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Truman, Origins of the Cold War, Korea notes

by: Katharine Anthony

Truman, Origins of the Cold War, Korea notes HIS113U

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Katharine Anthony

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Notes from the first class back with Professor Blumberg
The American Experience: The United States and the World
Barbara Blumberg
Class Notes
american, AmericanHistory
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Katharine Anthony on Friday April 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIS113U at Pace University taught by Barbara Blumberg in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see The American Experience: The United States and the World in History at Pace University.


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Date Created: 04/29/16
I. Introduction a. Harry Truman made one of the biggest choices of the war in dropping the atomic bomb. i. He was not well prepared to make these decisions. 1. He didn't even know about the Manhattan project but Henry Stimson was there to give him the heads up. 2. The Interim Committee was created a. Byrnes was put incharge of it. b. Truman also managed to get the UN started and signed the charter who had created it because FDR had already laid everything out. c. The real tensions between the Soviet Union and the Western Allies also started with Truman. i. He had to decide how tough to be, if he wanted to compromise with Stalin. II. Issues that touched off the Cold War a. The Cold War dominated our history for the next 40 years. i. As soon as WWII ended the Cold War set in. 1. It was there by the summer of 1945 and continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980's. b. A war between ideologies and Soviets and Americans were not directly involved with fighting. i. A great many smaller wars however were fought such as Korea and Vietnam as we fought through a surrogate. ii. The Russians never directly entered the Korean war. Behind the scenes they gave quite a bit of help and assistance to North Korea. The United States was fighting North Koreans and then the Chinese ( because Mao Zedong had come into power). iii. Later in the Vietnam war with the Americans fighting the North Vietnamese and the Communist Chinese. iv. More recently there was an uprising in Afghanistan in the 90's against the Russian domination there. The US didn't send any troops, but the Russians invaded Afghanistan to put down the Taliban. The US was indirectly involved by helping the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. c. Many things that happened in the US domestically happened because of the Cold War. i. McCarthyism 1. A period in which the US government tried to convince Americans that communism was a terrible threat to the US and the country was honeycombed with Communist spies who would try and hurt us and help the USSR. It lead to witch hunts in the government, the media. d. These exact issues that started the Cold War were: i. The spread of Communism into Poland and other Eastern countries that bordered the Soviet Union. 1. The established Communist dominated governments. a. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Ukraine, Finland, etc. 2. NATO was created to try and stop Communist expansion. e. Stalin and the Soviet Union was trying to protect the Soviet Union to stop any future attacks by making sure all the Eastern bloc has a communist government that would agree with them. i. At Yalta, Churchill and FDR had wanted a democratic election so that people could pick their own governments. 1. By 1945 the US and GB land troops on D-Day and fight their way towards Germany while the Soviet Union is coming in from the Eastern side to Germany as fast as they can. 2. At Yalta it was clear that this was going to happen and they tried to get promises that Stalin would allow free democratic elections. Stalin did not keep this promise. It was super blatant in Poland because by the time they met in Yalta a Communist dominated government had already been created. Churchill and FDR were not amused and proposed the government in exile that was in GB. a. Compromise was that they mix these two groups together and make a provisional government until there were free elections. The Anti- communist group get to Poland to take their places the Russians arrested them, deported them and made it impossible for them to participate. They also stalled the elections in Poland. i. Increasingly Truman lost patience and began to take a strong line towards Stalin about his breaking agreements. f. Treatment of Germany i. Very important decisions on how they were going to handle Germany were handled at Yalta. 1. Occupy Germany for a while and to do this we will divide Germany into zones of occupation. These zones would go to US, British, and the Russians, and some small land for the French. 2. Try to coordinate policies so there was a central command on which all four occupying countries would have representatives to make decisions. a. Do we put German war criminals on trial? Yes. ( Nuremburg Trials). 