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COLD WAR Essay Research Paper Less than

COLD WAR Essay, Research Paper Less than a year after the end of World War II, the great wartime leader of Britain, Winston Churchill gave a speech at Westminster College, in Fulton,

COLD WAR Essay, Research Paper

Less than a year after the end of World War II, the great wartime leader of

Britain, Winston Churchill gave a speech at Westminster College, in Fulton,

Missouri. After receiving an honorary degree and being introduced by President

Harry Truman, he delivered a historic speech.

Churchill said, ? It is my duty to place before you certain facts about the

present position in Europe. From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the

Adriatic an Iron Curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line

lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe.

Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Bucharest, and Sofia; all these famous

cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet

sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet

influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control

from Moscow?.

It was in this 1946 speech that the term ?Iron Curtain? was first used to

describe the growing East-West divide in postwar Europe between communist and

democratic nations. The ?Iron Curtain? was a result of the policy of

isolation set up by the Union of Soviet Republics (USSR) after World War II that

involved rigid censorship and travel restrictions. It acted as a barrier to

communication and the free exchange of ideas between the USSR (and its satellite

states) and the rest of the world.

In June of 1948, Josef Stalin ordered the blockade of West Berlin?s roads

and railways. There was no way of traveling by land into the city. The only

access to West Berlin was through a twenty-mile air corridor.

Nikita Krushchev came to power in the Soviet Union in 1955. His policy was

liberalization, or ?deStalinization.? The concept was a shake-up of the

Communist Party. He even preached that a ?peaceful co-existence? with

capitalist nations was possible. The cold war relaxed for a few years and

Austria was even given true independence in 1955. Hungary successfully revolted

against Russian occupation in 1956 and held a free election for a new

government. Unfortunately, Khrushchev was not about to give up on Berlin.

The ?Iron Curtain? became even more real on August 14, 1961. This was the

morning that the world woke up to learn that a barbed wire fence dividing the

Eastern sector of Berlin from the three Western sectors had been erected

overnight. The purpose was to stop East Germans from fleeing to the West. More

than three million had fled since the war. The news caught Western leaders by

surprise. There had been a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the three Western

powers in Paris in July 1961, but no one mentioned the possibility of a Berlin

wall. After hasty consultations, the three Western allies decided that there was

nothing that could be done. Military action would have been unthinkable, because

it would have led to a confrontation in which the West would have had to back

down. The wall of barbed wire was soon replaced with brick. Mines peppered the

ground. Automatic machine gun turrets were installed that shot anything that

moved near the wall. East Berlin was effectively a prison. President Kennedy

issued a statement condemning the erection of the wall as a violation of written

and unwritten agreements. The wall remained as a symbol of the ?Iron Curtain?.

The wall came down and the curtain lifted during 1989 through 1991, when

Communist governments fell in Eastern Europe and the USSR.

In April 1951 a paper known as NSC-68 was published which detailed the United

States objectives and programs for national security. The paper was written

primarily by the U.S. State Department?s, Paul Nitze. It was written in the

aftermath of the Soviet explosion of their first atomic weapon. The report

predicted the Soviets could launch a nuclear attack on the United States by

1954. There was worry about he Soviet Union?s recommended an increase in U.S.

spending for nuclear and conventional arms. Paul Nitze worked in investment

banking before entering government service. He served as vice chairman of the

U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey (1944-46). He was the head of policy planning for

the State Department (1959-53). He also served as Secretary of the Navy

(1963-67) and Deputy Secretary of Defense (1967-69), as a member of the U.S.

delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) (1969-73), and

Assistant Secretary of Defense for international affairs (1973-76). For over

forty years, Nitze was one of the chief architects of U.S. policy toward the

Soviet Union.

At a National Security Council meeting on January 31, 1950, President Truman

met with Defense Secretary Louis A. Johnson, Secretary of State Dean Acheson,

and Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) David Lilienthal to discuss

continuing the thermonuclear project. The surprise of the Soviet atomic bomb

tests three months earlier greatly concerned Truman. The President was disturbed

too, about the deteriorating relationship between America and Russia. The

Communist success in China the year before seemed to Truman a deepening of the

rift. He was now determined to make a thorough review not only of America?s

loss of atomic monopoly, but also of its existing political military strategy.

