The Cold War & the Korean War

For Reference
Textbook Chapters
27 Cold War America
28 The Suburban Era and Affluence
• The victors of WWII could not see how this
new transforming “Cold War’ would
eventually shape up.
• How was Europe to be repartitioned or
politically administered after the shooting war
• We do know that the American Political
climate took a major right turn toward a more
conservative ideology—after all liberal politics
had failed them through the depression—
something else needed trying.
• There was a second Red Scare, there was a real
sense of paranoia and fear of Communism;
• Americans could see everyday the international
struggle between The United States and Soviet
• A third World War seemed imminent—this
time it would be different—two major military
and nuclear powers facing off vying for control
of Europe and the World itself.
• The ‘Big’ Three FDR,
Churchill, and Stalin met on
several occasions trying to
hammer out the details of
what Post War Europe
should look like;
• They met at Teheran (1943),
Yalta (Feb 1945), and
Potsdam (July 1945).
• Only at Potsdam after the
death of FDR, HST assumed
the leadership role in post
war negotiations for the U.S.
• Churchill warned FDR
that Stalin could not be
appeased unless he got
what he wanted and
that was European
• FDR assumed he could
charm “Uncle Joe”
• At Potsdam, however,
Stalin met a personage
who could care less for
charm and dealt in
‘Real Politik.’ HST
• The term “cold war” goes back to a 14thcentury medieval writer named Don Juan
Manuel, who referred to the uneasy peace
between Muslims and Christians in Spain.
• But it was George Orwell, in a piece titled
“You and the Atomic Bomb,” who applied the
term as we know it best to the protracted
economic, geopolitical and ideological battle
between the United States, the Soviet Union
and their shifting allies.
• The precise dates of the Cold War are the
subject of debate, though most agree that it
began at some point in the summer of 1945
and continued until the collapse of the Soviet
Union at the end of 1991. Whatever the case,
it dominated global politics and culture for
the entire second half of the 20th century, and
its effects are ongoing.
• As far as the cause or who started the ‘Cold War,’ it is
viewed by many as equal cause:
• 1) the fault of the Soviet Union
• 2) the fault of the United States
• 3) All of the above
• The U.S. believed in a manifest destiny and free open
free trade democracy, economic and political model;
there also was the vision of enlightened selfdeterminism—each country had the right to choose
what economic or political model they would opt.—
The US also wanted free open world markets for
their goods and services.
• The Soviets, a slightly different vision. They
wanted greater state security; they had
suffered over 20 million losses during the war;
• Many more had died in Stalin’s brutal political
purges. Stalin even executed returned POWs
assuming they were now indoctrinated spies of
the West.
• Stalin feared with the USs aid that Germany
would once again become a large military and
economic power:
• This fear and security paranoia and distrust of
anything western made the USSR want to:
• 1) Ward off any other attempted invasions
• 2) Establish defensible borders
• 3) Encourage friendly regimes on its western
borders, even if they had to use terror and
coercion to create this encouragement.
• Stalin wanted to foster these relationships with
such as Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Bulgaria
and most of the Eastern Bloc—to do this meant
dominance and coercion—political, military,
and economic.
• This type of Soviet coercion and influence
disallowed the two things America was
fervently trying to attain:
• 1) Self-determinism, and 2) Free open markets
and democracy;
• Both countries grabbed a foothold in the
Middle east due to the rich Oil Fields—Britain
got us embroiled in that mess and we are still
paying for it.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Cold War
• 1) It cost the U.S. Taxpayer $8 trillion; Historian Walter
LaFeber suggests these numbers are real considering that the
Korean War and Vietnam Wars were both products of the Cold
War—as was Chad, the Sudan and Afghanistan for Russia.
• One also needs to consider interventions into Nicaragua, the
Dominican Republic, Cuba, Chile, Grenada, and elsewhere;
psychological warfare through covert CIA operations such as
the Congress for Cultural Freedom and Radio Free Europe;
and, of course, the research, development, testing, and
construction of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons (at a high
point in the late 1960s, both the U.S. and the USSR were each
spending $50 million a day on those weapons).
