Skip to main content

tv   Lectures in History U.S. Containment Strategy After World War II  CSPAN  March 14, 2021 12:00am-12:51am EST

12:00 am
exploring our nation's past. announcer: on lectures in history. professor william hitchcock teaches a class about the dawn of the cold war and the immediate after ward -- aftermath of world war ii. during this period, the u.s. under president harry truman implemented a strategy called containment, designed to check soviet expansion and influence around the globe. the strategy remained one of the dominant aspects of u.s. foreign policy for more than four decades until the collapse of the soviet union in 1991.
12:01 am
professor hitchcock: we have a lot to cover today. this is a very substantial lecture. it is not the first time you have heard some of this, but it is not the last time. i have to cover a lot of ground. the topic we are dealing with today is the american strategy for consolidating their foreign policy with respect to the soviet union and that critical period 1946-1949 or 1950. if you need a title, we are dealing with the consolidation of control. the implementation of a policy that will increasingly be termed containment. that vent of the policy of containment in this critical three to four year. is what we have to deal with today. you remember we left off last time talking about the's dam conference of july 1945. what did the great powers agreed to their? your member the basics. the great powers agreed that
12:02 am
they will all have a zone of occupation, but would work cooperatively to govern germany as a single unit. remember that. there are four zones of occupation in germany, and those four states are going to work cooperatively to keep germany not partitioned, but together as a single political unit. do you see any tensions there? any pitfalls? of course, a very difficult task. they would work together to dismantle german military power, they agreed. they would break up the large industrial cartels, they would denounce if i german society, reeducate german citizens, and they would do this on the basis of shared governance. those were the principles of potsdam. we see there are very serious difficulties right from the
12:03 am
start. in the records, by early 1946 the american military officials that occupied germany are writing back to washington, very frustrated, complaining about the behavior of the soviet union and soviet representatives in germany. the russians, it appeared were not going to treat germany as a single nation and work cooperatively with the western states. in the eyes of these american administrators, they seemed to be acting unilaterally in germany. especially in the area of reparations and dismantling of german economic assets. the americans saw the russian behavior as predatory. i think that is a good word to describe the attitude, or at least await the americans saw russia, predatory, chip -- dealing with germany as if it was conquer territory.
12:04 am
the soviets, they felt were clearly going to occupy germany only in their own national interests, not in the cooperative interests of the four occupy powers. that was an american perception. was it the reality? this is the great question, but that was the perception. it was not just in germany that trouble was brewing. germany was the main focus of these tensions early on, but it was not just their. officials believe they cite a pattern emerging elsewhere. they felt that there was soviet machinations in austria, where there were also job -- joint occupying forces. they felt as if the americans looked at the map and yugoslavia, romania, poland, that the russians were beating up local communist party activists and making life very difficult for non-communist political activity to occur, that they were supposed to have
12:05 am
done. in greece, a civil war had broken out that pitted communist against loyalists, and washington felt that surely the soviets were helping the communists there. in the near east, in turkey and iran, there was tension and trouble. the soviets seems to be seeking greater influence in that part of the world, and in the eastern mediterranean, where the soviets would seek to fill what they saw as a power vacuum. what were the russians up to? what were they doing? was there a plan? but there a blueprint? -- was there a blueprint? it dependent, in 1946 on who you asked. it was george cannon's long telegram, which you have been reading and will continually
12:06 am
read and reread as you write essays on. it seemed to offer an expiration. -- an explanation, at a time or american policy was looking for a next the nation. -- an excellent nation. -- an explanation. it was at a timer american official policy was to cooperate with the soviets. the telegram made the argument that the soviet union was fundamentally not a normal state. with normal ambitions. that it was abnormal. he said soviet leaders were driven, and i love this phrase, a neurotic view of world affairs. a very powerful characterization. soviet leaders he said were paranoid, they feared contact with the outside world, feared
12:07 am
foreign influence, and they consider the outside word -- world people, hostile, and menacing. that is pretty powerful stuff. people. soviet leaders he said, conducted their work in an atmosphere of oriental secretiveness and conspiracy. say what you will about his analysis, many people thought it was overblown, was an extraordinarily gifted writer. one of the reasons of the success it is powerfully argued and articulated. even so he said, although they are anxious and worried and hate the outside world, and i think everyone else's people, they are going to go on the offensive. they are not going to withdraw behind a screen, a curtain and just restrain themselves. they are going to see to address their security needs by
12:08 am
strengthening their power, and the reach of the soviet union. how would they do this? they would be opportunistic. they were going to look for points of weakness in the american and western configuration of power. they were going to look for the right fruit, that was hanging, that might just fall into the laps. pick off the weaklings of the pack. they would use secret organizations and political fronts inside foreign countries to undermine political legitimacy and elected governments. there were going to exploit anti-colonial sentiment and the empires with britain and france around the world. above all, they were going to impose an on target, economic close system over the territory that they controlled. a closed economic system.