The result of that effort was National Security Council paper 68, or NSC 68.1.

NSC 68 was completed in April of 1950 and approved as a national security

policy in September. For two months after the paper was completed, many top

Washington officials debated NSC 68?s call for an enormous military build-up,

estimated at a $40,000,000,000, more than three times the $13,000,000,000

appropriation for 1950. The main aim of those funds was to build the North

Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military structure in Europe.

NSC-68 was intended to elaborate the overriding objectives of the US national

security policy. It began with an assessment of the physiology of the world

crisis, adopting two basic assumptions in respect to the global distribution of

power: first, following the defeat of Germany and Japan and the collapse of

British and French Empires, the international system was bipolar with the US and

the Soviet Union representing the two centers of power. Secondly, the Soviet

Union had fundamentally antithetical objectives compared to those of US and,

driven by a ?fanatic faith,? sought to ?impose its absolute authority over

the rest of the world.? Behind this bipolarized reality stood the inherently

irreconcilable struggle between the free and the slave society or, in other

words, between ?the idea of freedom under a government of laws, and the idea

of slavery under the grim oligarchy of the Kremlin.? The Cold War was

substantially a ?real war in which the survival of the free world? was in

serious danger.

NSC-68 asserted that Soviet leadership regarded the US as the ?only major

threat? and as the ?principal enemy whose integrity and vitality mush be

subverted or destroyed by one means or another? in order its ?fundamental

design? to be accomplished. To this end, Soviet economy, though far behind, as

a percentage and value of Gross National Product, from that of US, was operating

?on a near maximum production basis? so as no just to contribute generally

to the strengthening of Soviet power, but largely to increase the ?war-capacity?

of the Soviet Union. Military capabilities were being exclusively developed to

support the design of Soviet leadership for world domination. It was estimated

that by 1954 the Soviets would have had a stockpile of approximately 200 atomic

bombs and a sufficient number of aircraft to deliver them. In this case they

could probably inflict serious damage to the US by a surprise attack. This

atomic capability, coupled with the possession of the thermonuclear bomb, and in

conjunction with the already excessive conventional forces stationed in the

Eastern Europe, would rank the Soviet Union in a extremely favorable position to

carry out simultaneously the following courses of military actions: ?to

overrun Western Europe, to launch air attacks against the British Isles? and

to attack selected targets with atomic weapons. In moving to a final assessment

of Soviet intentions, the document argued that Moscow sought to employ the ?methods

of the Cold War? and the techniques of ?infiltration and intimidation? in

order both to overthrow Western institutions, and to establish its world

domination.

NSC-68 regarded that the principle task of the US national security should be

the assurance of the ?integrity and vitality? of its society. Given that

American integrity was in ?greater jeopardy than ever before,? the document

rejected explicitly the preceding policy of isolation and called for a ?positive

participation in the world community.? The US, as ?the center of power in

the free world,? should undertake the responsibility of world leadership? in

order to organize and consolidate a global environment in which the American

Society would be able to ?survive and flourish.? To this end, US foreign

policy should include two closely interlinked strategies: the first was the

development of a ?healthy international community,? which had already been

actually in force through the economic activities of the US throughout the

world. The other was the containment of the ?Soviet System.?

As the document finally took shape, NSC-68 was relatively brief. Reportedly,

it began with a statement of the nature of the world crisis and ended with a

call to action by the United States. The world crisis it defined primarily in

terms of long-range historical processes affected specifically by the Russian

revolution and the Communist movement since then and, second, the development of

nuclear weapons, the significance of which it explored. It provided a general

theory about what Russia was trying to do, which concluded that the Kremlin had

no master plan and that it had three major objectives. In order of priority,

these were: to preserve the internal power position of the regime and develop

the U.S.S. R. as the base for that power, to consolidate control over the Soviet

satellites and add them as support for that base, and to weaken any opposing

centers of power and aspire to world hegemony.