• For better perspective, America spends $8
billion per month in Iraq and Afghanistan—
the Cold War expenditures could have
financed Iraq for 80 yrs.
• 2) It was predicted by Adolph Hitler: Hitler in
the Hitler-Borman documents uncovered after
the war—stated that America and Russia
because of the colossal size and eventual might
would one day have to come to blows militarily
or ideological—He wanted Germany to be the
sole ally of one or the other—to the victor go
the spoils—whoever won.
• 3) First casualty was Christian Missionary—
John Morrison Birch (John Birch Society—
ultra-conservative); He was in China, came
upon some survivors of the James Doolittle
Raid on Tokyo—led them to safety.
• The OSS (front runner to CIA) recruited him
to assist the allies in China—after the War, he
went into deep Chinese territory was captured
by Chinese Maoists and was executed.
• Many claim the first causality of the “Cold
• 4) It ended in part because of Apple. The
hobbyist culture and the economic flexibility in
the U.S., both largely absent in the Soviet
Union and Soviet-bloc countries, encouraged
guys to take on industry giants like IBM. As a
result, the information age erupted, spreading
information that wasn’t spun by news outlets
or crafted by governments into propaganda,
but expressed by everyday citizens.
• A Czech engineer complained in the early
1980s, soon with all this information
technology available, our children will
eventually change us rather than we them …
• 5) U.S. at one point had a larger Communist alliance
than did Soviet Russia.
• Pres. Nixon recognized China and opened diplomatic
relations with China—creating a buffer between age
old suspicious and non-trusting border mates—Chin
and Russia had been in somewhat border hostility
since 1969.
• It is almost incomprehensible to imagine that world
diplomacy and foreign affairs were directly guided by
a concept as staggering as Mutually Assured
• Back to Potsdam, Harry
Truman had decided that
America would retain a large
physical and political
presence in War torn Europe
to off-set the gains by Stalin
and his armies setting up
bases on European soil.
• Immediately Truman offered
assistance to any European
nation resisting Soviet and
Communist influence and
intervention into their
borders—Turkey and Greece
in 1947.
• It was at this time that
mid-level administrator
at the Soviet Embassy
penned a famous paper
calling for the
“Containment” of
Everywhere it reared its
head, Democracy must
engage in
supportive with money,
supplies, political
maneuvering and the
military if necessary
• To try and counter-act
Communist aggression,
Truman initiated the
Truman Doctrine.
• It was an expenditure of
$500 million for the aid of
Turkey and Greece—to
quell any and all communist
• “It must be the policy of the
United States to support
peoples who are resisting or
are subjugated by
communist aggressors.”
• Now let us look at the Cold War and how it
affected American Society.
• The quick spread of Communist influence in
China, Europe and Korea forced the U.S. to
dramatically increase its DOD defense budget;
• This unwittingly created a huge Military
Industrial Complex of defense companies and
initiatives vying for large shares of the
American defense budget.
• In reality it was the Truman Doctrine that
truly initiated the philosophy and reality of
• “The US will defend free people and their free
institutions at any … point in the world …
[against] … communist aggression …”
• Kennan gave three (3) reason why
Communism should be contained:
1) Russia has a history of
hostility with its
neighbors; therefore, it
makes sense that they
will militarily or
economically subdue
them to create a buffer
zone against western
2) The US has a moral and
democratic obligation
to confront Soviet
aggression with force if
• 3) Moreover, the US
must maintain a long
term policy of
containment against
Soviet Aggression.
• Critics asked difficult
questions: When is a
revolution the selfdetermination of a free
people? When is it
Communist aggression
orchestrated by the
• What the ‘Cold War’ did do was increase the
‘implied powers clause’ of the constitution;
• To be able to react quickly to Soviet initiatives
around the World, the President needed much
greater military latitude and covert capability
to counteract Soviet aggression;
• This dangerous game of intrigue was too
sensitive to wait for Congress to make
decisions. Since the Truman Doctrine, America
has fought several large scale Wars without a
declaration from Congress.
• To put teeth and credibility into the Truman
Doctrine, the US initiated the Marshall Plan.