12:09 am
this is a very important fear in the minds of american leaders. if soviet control should expand, they were close off the territory to the interpenetration of free-trade, exchange of goods and people and ideas across those boundaries. the soviets wanted a closed system. that would deny the west access to resources and to people. in general, canon to claire, -- he declared, all soviet efforts on the unofficial international plane will be negative and destructive. this is only in-line, he says, with the basic soviet instinct that there may be no compromise with rival power, and that work and only start when, is dominant. in summary, and here's the payoff. he concludes, we have here a political force committed fanatically to the belief that with the u.s. there can be no
12:10 am
permanent -- and soviet leadership will be content only when our traditional way of life is destroyed. it is very stark, very black and white. we have debated and will continue to debate whether his analysis was accurate. maybe he was wrong. many scholars suggested he overstated the case, or that he was read incorrectly. that is what. he would later claim wasn't far too harsh a critique? we will continue to discuss that in the next few weeks. the point is, because of the difficulties i have described, american leaders wanted the analysis to be accurate. they believe that, they accepted it, they felt that a crystallized the international geopolitical situation very well, and that it explained soviet behavior.
12:11 am
that is the critical point. american leaders, truman and his senior cabinet members, felt that this way of thinking made sense. that it squared up with what they were seeing elsewhere in germany, europe and the rest of the world. the big question then, is what do we do about it? if we happy analysis of what the soviets -- if we happy analysis of what the soviets are doing, how should we meet this challenge. if the soviets are expansionists and aggressive, what policies can be seized upon to meet that challenge? how can the u.s. push back? without pushing so hard that it might lead to an outright conflict or war. the telegram was not very helpful in that regard. you guys have to analyze what policy recommendations does he make?
12:12 am
later on, about a year later he would publish an essay called the sources of soviet conduct in which he published anonymously in a magazine called foreign affairs. thereto, he was not particular details about what american policy should do, but what he says his cloak, the main element of any policy towards the soviet union must be that of a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of russian expansive tendencies. there is your answer. containment. that is what america should pursue. it sounds great, but what did containment mean? what did it require? how should american policymakers proceed? that was the great task of u.s. policy in this period from 1946 to 1949, 1950. figuring out an answer to that question. how to transfer -- translate it into practical policy.
