POLI10601 Introduction to international politics Part 2: International History and the Study of International Relations ‘1945’ - The Post-war Global Landscape and the First Cold War
Some preliminary notes …Some things to note when reading on international history► Is there only one „true‟ history or are certain accounts merely dominant?► Are commonly referred to „historical nodal points‟ or „pivot points‟ (e.g 1945,1968, 1989, 9/11) universally recognised? Does their prominence reflect certain political and cultural biases?Some things to note when reading about the Cold WarAnalysts disagree about key issues:► Was there a single Cold War oscillating between periods of greater and lesser tension, or a |First Cold War, détente, and a Second Cold War?► Who caused the Cold War?► Why did it end?Note also that academic writing on the Cold War was often as muchabout fighting it than explaining it.► The USSR was often described as „expansionist‟ in the West but the US rarely was. There is frequent reference to Soviet „behaviour‟ versus US „policy‟. The Soviet literature was also politically coloured, of course.
The cold war was not only about the superpowers …► Although the relationship between the superpowers is central to any understanding of the post-1945 international system, there were other processes which fed into or mitigated the Cold War. These included:• The rapid acceleration of the struggle against colonialism and the emergence of the ‘Third World’ and the concept of ‘non-alignment’• The development of the UN system and international organisation more generally• The emergence (and re-emergence) of other powerful states such as China, Japan and West Germany• Europe – no longer as central to international politics but still crucial because of its location and the project of European integration• The development of weapons of mass destruction
Defining the Cold War‘Cold War is a term coined by US journalist H.B. Swope and popularisedby Walter Lippman►Used to describe the state of tension, hostility & rivalry that developedbetween the Western (non-communist) and Eastern (communist) blocsafter 1945.►A condition of neither peace nor war which displays the structuralfeatures of great power rivalry but stops short of actual armedengagementBut it did not preclude:►conflict between one of the superpowers and states aligned with theother superpower►Conflict between proxies of either superpowers►armed intervention – covert or overt - by one of the superpowerswithin their sphere of influenceExamples include: the Korean War (1950-53), the Vietnam War (1959-75), various US interventions in Latin America, the Cuban Missile Crisis(1962) Soviet interventions in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968)and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (1978-89)
The situation in 1945: signs of a mutual commitment to co-operation?►The ‘spheres of influence’ deal between Churchill and Stalinin 1944 that carved up Europe, Korea, etc to reflect whereeach of the superpowers was dominant (realism at work?)►Three key conferences of the ‘Grand Alliance’ betweenBritain, the US and the USSR: Tehran (1943), Yalta (February1945) and Potsdam (July 1945)►Agreement on the UN Charter at San Francisco (June 1945)►Recognition, notably on the part of the US, that a newworld order was emerging and it required some governingprinciples and institutions (signs of Liberal reformism or atleast great power responsibility?)But real tensions within each of the key players’ perspectivesand the role of individual personalities cannot be discounted
The ‘Percentages Agreement’ between Churchill and Stalin, Moscow 1944
Growing confrontation1946 onwards sees a rapid decline in the spirit of co-operation.Key tension was between the development of a newinternational framework and the pursuit of ‘vital interests’ by thekey players►Growing perception by US and UK that Stalin was not sticking to the Yaltaagreements (in Eastern Europe and Korea for example)►Rapid rise in a general anti-communist sentiment in the West not onlybecause of greater knowledge of Stalin‟s Russia and Soviet actions inEastern Europe but also because of events in China►Consolidation of the Anglo-American alliance►Stalin‟s speech (February 9 1946) to the Supreme Soviet claiming thatcapitalist economic competition made war „inevitable‟, followed by:►Churchill‟s „Iron Curtain‟ speech (March 5 1946)►Enunciation of the „Truman Doctrine‟ (March 1947)If you want a sense of the atmosphere of growing hostility and fear in the late1940s, go to YouTube and put ‘Cold War Propaganda’ in the search engine.There are some great short films from both sides.
The Truman Doctrine 1947“At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choosebetween alternative ways of life. (…) One … is based upon the will of themajority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representativegovernment, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom ofspeech and religion, and freedom from political oppression. The second… is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon the majority.It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio; fixedelections, and the suppression of personal freedoms.”“I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support freepeoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities orby outside pressures. (…) I believe that our help should be primarilythrough economic and financial aid which is essential to economicstability and orderly political processes. (…) In helping free andindependent nations to maintain their freedom, the United States will begiving effect to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”(www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/trudoc.htm)
The Emergence of Uneven Bipolarity?The Truman Doctrine should be read against the backdrop of anemerging bipolar Cold War System within which, however, theeconomic and military dominance of the US is increasingly apparent –the first signs of American hegemony and ‘Pax Americana’?By 1947 the US had embarked upon the building of a global,institutionalised, liberal, capitalist world order.The challenges confronting the US included:►Ensuring the future of the capitalist world economy and avoiding recession►The reconstruction of a war-torn Europe & Japan►The economic weakness of its key allies (notably the UK)►The future of Germany►And, of course, the relationship with an economically weak and increasinglyhostile Soviet Union fearful of ‘capitalist encirclement’The resultant Cold War was arguably a new form of ‘total war’ in that itinfected most aspects of relations between most states
The Debate on the Origins of the Cold War► The orthodox viewSoviet expansion created US insecurity. Tends to depict an aggressive and expansionist USSR as dictating justifiable US reactions in defence of core Liberal values. Found also in more realist versions which depict the USSR as a threat to US national security.► The revisionist ViewUS commitment to expansion of capitalism created Soviet insecurity. Emerging in the early 1960s, the revisionists linked US strategy and policy with the requirements of an US-dominated international capitalist system. The Soviets are depicted as largely reacting defensively to an aggressive US containment policy.► The post-revisionist view(s)Rejects the simplistic ascription of responsibility to one side or the other. Often adopts an realist/neorealist slant in seeing the Cold War as a product of security-oriented „power politics‟, suggesting the Cold War was inevitable. Others focus on the problems of misperception, the manipulation of ideology by elites on both sides, and the impact of domestic politics. Still a heated debate. The notion that the Cold War was a key stage in the emergence of US global dominance (or „hegemony‟) is becoming more prominent but ultimately blaming Stalin still fashionable as well.