The document examined and compared Soviet capabilities with Western

capabilities, including conventional military forces and nuclear weapons and a

projection of future nuclear capabilities and economic strength. It asserted

that the Soviet system had vulnerabilities, three of which were identified:

agriculture as an economic problem, the brittleness of the relationship of the

Soviet masses to the top Soviet leadership, and relations with the satellites.

But on the whole, the result was disquieting. The Soviet Union was pictured as

capable of rapid economic growth at the same time that it maintained a large

military establishment. The document estimated that within four years the Soviet

Union would have enough atomic bombs and a sufficient capability of delivering

them to offset substantially the deterrent capability of American nuclear

weapons. In comparison, it emphasized the inadequacy of the Western capability

to meet limited military challenges due to a lack of conventional forces,

shortcomings in the Western alliance system, and the military and economic

weakness of Western Europe.

The paper rejected the possibility of negotiation with the Soviet Union

except on the basis of power political considerations. Similarly, in concluded

that the prospects of achieving effective regulation of armaments were remote

because the necessary methods were incompatible with the Stalinist regime.

Persistent efforts to achieve an effective agreement on arms regulation were

considered necessary, particularly for nuclear weapons, although it was held

that the success of these efforts depended upon the growth of free-world

strength and cohesion.

In conclusion, NSC-68 pictured four alternatives facing the United States:

continuing on the present course of limited budgets with no increase in

capabilities and no decrease in commitments, preventive war, withdrawal to the

Western Hemisphere?the Fortress America concept; the development, and the

development of free-world cohesion through a program to increase free-world

capabilities. The fourth alternative it examined in greater detail, analyzing

the relationship between the strength of the United States, as the center of the

free world, with the strength of the countries on its periphery, the

relationship of economic and military programs to each other, and both to

psychological factors of strategy. It stressed the importance of allies to

American security, the inadequate military preparedness of the free world, hence

the need for improving it.

NSC-68?s importance was particularly significant because NSC 68 argued for

an extensive rearmament at a time when America was at peace. NSC 68?s

rationale had to do more than just change national military strategy. The paper?s

logic somehow had to remove deep American psychological and historical

prejudices against maintaining-and-funding-a large ground during peacetime. This

is exactly what NSC 68 did. And it did so, in part, for three reasons. First,

because America was not operating in a period of total peace, but rather in a

tense ?cold war? with the Soviet Union, the paper was able to define the ?nature?

of the Soviet threat in ideological terms, not just military. ?The risk we

face,? warned the authors of NSC 68, is ?of a new order and magnitude.?

The paper declared ?It is quite clear from Soviet theory and practice that the

Kremlin seeks to bring the free world under its domination by the methods of the

cold war.?

Ambassador George F. Kennan was a great American statesman. A Milwaukee

native, Ambassador Kennan served the United States in important diplomatic posts

throughout Europe and in Washington between 1927 and 1953. Although Kennan is

most well known for his theories involving the former Soviet Union, his

interests extended far beyond that. Controversial at times, his arguments

challenged Americans to think about the world in new ways. In 1952, while

serving as Ambassador to the Soviet Union, he was declared ?persona non grata?.

This was a result of making unflattering comments about Stalin and comparing the

USSR to Nazi Germany during a stopover in Berlin.

His next Ambassadorship was in Yugoslavia. He joined the Institute for

Advanced Study at Princeton University, his Alma Mata, where he established

himself as a diplomatic scholar. He wrote several nationally acclaimed books and

won the Pulitzer Prize and eight other prestigious awards for his writing, his

lecturing, and his commentary on important global issues. Ambassador Kennan

played a significant role in the formation of foreign policy in general and

U.S.-Soviet relations in particular. He received the Medal of Freedom, one of

the nation?s highest awards, from President Bush.