12:13 am
it is tempting to think that truman said ok, get me containment online one. get me the envelope marked containment and let's see what in it. that they could just turn on the switch and they would have the policy. no, there was not a plan, not a blueprint. they cannot just open the door and say let's put this into operation. in this critical period, american policymakers have to improvise. they have to make it up as they went. they had some general ideas, but generally speaking they had to work it out as they went. i think that is a critical point. as we think back to the early cold war, there must have been a coherence of that policy early on. but there wasn't. it was remarkably piecemeal and
12:14 am
pasted together in reaction to very specific crisis is an problems. what is amazing, and as i do not think it is too extreme, is how successful and enduring that strategy was even though it emerged in a somewhat improvisational manner. dean acheson, one of the key architects of the policy, titled his memoirs, " present at the creation". one of the best memoir titles of all time. we all know what the creation was, but he was talking about the creation of an american grand strategy for victory in the cold war. it was created in this period, but into practice and sustained for almost 50 years. so he can look back with some pride that he was present at the creation of this grand strategy. what was the grand strategy? what did it look like in practice? there is three areas i want to
12:15 am
suggest that this new u.s. strategy for waging the cold war can be seen emerging as americans began to feel towards the policy of containment. taken together, they formed the policy. as i get into the details, think to yourself, with united states -- was the united states making the cold war worse? does the united states, must we as historians, essentially assign a certain amount of responsibility to the united states for generating greater cold war tensions? is it possible the united states did in fact intensify and make worse the cold war? make it impossible to pursue a peaceful strategy of accommodation and cooperation that roosevelt had hoped for. are these the policies that made the cold war last so long? just be critical in your
12:16 am
thinking as we are going along through what appeared to be very successful policy initiatives. think, what were the alternatives? the avenues that were missed. the first arena, i will talk about three, three areas. the first arena in which this shift away from russia, we have to go back to germany. that is the focus of our first area. we look at u.s., german policy in 1946, 1947, the united states through -- threw potsdam out the window. there was a distinctive shift in u.s. behavior in this period, and beget see it play out in a number of areas. what are some examples? away from the cooperative language of potsdam to what amounts to a u.s. focused strategy for making germany a
12:17 am
pro-western state double eventually emerge as the state of west germany. one example of this growing minions -- growing minions concerns denazifiatino. they were going to punish those who waged aggressive war in europe. the occupying powers did set up the international military tribunal at nuremberg, and tried 22 nazi generals and ministers in late 1945. what about the millions of nazi party adherents in germany during the war? what should become of them? what about the talented administrators, the bureaucrats, the technicians, the elites. those who supported the third reich but were essential to making occupied germany function, getting the lights turned on.
12:18 am
what about that? with a all to be pushed out of their jobs? set aside while occupied germany slipped into chaos? the answer that the united states gave in 1946 was now. we're are not going to do that. and u.s. policy thought to limit the scope of denazification. they granted amnesty to millions of people who were former party members, and handed over responsibility to the germans themselves. they said this is too complicated, too much work. why don't germans handle this problem by themselves. how effective do you think that was? rather ineffective. why did they do this? was this a signed united states suddenly had become sympathetic to the objectives of the third reich? of course not, nothing to do with that. it was a question of moving forward rapidly to create economic and political stability inside occupied germany. denazification was going to get
12:19 am
in the way of that plan. another example of the shift. at potsdam they talked about breaking up industrial cartels. they had agreed to break up these big economic concerns, but by 1946 united states began to ratchet back the pace de-cartelization. why did i do that? they went to limit growth. they want to choose between a policy of punishment and control, and a forward-looking policy that is more in line with what canada is talking about, we have to get germany back up on its feet, the front we build our containment policy.
12:20 am
on the political front, u.s. authorities allow german political parties to begin to form and hold elections in january, 1946. those local elections but christian democrats, a center political party, favorable to american interests into local positions of power and influence. americans, again, i moving a little bit forward to create self-sustaining political institutions inside their zone, not focusing on the cooperative policy of pots ind may, 19a 46,m. the general decides it is time to stop letting the russians have reparations, at least from the western part of germany. he stops the delivery of reparations from the western zones into russian hands, inmate 46 -- may of 1946.
12:21 am
this is a major poke in the eye of russians. this is a think they feel they have earned, and now you are stopping is earning access. he said look, it is not consistent with our policy, trying to create some side of order in germany. we can't be ripping out its cuts while we are trying to rebuild, it doesn't make sense. think of how early it is. may, 1946. the united states one year earlier was physically destroying all of germany. we see that u.s. policy by the middle of 1946 had shifted in germany. it shifted decisively from a policy apart piece, and control, to a policy that is more constructive, consistent with american economic interests. the united states by this time has early on rejected a policy of what amounts to servitude of germany, servitude of defeated germany. maybe this was a wise choice.