• The idea behind the Marshall Plan was to
rebuild Europe and Japan economically,
infrastructurally, and politically—if the US did
not, then Russia would—The US needed these
markets and these countries to be selfsustaining and part of a larger alliance to
countermand and contest Communist
aggression abroad—This was the Economic
Recovery Plan for 1947.
• John Marshall, an ex-General, now Truman’s
Secretary of State proposed this plan to rebuild
Europe and Japan—”If we restore the
confidence of the European Peoples, they will
be forever anti-Communist and Pro-America—
• It was a win-win situation, recovery for Europe
and prosperity for America—it also translated
in economic and political stability;
• The US spent $13 billion in Western Europe
and Germany—it is called “The German
• Germany quickly rebuilding,
Soviet response was to cut off
the transportation corridor
between Western Europe
and Berlin—Berlin is in the
middle of Soviet occupied
Eastern Europe; (Russia
claimed they were doing
extensive Road and Rail
• Forgot to cut-off the air
space—a massive year long
airlift campaign saved
Berlin—and proved to the
World that the US was the
true ‘Superpower.’ At peak
performance, every
• The blockade lasted 318 days
(11 months).
• In the winter of 1948–49
Berliners lived on dried
potatoes, powdered eggs and
cans of meat. They had 4
hours of electricity a day.
• 275,000 flights carried in 1½
million tons of supplies. A
plane landed every 3 mins.
• On 16 April 1949, 1400
flights brought in 13,000 tons
of supplies in one day –
Berlin only needed 6,000
tons a day to survive.
• Some pilots dropped
chocolate and sweets.
• The success of the Berlin Airlift proved to
Soviet Russia and the rest of the World, the
United States was not only a military power,but
an economic power as well.
• But, again, there is much paranoia in America
about the designs and machinations of
Communist Russia.
• Domestically, America began to scrutinize its
political and social conscience.
• Truman inadvertently gave rise to
a hard drinking maniacal “Witch
Hunter,” Joseph McCarthy—a
senator from Wisconsin.
• 1) The Truman Loyalty Oath—He
had the Justice department to
draw up a list of possible or
suspected subversives that were
employed in the Government—All
government employees had to sign
a loyalty oath—could be fired if
suspected of disloyal behavior—
Truman believed that of the three
bad political models Nazism,
Fascism—Communism was the
• He was always somewhat of a dubious
character; “Tail-gunner Joe”
• Feb 9, 1950 at the Republican Women’s
Club—Wheeling WV, he dropped a political
• He claimed to have in his possession a list of
205 communist sympathizers and infiltrators
in the State Department—the frenzy and witch
hunt went into full swing.
• No one was ever privy to the list—McCarthy
kept it well guarded.
• Republicans distanced themselves, but did like
the fact he was blasting a lot of liberals—
politically they were gaining influence.
• McCarthy even indicted Adlai Stevenson,
Democratic contender for President against
Eisenhower—he argued there must be
subversives at work, because we the great
powerful US was losing the Korean War.
• Because there was a conformity to the political status
quo of conservatism, even many Democrats were
conservative (Dixiecrats);
• (Bizarre,) Indiana made its wrestlers take a loyalty
oath before ‘rasslin’—the movie and play Robin Hood
was condemned because it was seen as socialist
propaganda; anti-capitalism was bad.
• Librarians were forced to pull certain books from the
shelves—the Cincinnati Reds renamed themselves the
Redlegs for a while—Russian Sable became “Dark
Supporters for McCarthy:
1) Republicans (at a distance);
2) Catholics (a Father Coughlin spin-off of antisemitism);
3) Conservative Protestants
4) Blue Collar Workers
• Joseph P. Kennedy secured a legal job for his son
Bobby Kennedy as an investigator for McCarthy.
Kennedy used the political dirt he gathered years later
in his anti-Mob endeavors.
• McCarthy eventually attacked his own party and
President Eisenhower—lost influence due to TV and
fell out of power—
• On a more congenial note, the 1950s were a time of
prosperity and affluence for many Americans.
• Describing the 1950s, we must make a concatenation
of the following:
• 1) The Cold War (very influential)
• 2) Rising Income and Affluence
• 3) Americans had grown tired of depression, rationing,
and war.
• 4) Younger Americans became very apolitical—more
in tune with living and experiencing the new consumer
market in America.