The Consolidation of the Blocs – The West► The Marshall Plan European recovery was vital both to long term interests of the US and the containment of Soviet communism (But note that communism was also a powerful political force in Western Europe). An integrated European market would benefit European recovery, US exporters, and the consolidation of a multilateral trading system. USSR invited in but soon walked out. 1948 -1953, the US pumped $13 billion of economic aid into 14 Western European countries including, controversially, West Germany.► The reconstruction of JapanJapan‟s recovery seen as essential to the development of a multilateral Asian trading system and extension of the anti- communist bloc. US $500 million to produce Japanese „self-sufficiency‟ by 1950.► The formation of NATO in 1949Intended to address political as well as military issues:• embedding a re-militarised Germany in an alliance,• responding to Soviet military superiority in Europe and the future development of Soviet nuclear capability• preparing for „hot‟ war• cementing the Western anti-communist alliance.► NSC68 1950 - Blueprint for US Cold War policy for next 20 years. Made the case for a US military build-up to confront an enemy which „unlike previous aspirants to hegemony‟ was „animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own‟. Idea of containment shifted to that of an offensive cold war while avoiding hot war: ‘Our overall policy at the present time may be described as one designed to foster a world environment in which the American system can survive and flourish …’
The Consolidation of the Blocs – The East► A matter of debate: did Stalin have a master plan for extending Soviet control over Eastern Europe (EE) after 1945 or was Soviet policy largely reactive. Also debated are Stalin‟s motivations : traditional imperialism, Marxism-Leninism, or Soviet national interests?► It is clear that Stalin saw the consolidation of Soviet control over EE as a key response to the „American plan for the political and economic subjugation of Europe‟. Germany was a key point of contention, especially US plans to establish a West German state.► Prior to 1947, Soviet political interference in EE was uneven but after 1948 all opposition parties were suppressed and all of the EE states (with the exception of Tito‟s Yugoslavia) effectively became Soviet satellites.► Creation of COMINFORM – the Communist Information Bureau (1947) and the COMECON - Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (1949)► The Berlin Crisis 1948-49 - USSR was excluded from a London conference on the future of Germany which proposed the creation of West Germany. Stalin‟s response: restrict movement of Western personnel in & out of Berlin and then close all surface routes completely. Led to a 324 day campaign by the West to airlift supplies into Berlin. This was a policy failure for Stalin which also led to a new sympathy for the Germans within the West.► Creation of the Warsaw Pact 1955, as a counterpoint to NATO
The cycles of stability and Crisis in the First Cold WarThe first Cold War is marked throughout by cycles of tension and relaxation.Conflict flashpoints are interspersed with the evolution of a more systematicand institutionalised relationship between the superpowers► Berlin Blockade 1948-49► The Korean War 1950-53► 1953- Stalin Dies, Eisenhower elected► 1954 – US Secretary of State Dulles makes „massive retaliation‟ speech► 1955 Soviets propose „peaceful coexistence‟ and first summit takes place between US, Britain, France and the USSR► 1955 Germany joins NATO and Warsaw Pact formed► 1956 – Khrushchev assumes full control in USSR and denounces Stalin, COMINFORM dissolved, Hungarian Uprising► 1959 Nixon visits Moscow, Khrushchev visits the US – signs of a thaw?► 1959 Castro takes over in Cuba► 1960 US „U2‟ spy plane shot down over USSR, Kennedy elected president► 1961 „Bay of Pigs‟ incident, Berlin Wall erected by East Germany► 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis► 1963 The „Hotline‟ between Washington & Moscow set up.
Summarising The Cold War in the 1960s► Clear signs of stabilisation in superpower relationship (after the Cuban crisis, 1963 Test Ban Treaty & the „Hot Line‟ agreement)► But the Cold War also becomes increasingly global with hot wars breaking out in the post-colonial world (e.g. Vietnam, 1967 „Six Day‟ war in Middle East)► And there are tensions within the blocs (1966 -France quits NATO military structure, increase in Sino-Soviet tensions, 1968 - signs of liberalisation in Czechoslovakia subsequently crushed by Warsaw Pact troops. Romania declares independence within the Eastern bloc, student uprisings and opposition to US foreign policy in the West)► Growing signs of multipolarity - Germany adopts „Ostpolitik‟, China emerging as an independent power, „Group of 77‟ Third World states becomes active in the UN and the „North-South‟ relationship rises up the agenda► First signs of progress on Arms Control: 1968 Non Proliferation Treaty (note that China & France didn‟t accede until 1992, but it is the most successful arms treaty ever)► In Jan 1969 Nixon becomes US President and in his inaugural speech calls for „an era of negotiations between the superpowers‟ … the beginning of „détente‟?