12:22 am
indeed, judgment of history is probably this was a wise choice. this was not what was agreed to, and opened up the soviets to criticize. they are saying you are the bad guys, we are going to take action. americans felt it was the opposite. we are reacting to soviet behavior. it is a chicken and a question to a large extent. the point is i want to focus on, americans have made their choice. they will move ahead with restoring order in germany regardless of the political consequences, that is a decisive turning point, and it comes very early on in the story of the cold war. any questions so far? we have gone through some of these questions. are we good on occupied germany? ok. the second key building block of
12:23 am
american control, and the building of the policy of containment, concerns what? the restoration of the european economy. moving the focus out a little bit. focusing on europe as a whole. i want to stress again, i feel this is important. this sounds as if there was a coherent plan, but in reality we are dealing with a somewhat reactive set of policies, driven by growing distrust of the soviet union, but there is an improvisational quality to american policy. a good example of this impulsive quality to american policy comes in the spring of 1947. what happens in the spring of 1947? critical moment when the british government announces that because of its own economic problems, its own financial
12:24 am
difficulties, it can no longer provide political military and economic aid to two states that are very important to politically. -- geopolitically. where britain has had traditionally some interest and role. those two states are turkey and greece. in the spring of 1947, the british say we are to grow, we can continue to bankroll our client states and our partners, greece and turkey, we do not have the money. we have to stop our aid to the states. what is the united states to do? if the british withdraw aid from these two states, this might be, they fear an invitation to soviet machinations. in this atmosphere of growing tension and distress in germany, and iran europe, president truman decides the united states is going to assume the burden that britain has laid down. the united states is going to
12:25 am
pick it up. it is a decisive moment. fred's power is shrinking in europe and in the mediterranean, united states power is expanding. in this moment, the united states says we are going to pay the bill. we are going to help provide aid to greece and turkey in their time of difficulty. of course, treatment needs what in order to make this happen? and has to go to united states congress. i have panicked at the congress to pass this appropriation. what the sea-doo? goes to congress in march of 1947, asked the congress approved $400 billion of aid in these -- for greece and turkey. it is not the air that matters. it is not the dollar value. it is the justification that truman settled on when asking for this aid. he goes to congress and gives an astonishing speech. i have sent you the text of it, you should read it very carefully. he decides he's going to
12:26 am
organize american foreign policy around a very stark, black-and-white view of foreign affairs in that speech. here's what he says. we have to pay some attention to the language, that document carefully. this is truman in front of a joint session of u.s. congress. " at the present moment in world history, nearly every nation must choose before alternative ways of life. the choice is too often not a free one. one way of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression. the second way of life is based upon the will of a minority, forcibly imposed upon the majority. it relies upon terror and oppression, a control of press and radio, thick selections and
12:27 am
the suppression of personal freedoms. i believe that it must be the policy of the united states to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. " truman is doing something that, who would have recognized early in this class? this is a classic move. he is doing something woodrow wilson would have recognized. he took a specific issue of u.s. foreign policy and he globalized it. he maximized it. he put it into historical and ideological contexts. the age is not important, it was the larger stakes p wanted to -- he wanted to raise. he concludes his speech with language that i think reveals a very important argument that truman wants to make. it tells us something about how he feels about the international
12:28 am
system. what he says in this final paragraph, you have to text. " the seeds of totalitarian regimes are nurtured by misery and want. they spread and grow and the evil soil of poverty and strife. they reach their full growth when the hope of a people for a better life has died. we must keep the hope alive. the free peoples of the world look to us for support for maintaining their freems. if we falter in our leadership, we may endanger the peace of the world. and we shall surely endanger the welfare of our own nation. never has $400 million seem so important. we shall surely endanger the welfare of our own nation if we don't write this check to greece and turkey. powerful stuff. classic way of maximizing the
12:29 am
argument for a specific policy interest. this document becomes known as the truman doctrine. the argument revealed a keep it at the end. the totalitarian regimes rise when there is misery and want. the united states must stop it. we must address the larger issue of restoring europe's economic activity, because if we can do that, we can. lyrical chaos in the seeds of totalitarian regimes. well, the trouble is, the picture does not a very encouraging as truman is giving the speech. it does not look encouraging out all. the advanced economies of western europe are in stagnation mode. they have frozen up, not doing particular well. there is terrific shortages of basic foodstuffs, economic goods, clothing, food, fuel, etc.
12:30 am
worse, too big important states france and italy have very large communist parties, and those commonest parties have been freely elected. anywhere between 25% and 35% and dot boxes are going to communist parties. this is not encouraging if you are harry truman. those communist parties are very active and activist. they are fermenting strife, public disorder, protest, etc. economic crisis, plus the growth of political communist parties in france and italy make the picture look very bad, indeed. the u.s. cold war strategy has to attack these sources of instability. how do they do that? the argument is that the global economy has to be restarted, and economic activity in europe is the key to long-term, enduring success. that is the direction in which truman's cabinet is beginning to move.