On February 22, 1946, George Kennan sent the historic Long Telegram from

Moscow. This official document had great influence on both the onset of the Cold

war, and on the shaping of the United States. The Long Telegram was sent to

Washington shortly after Stalin?s speech about the inevitability of conflict

with the capitalist powers.

George Kennan discussed in his telegram three issues: the principal

motivating factors behind Soviet foreign policy, and the historical and

ideological background of the post-war Soviet perception of international

relations; its attainment on both the official and the unofficial level; and

finally, the far-reaching repercussions for the for the U.S. foreign policy.

The analysis began with the thesis that the Soviet leadership saw world

politics as a split into capitalist and socialist societies. ?The USSR still

lives in a antagonistic capitalist encirclement? with which there can be no

?permanent peaceful coexistence.?

Kennan said that the Soviet leaders had a great suspiciousness of the outside

world and a ?neurotic view is world affairs.? He determined that this was a

result of two prime determinants: first, from Russia?s long and deeply rooted

agricultural past, and second, from the fear of contact with the economically

developed and socially advanced West. The second sort of determinant of

insecurity especially reinforced the Kremlin?s antipathy for the West, because

its ?rule was relatively archaic in form, fragile and artificial in its

psychological foundation, unable to stand comparison or contact with the

political systems of western countries.?

Kennan came to the conclusion that Soviet policy aimed primarily at

strengthening the relative power of the USSR in the international environment.

Of far greater importance, the Soviet rulers would attempt to accomplish their

goals through the ?total destruction of rival power.? To this end they would

use every direct or indirect means, and they would do everything in their power,

so as to undermine and infiltrate the political, social and moral edifice of

western states, by exploiting the contradictions inherent in the capitalist

system

Kennan painted a very bleak picture of the Soviet Union. In summing up his

view, at the beginning of the fifth and last section of the Telegram, he

underlined emphatically that the U.S. had to confront ?a political force

committed fanatically to the belief that with the U.S. there can be no permanent

modus vivendi, that it is desirable and necessary that the internal harmony of

our society be disrupted, our traditional way of life be destroyed, the

international authority of our state be broken, if Soviet power is to be secure.?

Under these urgent circumstances, the overriding task of the U.S. grand

strategy, Kennan argued, should be the stopping of Soviet expansion.

In closing his telegram and recommending a general outline of instructions

rather than some straightforwardly applicable steps for action. Kennan cautioned

the U.S. in their dealing with the Soviet Union. He asked American officials to

approach with objectivity, thoroughness and calmness. He was convinced that it

was within the capabilities of the U.S. to solve the problem without direct

confrontation, or a ?general military conflict? for two basic reasons:

first, the soviet leaders, unlike Hitler, were ?neither schematic nor

adventurist,? in that sense they were extremely ?sensitive to the logic of

force?; second, the Soviet Union continued to lag economically far away behind

the West. As a consequence, the interests of the U.S., Kennan went on in his

argument, could best be served by building a healthy and vigorous American

society, on the one hand, and by conceiving and ?exporting? to other free

nations its ?positive and constructive? image of the world, on the other.

Kennan?s Long Telegram presented a completely opposite view of U.S.- Soviet

relations than did NSC-68. They reflected two diametrically opposed perceptions

both of the nature of world politics and the U.S.-Soviet security dilemma. The

Long Telegram was concerned more with the impact of the distribution of power on

the U.S.-Soviet relations. It regarded that there would be a possibility of

mutual gain from cooperation with the Soviets. In this sense, the Long Telegram

maintained that the most effective way of controlling the Soviet Union was by

exercising indirect power upon the Soviet Union, in order to get them to do what

the U.S. wanted. NCS-68 focused on the military dimension of power. It asserted

that an enhancement of Soviet strength would inevitably decrease U.S. power and,

hence, the U.S.-Soviet conflict was only a ?zero-sum? political and military

interaction. Against the Soviet Union it advocated the use of hard power,

exclusively associated with the manipulation of tangible and material means,

such as threats, so as to compel the Soviet Union to acquiesce to the will of

the United States.

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