; hindus are. Chinese sovereignty was soon extended to the offshore islands and in 1950 forcibly to tibet only taiwan and a few other small islands remained outside the control of the new chinese republic.