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Flashcards in Session 5 Deck (26):


- Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
- a Soviet-dominated economic organization founded in 1949 to co-ordinate economic strategy & trade with the communist world



- coined by George Kennan
- For the American, or Western, policy towards the Soviet Union
- Contain the USSR
- Hope that internal division, failure or political evolution might end the perceived threat from what was considered a chronically expansionist force


Truman Doctrine

- policy of Truman, 12 March 1947 to Congress
- provide military & economic aid to Greece and Turkey
- Later used to justify aid to any country perceived to be threatened by communism



- term for the practice in the US of making accusations of pro-communist activity (mainly unsupported)
- comes from Republican Senator of Wisconsin (notorious practitioner)



- policy pursued in most communist states & groups after 1956
- initiated by the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev



a. Divided – Soviet, French, British, and American occupation
i. East Berlin – Soviet Union
ii. West Berlin – US, Britain, France


Why, at the end of the war, was the United States clearly superior and the system only partially and artificially bipolar?

i. US superiority (economic, military)
1. GDP: up 60% between 1940 and 1945
2. Virtual full employment + private savings
a. Keep economy going post-war
3. 1945: 70% of gold reserves
4. GDP: three times USSR; five times GB
5. Atomic Monopoly
a. Only nuclear power
b. Only power to use nuclear weapons
ii. US capacity of global ideological projection
iii. US capacity of leadership/consensus-building
1. USSR – lacked consensus
2. US was able to build a trans-national network of elites, made them much stronger than the USSR


Weaknesses of USSR

i. Lost between 24 and 27 million people
ii. Lost ¼ of its wealth
iii. Territory devastated
iv. Huge gender imbalance, 20 million more women than men


Strengths of USSR

i. Conventional forces
1. Gigantic Soviet army
ii. Fascination/Soviet myth
1. Had not suffered from the economic depression in the 1930s
2. Appeared to be a model of rapid modernization, industrialization
3. Stand-up and defeat Germany
4. Brought up pro-communist parties in Europe
5. Able to exploit
iii. Control of Central –Eastern Europe
1. Occupied most of Central-Eastern Europe
a. Impose Soviet style regimes
b. Geopolitical advantage
iv. USSR in 1945 as “the largest defense”


Which were the main dimensions of the US-Soviet antagonism?

a. Geopolitical (centrality of Europe & Germany)
b. Ideological: competitive modernities/teleologies/narratives of progress
c. Military (conventional vs. nuclear)


What were the objectives of Great Britain in 1945?

i. Preservation imperial sphere/privileges
ii. US economic support for reconstruction
iii. Leadership role in Europe (with USSR, despite difference)
iv. Social reforms at home (universal welfare)


What were the Soviet objectives at the end of the war?

a. Sphere of influence in Central-Eastern Europe
b. Tight political control via pro-Soviet communist parties, but “popular democracies” and coalitions (plans vague and confused)
c. Cautiousness and belief in gradual transition to socialism in Europe (30 to 50 years)
i. Time was on the side of the Soviet Union
d. Non hostile governments in Western Europe
i. Coalition governments where pro-Soviet parties could play a role
e. Weak and divided Germany
f. US economic aid
g. Gain time and prepare for future war


What were the US objectives at the end of the war?

a. Demilitarized, divided and weak Germany
b. Recognition of Soviet sphere (in exchange for some cosmetic democracy; belief in transformation of the Soviet Union)
c. United States as only global power monitoring European events from abroad/off-shore: GB/USSR balance of power in Europe
d. Open trade and liberal-capitalist order


10. What were the commonalities – of interests and visions – between the United States and the Soviet Union?

i. Punishment of Germany
ii. Bipolar equilibrium in Europe
iii. Soviet sphere of influence


Why, then, did a [Cold] War erupt?

- US, Soviet & Structural Factors


Soviet Responsibilities

Constant changes of plans
ii. Brutality of occupation (Eastern Germany)
1. “The social psychology of women and men in the Soviet zone of occupation was marked by the crime of rape from the first days of occupation, through the founding of the GDR”
iii. Opportunism and attempt to exploit weaknesses of Western Europe
iv. Diffidence towards US and capitalism (no interest in being “co-opted”)


US Responsibilities

i. Disengagement = no financial aid to USSR
ii. Harsher attitude of Truman
1. More reliance on anti-Soviet advisors
iii. Return of anti-Communism + weakness of liberals
iv. Abandonment of punitive policies vs. Germany
v. Kept USSR out of Japan


Structural Factors

i. Bipolarism itself
1. Conducive to conflict
a. Just one side balancing the other
ii. Ideological competition
iii. Security dilemma (Power Vacuum in Europe)


Why in 1945 was Europe a power void?

a. Germany: divided, unstable
b. Britain: weak and unstable to balance the USSR
c. Weakness and instability of several Western European governments
d. No “economic engine” for European reconstruction


1946-1947: The deterioration of US-Soviet Relations

a. Stalin’s speech (inevitable war)
b. Churchill’s Speech (iron curtain)
c. George Kennan’s “Long Telegram” (containment)
i. 20 pages, 7000 words, very scholarly analysis of the behavior of the Soviet Union
ii. Contain the Soviet Union
d. Truman’s doctrine (two worlds)
i. Ask Congress for extraordinary aid for Greece and Turkey
ii. Freedom and slavery, democracy and totalitarianism


Why was Germany an almost intractable dilemma?

i. Punishment
1. Could stimulate German revanschism and nationalism
2. Germany (resources and industrial know how needed for European reconstruction)
3. Risk of a German/Soviet rapprochement
4. Already punished (bombing + brutality occupation)


US Decision to Re-Integrate Germany

a. Creation of Bizone (1.1947)
i. Britain and US merged their two zones of occupation
b. End of de-nazification
c. Currency reform (6.1948)
i. First step towards political re-integration
d. Pressures on France (Trizone, 7.1948)
e. Berlin blockade (June 48 – May 49) & Two Germanys
i. Stalin blackmailed the west by blocking the access to West Berlin by road, rail and water way
ii. Could no longer provide necessary supplies
iii. Meant to convince US to abandon their plans
iv. Backfired, huge propaganda defeat
1. Threatening to starve a population of a city
v. Supplied West Berlin from the air
1. Huge propaganda victory, Berlin airlift
vi. Propaganda competition
1. Freedom versus Stalin (binary representation)


Why were the Marshall Plan launched and the North Atlantic Pact signed?

US decision & Marshall Plan


US Decision to Offer Extraordinary Aid to Europe

i. Economic difficulties (different interpretations)
ii. Fear pro-Soviet forces could benefit from economic disruption + Sovietization of Eastern Europe
iii. Logic of interdependence (trade; US prosperity; peace)
iv. European invitation


Marshall Plan (European Recovery Program = ERP)

i. Offered to (and refused by) USSR and Soviet Bloc
ii. Approved by Congress in April 1948
iii. European coordination (CEEC, then OEEC)
iv. 1948-1951: $13 billion dollars in technical and economic assistance
1. Controversial for American taxpayers


ERP: Goals and Results

i. To stop communism: Struggle for hearts and minds
ii. Strengthen/consolidate pro-US governments
iii. Promote European economic integration
iv. European resistance and little integration (national responses) & US frustration
v. Limited Economic Impact (but dollar shortage)
vi. Extraordinary political/psychological impact