I saw this article a while ago and thought I’d post it
I saw this article a while ago and thought I’d post it
Above is a picture of a U.S. Air Force after action report concerning days of a low and high threat of nuclear warfare. This report was issued during the Able Archer exercises in 1983. This specific report concerned Able Archer 83, an exercise conducted by NATO lasting five days. The Soviet Union prepared its nuclear weapons after feeling threatened by the United States and misread Able Archer intentions. It was believed that Able Archer was a tactic to confuse the Soviet Union as the U.S. prepared for a possible nuclear attack. In response, the Soviet Union prepared for a possible strike. This is also known as the 1983 war scare.
After the conflict was negotiated, President Reagan realized that the Soviet Union felt just as threatened as the U.S. felt. This was one of the key events that led Reagan to pursue a reduction in the number of nuclear weapons in both the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Reagan feared that a nuclear war could be near but could never be won. Later, Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to on-site inspections to confirm the reduction in arms. Soon, the Soviet Union gave up 1,836 missiles while the U.S. gave up 859 (Herring 897).
John F. Kennedy and Third World Relations
During President John F. Kennedy’s presidential term, there was little presence of major world powers in Third World countries. Kennedy recognized the importance of U.S. influence in these underdeveloped nations. He wanted to provide assistance to such underdeveloped Third World nations by helping economic growth and political maturity. Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union had no original importance to underdeveloped Africa, specifically. Kennedy desired to create new relations and foreign policy towards Africa before another country established its own influence. One of Kennedy’s many decisions in Africa was whether to give foreign aid to the Volta River project. This was a significant milestone for the economic development in Ghana. While the project relocated over 80,000 people (roughly 1% of the population), it would provide electricity for the aluminium industry. It was of no importance to Kennedy if the project successful or not. Kennedy’s goal was to make it visible that the U.S. was competing for African trust. Twenty five percent of the project was funded by the World Bank, United States, and United Kingdom. U.S. contribution to the Volta River project was a milestone in U.S. foreign relations because it was the first time in a long time the U.S. reached out to Third World countries. This influence would carry on after Kennedy’s presidency.
Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace was publicly in support for cooperation with the Soviet Union. He was not in favor of Truman’s tough talk explanation with the Soviet Union and had a more idealistic approach. Wallace was known to be ‘soft’ on Communism and was fired by President Harry S. Truman because of these disagreements. “The Way to Peace” speech was delivered in September 1946 specifically emphasizing the importance of Soviet Union and United States cooperation. He explained that in order to cooperate with the Soviet Union, the United States must first understand its history. Wallace continues to explain that the U.S. expands its democratic ideals just as the Soviet Union is expanding its political affairs in other parts of the world,
On our part, we should recognize that we have no mare business in the political affairs of Eastern Europe than Russia has in the political affairs of Latin America, Western Europe and the United States. We may not like what Russia does in Eastern Europe. Her type of land reform, industrial expropriation, and suppression of basic liberties offends the great majority of the people of the United States. But whether we like it or not the Russians will try to socialize their sphere of influence just as we try to democratize our sphere of influence. This applies also to Germany and Japan. We are striving to democratize Japan and our area of control in Germany, while Russia strives to socialize eastern Germany.
Wallace’s approach was to examine how American actions appear to other nations (Herring 611) and be aware of provocative U.S. moves. Wallace states, “The tougher we get, the tougher the Russians will get,”
and then we can realize that we are reckoning with a force which cannot be handled successfully by a “Get tough with Russia” policy. “Getting tough” never bought anything real and lasting—whether for schoolyard bullies or businessmen or world powers. The tougher we get, the tougher the Russians will get.
Wallace favored open cooperation and disapproved Truman’s tough approach. This anti-Cold War view led to his dismissal as Secretary of Commerce by President Truman. While I am unsure whether this approach could have prevented the Cold War, I believe it would have been more productive for America to serve as an example for the rest of the world by using communication rather than becoming tough and passive aggressive with Russia.
This is a link to President Truman’s message to congress on Greece and Turkey on March 12, 1947 from the Truman Library. It is also known as the Truman Doctrine. This was a significant speech because it marked the turning point between U.S. and Soviet relations. Before this speech, the U.S. already was creating tense relations with the Soviet Union by not including it in certain classified information (atomic bomb testing) and significant meetings. The message states that U.S. aid to Turkey and Greece is of the upmost importance to preserve the democratic system of each country. After WWII, Greece was left in ruins, suffering from inflation and a destroyed economic system. The Soviet Union was expanding its power into Greece, promoting a communist way of life. Truman explains that before Soviet entry, Greece’s democratic system was flourishing, including a successful election and free expression of its people. Ha states that the U.S. will not tolerate Soviet expansion and needs to retaliate against communism. Communism would threaten democracy and modernization throughout the world. He further informs the listener that communism is like a disease and must be contained or else it will spread throughout the world. The speech is a climax to U.S.-Soviet relations that eventually contributes to the Cold War.
This article is driving me crazy. I found it on Curry Library, “A-bombs, budgets, and morality: Using the Strategic Bombing Survey.” It tells of conclusions made during postwar hearings by different Navy and Air Force leaders consisting of a survey made up of civilian and military specialists. During the class discussion I thought any sort of intentional harm to innocent civilians is immoral. This article really made me go back and forth to the point where I could argue either way. A specific passage:
But attacking the Air Force’s conception of strategic bombing on the grounds of military ineffectiveness was only part of the Navy’s overall critique. Building on the argument, based on Survey reports, that strategic bombing in World War II was deeply flawed for military reasons, naval officers argued that it was also immoral. Admiral Ofstie told Committee members that the United States was morally wrong for bombing civilians during World War II and should not incorporate this method of warfare into its postwar defense plans. According to the admiral the American people were in “strong opposition to military methods [area bombings of cities] so contrary to our fundamental ideals.” This assertion is quite problematic. Although Ofstie might have firmly believed what he was saying, most Americans in the immediate postwar years had little concern with the morality of strategic bombing conducted by the United States in World War II, or the potential killing of Soviet civilians in a nuclear war.58
While strategic bombing was flawed and often inaccurate, it may have provided a quick end to the war. Different leaders argue back and forth whether or not the atomic bombings made the Japanese surrender.
In 1940, President Roosevelt appointed Nelson Rockefeller as head of the Office for the Coordination of Commercial and Cultural Relations between the American Republics after expressing concern of Nazi popularity in Latin America. To reduce German influence, Rockefeller aimed to promote the North American way of life. He distributed magazines, music, and films such as the one posted, Saludo Amigos. This video was produced by Walt Disney and shown in the US, Central, and South America as a part of the Good Neighbor Policy. The U.S. used non-intervention techniques in the domestic affairs of Latin America and created a friendly and positive image of America to the population in Latin America. It depicted Latin American culture and people. This created an image for American people on why they should support and spread its influence into Latin America. It featured live footage in addition to cartoons, showing natives in modern day clothing, surprising many Americans. Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters were popular in Latin America, also spreading U.S. culture into Latin America. This spread of American influence was Rockefeller’s goal. Saludo Amigos and other forms of entertainment created common interest among Latin America and the United States in little time. Using entertainment increased interest and attention on subtle foreign relation goals.