Chapter 37: The Cold War Begins 1945-1952

Postwar Economic Anxieties:
  • 1946 and 1947, economy slumped, GNP lowerd, prices inflated -> strikes!!!
  • 1947, Republican Congress passed Taft-Hartley Act: outlawed "closed shop," made unions liable for damages from disputes, and made them take non-communist oath. Slowed organized labor unions.
  • CIO - "operation Dixie" - to unionize the South -failed b/c fears of racial mixing, people too spread out. Labor's peak in 1950s, then decline.
  • Government sold war factories to private companies for cheap. 1946 Employment Act - maximum employment, production, purchasing power.
  • Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (GI Bill) - sent former soldiers to technical schools or colleges - $14.5 billion tax-dollars. Enabled Veteran's Administration $16 billion in loans for veterans to buy homes, farms, and small businesses.

The Long Economic Boom, 1950-1970:

  • 1950 - Plateau of prosperity. 6% of world's people (Americans) enjoyed 40% of world's wealth.
  • Middle class = $3,000-$10,000/year. 60% of Americans were considered middle class. Owned homes, cars, washing machines, TVs.
  • New jobs (esp. service) went to women. 25%of work force. Culture still glorified feminine role of traditional homemaker and mother.

The Roots of Postwar Prosperity:

  • War => America on top. Military budgets
  • Research and development
  • Cheap energy: oil from Middle East, gas, coal, hydroelectric
  • productivity (output/hour) increased. (result of more people being educated)
  • Agriculture achieved extreme productivity gains, consolidation of agribusiness, use of costly machinery.

The Smiling Sunbelt:

  • After the war, people were on the move
  • 1945 - Dr. Benjamin Spock - The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care
  • "Sunbelt" (15 states from VA to CA) - population increased twise as fast as in the NE.
  • Better climate, lower taxes, jobs: electronics, aerospace, military installations
  • Area recieved most money from federal government
  • Population increase -> more congressional representation and influence: believed in unbridled individualism and unregulated economy

The Rush to the Suburbs:

  • Whites fled from cities to suburbs (motivated by FHA and VA home-loans AND tax deductions for interest payments on mortgages. highways for commuters)
  • Construction industry boomed "Levittowns"
  • Cities left black, brown, and broke (blacks from the South moved to the city)
  • FHA often refused loans to blacks or any other race
  • Only built houses for blacks in already black neighborhoods => segregation.

The Postwar Baby Boom:

  • After the war: marriage -> babies!!! 1945-1964 baby boom years (peaked in 1957). Added 50 million babies to population. Following this boom was a birth dearth.
  • Elementary school enrollments boomed, then busted.
  • Industry booms followed the baby boomers at different age groups.
  • What's gonna happen when it's time for baby boomers to collect Social Security? Yikes.

Truman: The "Gutty" Man from Missouri:

  • "The average man's average man," no college education, farmer then WWI veteran
  • He could tell people off
  • Loyal to "Missouri gang," even through corruption (much like Grant or Harding)

Yalta: Bargain or Betrayal?

  • Feb. 1945, Stalin, FDR, and Churchill met at Yalta (along Black Sea)
  • Stalin agreed Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania should have representative gov. w/ free elections
  • Big Three announced plans for international peacekeeping organization - the United Nations
  • FDR wanted Stalin to enter war w/ Japan, Stalin agreed when FDR offered S Sakhalin Island (Japan), Kurile Islands (Japan), Manchurian railroads, ports Dairen and Port Arthur (China)
  • Critics said FDR sold out Chiang Kai-Shek and contributed to Communist overthrow 4 years later
  • Apologists said FDR was setting limits to Stalin
  • Yalta wasn't drafting peace settlement, just sketching intentions to test limits of others.

The United States and the Soviet Union:

  • Mutual suspician. Communism vs. Capitalism
  • US terminated lend-lease to USSR in 1945 and refused plea for $6 billion reconstruction loan (when they gave Britain one)
  • Americans were agains tthe Soviet sphere of influence in Europe; they favored "open world" - decolonized, demilitarized, deomcratized, w/ international organization for peace
  • Both nations evangelical about their opposing doctrines
  • => Cold War(45 years long)

Shaping the Postwar World:

  • Meeting at Bretton Woods, New Hamshire 1944 - Western Allies (Soviets refused) established International Monetary Fund (IMF) - encourage world trade by regulating currency exchnage rates. Also founded International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) - promote economic growth in war-torn areas. (US took the lead in both of these)
  • San Francisco 1945 - UN Conference (50 nations) -> UN Charter: Security Council (Big Five: US, Britain, USSR, France, China) and Assembly (smaller countries). Approved by Senate.
  • UN (in NYC) helped preserve peace in Iran and Kashmir, big role in creating Israel. UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization), WHO (World Health Organization).
  • 1946 US delegate (Bernard Baruch) called for worldwide authority over atomic energy, weapons, reserach. USSR proposed nuclear weapons outlawed everywhere. Couldn't agree, so they popped, locked, and dropped it.

The Problem of Germany:

  • Allies joined in trying big 22 Nazis in Nuremberg, Germany for crimes against humanity (1945-1946), then went after smaller Nazis.
  • USSR wanted huge reparations from Germany.
  • Germany was divided into 4 zones (US, Britain, France, USSR). Germany was divided by east and west because of Soviets.
  • Berlin (on Soviet side) occupied by big 4, USSR tried to choke off Berlin (1948), but US delivered supplies by air.
  • USSR llifted blockade in 1949 - governments of East Germany and West Germany formally established (they would remain divided until 1990).