3. The Germans would have to pay reparations. a. They had cost during WWII such destruction and loss of life, they didn't want to repeat the Versailles treaty however so they instead of taking money took from Germany goods and services. i. Germany factories as they resumed production would have to be paid in reparations to the countries whose people had suffered horribly at the hands of Nazi Germany. ii. They also took equipment , there was railroad equipment and factory equipment. iii. Some German POWs would not be allowed to go home, until they helped rebuild. ii. The Soviet Union, were the most eager to get reparations. Which was understandable since they suffered the most losses of both life and land. The US had the least claims since were hardly had any damage besides Pearl Harbor. 1. The Russians in their zone began to take huge quantities of materials and turn over some of it to other allies but take much of it back to the Soviet Union. They had promises from the British, French and US to do the same thing. a. This only continued for a short while (within a year). As they Cold War got more and more pronounced the British and US government began to rethink how they treated Germany. They decided they didn't want to cripple and weaken Germany terribly and figured they would be better off rebuilding Germany to make it a strong power so that it can be used as a bulwark against Soviet expansion. b. The French, British and US began giving huge economic aid. As Stalin saw it was rebuilding a powerful Germany to stop Russia. This really frightened the Soviet Union because they didn’t want Germany coming at them again. 2. Berlin began to become a problem. It had great symbolic importance. The City would also be separated into four zones of occupation. By May 1946 however, the US announced that there would be no more transfer of reparations to the Russians and by September 1946, James Byrnes speaking at Stugart Germany announced that the three Western powers would merge their zones into a single economic unit to create a strong Western Germany. a. The Soviet Union saw this as a major betrayal. iii. Control of Atomic Energy and Weapons 1. As soon as the war ended the Russians demanded that we share about splitting atoms, making atomic bombs, or using the technology for peaceful purposes. a. Stalin did know what was going on of course because of spies, though Britain and US were working closely on the Manhattan project. b. The US and British government weren't really incline to doing that. The Truman admin, thought since they had an atomic monopoly it would help them greatly in the Cold War. i. Some Americans did think that we should make some offers to share under the right circumstances. 1. Bernard Beruck, had been a gov't advisor, a successful businessman worked out a plan that he wanted to present to the UN on this controversy. 1. The US would be willing to transfer all of its knowledge about atomic energy to the UN if the UN would set up a special Atomic energy commission to monitor all of this. 2. When it came with anything to do with nuclear information, there could not be from the UN any veto power. 3. There has to be the creation of an international commission that can go into all countries and monitor to make sure they are not going to create atomic weapons. And if they are not satisfied then the whole deal does not go through. 4. While this is being set up, the US would not stop creating atomic bombs or sharing any of its knowhow. ii. While this was being talked about at the UN, the US went full speed ahead at building atomic bombs and making even more powerful ones. 1. The US decided to conduct a series of atomic tests in an island chain of Bikini Atoll. What they did was actually move the population that lived there to somewhere else and then tested their weapons there. Created super explosions. Infact the reports of these tests, when they reached the newspapers around the world it caught the attention of a French fashion designer who then named his bathing suits the Bikini. iii. The Russians were furious about this offer, and made a counter offer that demanded that the US outlaw atomic weapons immediately. That there would not be any inspections. The US also would have to immediately destroy their atomic weapons. iv. This meant no agreement was ever reached. The earliest agreements came at the 1960's. 2. The Russians did everything in their power to figure out how to make an atomic bomb on their own. They had good scientists and also good spies. By 1949 the Soviet Union tested their first atomic weapon, which worked as well as ours did. 3. This caused panic in the US. a. There was a huge debate, which was on should the US government spend money to have research and creation of the Hydrogen bomb. The scientists were split. i. Edward Teller was the most excited about this idea. ii. Robert Oppenheimer was super opposed to the hydrogen bomb. 1. He had begun to feel guilty about what the atomic bomb wrought and that he had chosen to use the bomb on cities. 2. He was then accused of being a communist sympathizer. 3. Oppenheimer was forced out of Government funded research and labeled a security risk. iii. The Truman Administration exploded the hydrogen bomb in November 1952. 1. It was a success. 2. The Russians decided then they needed a hydrogen bomb as well. August 1953, they had their hydrogen bombs. b. Hydrogen bombs were a thousand times more powerful than the atomic bombs. This is not the end of the Nuclear arms race. What was also going on was that each side started working on better and better ways of delivering nuclear warheads.(submarines, aimed missiles). i. Today China, North Korea, Iran, US, Russia, Pakistan, India, Israel all have nuclear arms.


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