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Week 12 Grenville notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Neville Panthaki

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 citizensthey 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 relaxedone result was that organised labour demanded end to wage controls in the making of policy muchthepends on the degree of collaboration achieved between the president and Congress in September 1945, Truman enjoyed in 79a 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 Trumans 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 th the decline of Trumans popularity made itself felt during the elections in November 1946 for the 80 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 powerstrike record of the unions and the disruption they had caused made this acceptable outside the circles of organised labour, and Trumans 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 capacitythis 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 worlds banker and to recycle through loans and gift the huge surpluses USs 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 Trumans experience of world affairs was limitedon the complex questions confronting the US in the spring and summer of 1945, he tried to follow through Roosevelts 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 others 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 governmentits 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 nationsthe Soviet Union, the US, China, Britain, and Francea 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 Roosevelts 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 Chinas Nationalist forces to help them gain control of the whole of China; but, to begin with, US policy aims were fine tuned www.notesolution.com 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 worldexcept for Spainwas 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 Japans 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
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