Crystallizing the Cold War (THIS SECTION IS INTENSE):

  • 1946, Stalin broke agreement to remove troops from oily Iran. USSR's polivies in Germany, E Europe, Middle East were getting Americans mad.
  • 1947 - George F. Kennan - "containment doctrine"
  • 1947 - Britain had been defending Greece to save the whole Mediterranean from Commies, Britan wearing thin.
  • March 1947 - Truman asked Congress for $400 million to defend Greece and Turkey (part of Truman Doctrine). Congress approved.
  • Truman Doctrine: made policy of US supporting free people resisting Communist pressures. Against: "It's the US's job to defend any crackpot nation claiming to be resisting Commies?"... "How can polarizing the world promote peace?" For: spurred by fear of isolationism.
  • War-torn W. Europe (France, Italy, Germany) at risk for being internally overthrown by Communist parties.
  • SoS George C. Marshall => Marshall Plan: European nations create joint plan for economic recovery and US would give 'em money. Met in Paris, July 1947. (offered $ to USSR if they changed political stuff, but they refused of course).
  • Congress - Marshall Plan = $12.5 billion, 4 years, 16 countries. (After Soviet Commie coup in Czechoslovakia), Congress accepted April 1948.
  • Arabs were agianst Israel!! Europe, US, everyone wanted to keep Arabs happy b/c of oil, but Truman recognized and supported Israel from its birth (May 14, 1948).

America Begins to Rearm:

  • Cold War/Soviet Menace => 1947 National Security Act
  • Established Department of Defense - cabinet-member Secretary of Defense, and Joint Chiefs of Staff: SoNavy, SoArmy, SoAir Force
  • Established National Security Council (NSC) - advise President on security
  • Established Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - coordinate government's foreign fact-gathering
  • 1948 - conscription of selected men 19-25
  • 1948 - France, Britain, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg signed defensive alliance, asked US to join.
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) signed in Washington April 1949 (attack on one=attack on all, respond w/ armed force if necessary). Senate approved July 1949; Greece & Turkey, and West Germany joined 1952 and 1955.
  • NATO objectives: keep Russians out, Germans down, Americans in

Reconstruction and Revolution in Asia:

  • American army under MacArthur occupied Japan, war criminals tried (1946-1948)
  • 1946 - Constitution adopted that promoted Western democracy and renounced militarism
  • Chinese Nationalist government overthrown by Commie Mao Zedong, Jiang Jieshi forced to Taiwan.
  • Big loss for America during Cold War (1/4 of the world's population was now forced into Communism)
  • Sept 1949, Soviets tested their atomic bomb. America developed the H-bomb (many times worse) in 1952. Soviets had one by 1953. Nuclear fear brought standstill.

Ferreting Out Alleged Communists:

  • 1947 - Loyalty Review Board - investigated federal employees, 3,000 were dismissed
  • 1949, 11 Commies imprisoned for violating Smith Act of 1940 (antisedition). Affirmed by Dennis v. US (1951)
  • 1938 House had established Committee of Un-American Activities (HUAC). Richard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy
  • 1948, Nixon got Alger Hiss 1950 for perjury
  • State and local conservatives witch-hunted debtors, drinkers, and gays as "security risks"
  • McCarran Internal Security Bill - authorized President to arrest and detain suspicious people during an "internal security emergency." 1950 Truman vetoed, Congress overruled.
  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (leaked atomic data to Moscow) convicted 1951 of espionage and electric chair'd. Too far?

Democratic Divisions in 1948:

  • Republicans nominated Thomas E. Dewey
  • Democrats wanted war-hero Eisenhower, but when he refused they were stuck w/ Truman - in favor of civil rights for blacks, upset Southerners.
  • "Dixiecrats" nominated J. Strom Thurmond. States' Rights Party.
  • Former VP Henry A. Wallance ran under new Progressive party (former New-Dealers, liberals, Commies). Wallace was pro-Soviet.
  • With Democrats split 3 ways, seemed like sure victory for Dewey.
  • Truman won -> Dewey -> Thurmond -> Wallace, Democrats regained Congress.
  • "Point Four" in inagural address - US lend money to underdevloped lands to help them, prevent them from going communist - launched 1950 (Latin America, Africa, etc.)
  • "Fair Deal" => Housing Act 1949, extending beneficiaries in Social Security Act of 1950.

The Korean Volcano Erupts (1950):

  • N Korea was occupied by USSR, S Korea occupied by US; both countries withdrew forces, leaving Korea divided.
  • June 1950, N Korea went S of 38th parallel and started pushing S Koreans into this tiny coastal confinement (Pusan). The N Koreans had gotten the O.K. from Stalin.
  • National Security council had written NSC-68: the US should spend 4x more on defense, put into effect w/ Korean crisis (SoS Acheson) -> 3.5 million men under arms and $50 bililon/yr for defense
  • UN Security Council met and called for UN members to render every assistance to restore peace
  • (Without asking Congress,) Truman ordered air and naval units to help S Korea (made MacArthur in charge). Even though it was UN thing, the US was taking the lead.

The Military Seesaw in Korea:

  • MacArthur got back to the 38th parallel Sept 15, 1950, then crossed and pushed upward (SEE PICTURE)
  • China got pissed and started pushing them back down
  • MacArthur now wanted to attack China, but Truman refused and fired rebellious MacArthur. People got mad at Truman.
  • July 1951, truce discussions started that lasted two years while men died.