12:31 am
the occasional check being written to greece and turkey is not going to do it. the piecemeal approach, give a little money here, give a little money here, not good enough. there has got to be a bigger, bolder plan. the united states needs a plan for economic recovery. it's in that context, the tensions in germany, greece and turkey issue, context of growing economic chaos, that the u.s. secretary of state george marshall goes to the university of virginia -- sorry -- to harvard university to give a commencement speech in june, 1947. should have come here. he goes to however, gives a speech, not a particular breathtaking speech, quite short in fact. he says, we have to restart the european economy, and it is time now to break the vicious circle. we can't deal with individual states by themselves. europe as a whole has got to be
12:32 am
dealt with regionally. marshall has an interesting take on what needs to be done in europe. he said the united states will aid europe and getting its economy back on track, but the europeans have to act first. they have to show they are willing to step up. they have to concert together to put together a plan for continental wide recovery. that, the united states will come in and help underwrite support. marshall assange, i will not mr. president of the congress to simply write out individual lump sums to states. no, europe has got to come together to start talking about its own future. if it does that, the united states will be there and support you with economic aid. this is the beginning of the european recovery program, which we call the marshall plan. it starts in june, 1947 in his harvard speech. it is just an idea at that point. but by april of 1948 it becomes a real policy for european economic coverage. economically, it works very
12:33 am
simply. here's how it works. the representatives of european states come together, meet in july of 1947. they put together a detailed analysis of the economic needs, particular import needs. many european states had used up their dollar reserves. they did not have enough dollars to go out on the road market to purchase imports that they desperately needed for recovery. could buy fertilizer or cement, steel and wheat. they had used up so much of their dollar reserves during the second world war. the marshall plan creates a fund to provide europeans to cover what is called the dollar gap. they're going to cover the dollar gap. they're going to provide them with dollars they need to purchase these vital imports. so far, very simple. but the great thing about the marshall plan is that there is a ripple effect. because once the european states, through official channels have purchase these goods using marshall plan dollars, they then turn around
12:34 am
and take all of these products and sell them at home, on the local market. they sell them to industrial sectors of the economy, to manufacturers and so on. they take that money that they earned from selling those imports, and they can reinvest those local currency dollars into rebuilding of roads, telegraphs, railways, ports, into infrastructure that is needed. there is a multiplier effect inside the marshall plan that is remarkably clever. it is not just a big envelope of money. it is the beginning of a system, of restarting a system that is self-sustaining. in that sense it is in investment program and it has a ripple or multiplier effect. that is the genius of the marshall plan. the marshall plan as a milestone, not only in the economic recovery of europe, it is also a milestone in the cold war origins.
12:35 am
and it is here asian of the u.s./soviet relations. let me ask a question. why would the marshall plan, such a benevolent thing, so positive, why would the marshall plan be seen as controversial or provocative in any way? what is it about marshall aid that might have been seen as, just a little bit not so benevolent? who might have reacted negatively to the united states using its economic power to restart the european economy? you want to take a try? going to mumble a one-word answer? the soviet union. why? go ahead. >> they wanted the capitalist
12:36 am
economies to fail so that revolution could happen in countries could turn to communism. professor hitchcock: it doesn't suit their long-term objectives. but that is not but there were going to say publicly. they are not going to say this interferes with our plan of global revolution. what is their argument about what the u.s. is trying to do? >> it looks imperialistic. professor hitchcock: exactly. if the united states is using economic muscle to do what they say they would never do, to expand their sphere of influence and control. the u.s. is doing just what we said they would do, they're trying to take over western europe. >> i was just going to say that they see it as the united states meddling in their sphere of influence that they earned, with their soldiers killed. professor hitchcock: that's a great question. does the marshall plan reach into eastern europe? does it metal and the soviet
12:37 am
sphere of influence? does it? exactly. remember the speech. everyone is invited. everybody is invited. it's a policy against no individual state, has no ideological objectives. the open invitation is indeed to the eastern european states. what do they do? >> they rsvped for. and then stalin basically force their hand. professor hitchcock: there is an initial interest. some are very tempted by this. this obvious sake no. don says sorry, you can't do it. he is afraid it's is going to be an economic -- the beginnings of economic imperial control.