• 1950s very iconic:
• “The American Dream”
a house with white
picket fence in the
suburbs; Job with large
corporation, and a new
car; Leavitt Town etc.
• Cultural symbols included
Marilyn Monroe, Television,
baseball, and consumer
egalitarianism—”I Like Ike”
• Very prosperous time;
many people went to college
because of the GI Bill;
• There was suburban sprawl
all over America;
• Sun-belt cities, San Diego,
Atlanta, and Miami and
most especially Las Vegas
personified the growth and
prosperity of the 1950s;
• Babyboomers became the
target of marketing and
advertising, Disney Land
etc … Movies, PTAs and
the “Levittown.”
• Of all the great cultural
symbols and cultural
icons, nothing says the
1950s as well as:
• 1) The Automobile;
• 2) Television
• Subsidiaries of these two
mediums for
transportation and
and the Interstate
Highway System
• Television was a great
• It gave citizens a personal
link to politicians, news,
weather, entertainment, and
was a way to keep abreast of
the Cold War situation.
• It also gave us sit-coms, a
time for the family to sit
together and have a laugh,
while forgetting the
tenuousness of the moment.
• In an era of affluence,
there is always the fear
of communism.
• The Korean War is a
great example—Vietnam
(later on this).
• Sec of State Dean
Acheson made a speech
outlining America’s
containment of
communist expansion—
He made no mention of
• Because Truman and the Democrats looked
weak on China, in fact had lost China (not
really); He determined that Korea would be the
line in the sand to confront communist
• Truman and the Democrats said look what
happened in Europe with appeasement—we
need to stop it there, fight it there, or we will
have to stop it here, and fight here in the cities
of America. The U.S. received a resolution
from the U.N. and sent troops to Korea.
• Early North Korea overran the South Korean
forces and drove all the way to the tip of the
Southeastern peninsula or what became known
as the famous “Pusan Perimeter.”
• The American Army fought desperately and
hung on until reinforcements could arrive.
• Gen MacArthur planned a daring and
treacherous landing at Inchon west of Seoul—
Luckily it was successful, it trapped the North
Koreans and they had to make a hasty retreat.
• Gen. MacArthur quickly
went on the offensive.
• It drove the North Koreans
beyond the 38th Parallel and
back into China and beyond
the Yalu River, into Chinese
• Mao afraid that MacArthur
would use this as a pretense
to widen the War and invade
China sent hordes of Chinese
suicide troops at the
Americans—The Chosin
Reservoir. Drove the
Americans back to the 38tth
• Gen. MacArthur did order a
widening of the conflict and
sent Jet aircraft into China
to bomb munitions and
supply depots.
• MacArthur told Truman
and Congress the only way
to fight a war “was to
pursue it to total victory.”
• Pres. Truman and JCS
feared a greater escalation
leading to ultimate disaster.
• Ordered MacArthur to
desist when MacArthur
defied Pres. Truman,
Truman dismissed him
• Pres. Truman was savvy
enough to realize that
regardless of his
popularity,he was a
dangerous influence to
the War Effort—or
Police Action as Truman
called it.
• Truman said, “total war
against China would be
the wrong war at the
wrong place at the
wrong time with the
wrong enemy …”
• After receiving word that the War would not
be widened by Truman, MacArthur sent a
letter to Congress and the Public stating “there
was no substitute for victory.”
• “Once war is forced upon us, there is no
alternative …[but] … to bring it to a swift and
successful end … why surrender military
advantages to the enemy … I could not answer
them …”
• “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”
• Gen. Dwight D.
Eisenhower was elected
President in 1952.
• Pres. Eisenhower was
able to secure an
armistice, a truce, an
uneasy truce, that still
prevails today.
• The action was never
ended, only a temporary
• 1950s a time of affluence and Global
Superpower. It was the ‘Fabulous 50s.’
• Confidence and greatness was growing in spite
of ‘Sputnik.”
• Yet, the paranoia paved a road into many small
contained actions and several rather large
contained actions—Mainly the Vietnam War
and the Civil Rights Battles of the 50s and 60s.
(which in turn lead to other more open social and political and
even religious movements).
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