12:38 am
. \ it's a wonderful counter active to consider. what if the soviet union itself joined in the marshall plan? when you want to have play that hand? we are going to paris. here is what we need. it would have potentially brought the marshall plan process to a complete halt. one of the best thing that ever happened to the marshall plan was stalin denied the opportunity for eastern european states to participate, because suddenly the u.s. had a region of advanced economies that he could work with, the marshall plan became an enormous success. have a soviets participated it surely would have slowed it down. it was a strategic miscalculation, historians would agree on stalin's part. the marshall plan was our second
12:39 am
second sign of a consolidation policy of containment. using economic influence and ideas to restart the european economy. the last one, the third area that cements the fate of the united states and western europe together, is of course, the formation of not an economic cooperative community, but a military alliance. the third building block. the military alliance, a formal mutual defense treaty between united states, canada, and 10 western european states. this formal military alliance is to be called the nato, tornado. -- still exist today. it was founded in april of 1949. it marks a remarkable departure from american traditions. dear that if dates is not -- the united states is not supposed to get involved in entangling alliances. this is a big change for the
12:40 am
united states. the congress is supposed to be the one to declare war. we should not be involved in fix alliances. it marks a divisive -- decisive change. what accounts for this? the answer is tied to the first two areas. it's precisely because of american policy changes in germany, as well as the advent of the marshall plan, that the soviet union decides, enough is enough, we are going to push back. we are going to push back against this imperialistic u.s. policy. >> did european countries conspire after they got the money from the marshall plan? professor hitchcock: excellent question. did the europeans feel compelled to join the military organization. >> they wanted assurances that they would not get rolled over by new germany. professor hitchcock: what is
12:41 am
going on in this moment? who is caught in the middle? the week -- weak, unprepared europeans. they can see the beginnings of increased tensions between the united states and soviet union. they also worry about the possibility of renewed german power. european states are getting a little anxious. at least for those leaders and western europe, the prospect of working with united states to create an enduring military alliance is a very positive idea. indeed, it is they who begin to start talking about inviting the united states to participate in the alliance. one of the decisive clenching events that makes the europeans so terrified, that they can see things are not going to be comfortable in your in the near future -- in europe in the near future, the beginnings of the berlin blockade.
12:42 am
it helps to pick up the settlement towards the nato agreement. you all remember that the german capital of berlin, remember where it is located. it is incredibly important to remember that berlin is not itself on the water -- on the border, but deep inside the soviets on. the german capital of berlin is inside the soviet zone. the four powers had shared rights to be in berlin, and they all had a presence there. but, since berlin received inside the soviet zone, you had to cross soviet held territory to get there. fly over territory, right on rails and roads in soviet held east germany. u.s. actions in the early summer appear very provocative to the russians. they push ahead, the americans are pushing ahead much too quickly for russian comfort.
12:43 am
in june 1948, the soviet union decides to close off access to berlin. closing off access meaning, closing off road and rail access into the city. the western 11 -- western berliners are suddenly captive. 2.5 million berliners now cut off from their patrons in the west. it is as if the russians are saying, you want to have a marshall plan, fine, we're going to have for land. if we have learned anything, it's berlin. just you watch us. watch how we do it. how easy it is going to be for us. we're just going to shut the door. a major problem has been thrown down to american authorities, and it turns out to have been a colossal mistake by stalin. why? the united states uses this as a
12:44 am
terrific propaganda opportunity, and a humanitarian opportunity. the united states and britain undertake the creation of an air bridge, through an air convoy of c4 seven, dakota airplanes, and they fly into western berlin. and they delivered through an air convoy system, they get developed over the course of a year, thousands and thousands of tons of aid. coal, oil, gasoline, wheat, potatoes, clothing. everything that is required to make 2.5 million berliners survive. if a propaganda coup over norma's proportion. it shows american commitment to the fate of germany and west berliners. in this environment, the soviets ratcheting up the tension, is it any wonder that europeans say, we really need a military organization that can cements american commitment to europe.
12:45 am
indeed, it is not the united states that creates and conceives of this idea, the principal author is our -- the british foreign minister, who says now is the time that we must move ahead decisively to create the institution of nato, to bring the united states permit lane to europe. -- permanent lay into your. -- permanently into europe. that becomes a reality with the birth of nato. we have five minutes left, and i will move to the last few points here. i have stressed that in three areas, u.s. policy shifted decisively in 1946 to 1950. you had german policy, the advent of the marshall plan, and the formation of nato. i have suggested that although this looks like a coherent
12:46 am
policy at the end of this period, at the beginning nobody knew exactly how they were going to create the policy of containment. the strategy emerges in a somewhat improvisational manner. that said, there were key ideas. guiding american choices. one of those ideas was the u.s. policy insisted on maintaining an open global economy. that was one of the main concerns about soviet behavior. second was, u.s. policymakers believed a free market was the key to political and social stability. a free market is vital to the success of its own interests and the interests of western states. there, that american leaders were increasingly willing to push for these aims, even if it meant confrontation with soviet russia. they accepted as challenge. it seems clear to me. this is the interpretive conclusion i would suggest.
12:47 am
it seems clear to me that the united states did indeed intensify the cold war, and indeed, by 1947 the united states have essentially embraced the cold war as a way of organizing the international system. but, and this is a critical concluding point. united states did not pursue this policy alone. millions of europeans welcomes the continuing american commitment and presence in postwar europe. this is not a small matter. for if the u.s., as critics then and later have said was actually creating an empire, a form of empire of imperial control, it was an empire in which the weaker states welcome to the u.s. role and dominance. one scholar has given us the
12:48 am
term empire by invitation. it seems paradoxical, but it is quite a useful way of imagining the new relationship that is being worked out. the invitation of american power into europe. if it is an empire, it is one that is cooperative and collaborative between western states and the united states. it is true, obviously the u.s. settles on a policy that is a sharp departure from the cooperative approach that roosevelt had hoped for. it is true, i think, the u.s. bears responsibility for worsening cold war relations. worsening tensions. and, for making a peaceful resolution of u.s., soviet differences probably if unlikely impossible. but, they did it in collaboration and cooperation with thousands of allies on the european continent, and millions of europeans thought that this was a forward-looking, reasonable solution that they could support, and indeed that they could welcome. these are policy choices that are undertaken with cooperation.
12:49 am
europeans are very well aware of what is going on in eastern europe at the same time. they understand there is an alternative form of imperial control that is not just a theoretical idea out there, but a real possibility that he could be transplanted into europe. that is what is happening in the east. the repression and something out of independent political activity, economic stagnation, intense police surveillance, and subservience to moscow. that is what those in the western portion of europe can see as happening in the east. they understand that there are choices to be make in the early cold war, and they throw in their lot with the united states, and do so under duress, but freely. i think this is the critical point, when we talk about america pushing the cold war agenda, it is not as if the united states and soviet union behave the same way. i think it is safe to say they behave very differently, and in
12:50 am
our lecture on wednesday, we are going to talk about precisely what it is the soviets are doing in their sphere of influence, and how dramatically it differs from the way the united states is setting up its sphere in the west. ok. good. see you next time. thanks. announcer: you can watch lectures in history every weekend on american history tv. we take you inside college classrooms to learn about topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. that's saturday at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern on c-span3. announcer: from 1929 until his retirement in 1954, george alexander graham created more than 30,000 photographs of national parks. he took this photo in utah in 1929. up next, the co-authors of the
12:51 am
book landscapes for the people, george alexander grant, first chief photographer of the national park service, show example of his work and discuss his story with the park services historian. the national archives hosted the 2016 event and provided a video. tom: my name is tom, i am a public producer here. it is my pleasure to welcome all of you here, and welcome those of who are watching us on the national archives you to channel. today, our series of author lectures and book signings continues with landscapes for the people, george alexander grant, first chief photographer for the park service. with our special guest today. today's lecture is one of several programs we will present in the coming months to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the national park service. the story is well represented i

14 Views

1 Favorite

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on