Ideological and practical significances
After Harry Truman proposed the idea of a European Recovery Plan to the Congress, it was taken further by General Marshall. General Marshall joined office in January 1947 as the Secretary of State. Soon after General Marshall met with Stalin and came back to realise the urgency for American actions in retaliation. Marshall proposed aid to Europe on a vast scale, and invited the Europeans to respond. The way the Marshall Plan was proposed, no one perceived it as an anti-Communist movement except Joseph Stalin. General Marshall made it clear that this European Recovery Programme was laid out to help both East and West Europe. However, Stalin did not believe this, and realised that American intentions were exactly opposite to what they were presented as. He thought that America was trying to grab every nation possible out of Soviet’s sphere of influence. Stalin himself denied Marshall aid for the Soviet Union and was now seeking to make sure that the Soviets maintained a strong influence with in the Eastern Bloc.
The Secret War
• Roosevelt’s Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage by Joseph Persico • Roosevelt built espionage into the structure of American government • Discusses Roosevelt’s involvement in intelligence and espionage operations -FDR wanted to bomb Tokyo before Pearl Harbor
-A defector (someone who abandons one's country or cause in favor of an opposing one) from Hitler's inner circle reported directly to the Oval Office -Roosevelt knew before any other world leader of Hitler's plan to invade Russia -Roosevelt and Churchill concealed a disaster costing hundreds of British soldiers' lives in order to protect Ultra, the British code breaking secret -An unwitting Japanese diplomat provided the President with a direct pipeline into Hitler's councils • In addition also discusses to what extent Roosevelt was aware of the fate of Europe’s Jews prior to the Holocaust & whether Roosevelt knew in advance of the Pearl Harbor attack • Roosevelt manipulated, compartmentalized, disassembled, and misled • He once said “I never let my right hand know what my left hand does” • Roosevelt created America’s first Central Intelligence Agency (the CIA, previously called the OSS, Office of Strategic Services) • Some say there were spies in Roosevelt’s White House too
• In 1950 September 30th, President Truman signed the top-secret policy plan named NSC-68 (National Security Council Report 68) • A 58-page formerly-classified report issued by the United States National Security Council on April 14, 1950 • Shifted foreign policy from passive to active containment. It differed from Kennan’s original notion of containment outlined in the “x” article, with much harsher anti-Communist rhetoric. • The policy plan stated that the Communists planned for world domination. • Shaped U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War for the next 20 years and has subsequently been labeled its "blueprint." • To confront what it called an enemy "unlike previous aspirants to hegemony... animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own."
Immediate economic help to Europe
Strict criteria to qualify for American aid
Must allow for USA to investigate domestic financial records in applicant country USSR
‘aid’ not directed for or against any country or doctrine “initiative must come from Europe”
Results of the Dollar Imperialism
Less than half of Truman’s initial proposal to Congress
1.1% of US national GDP over the whole period program
“recovery of Europe was under way well before advent of the Marshall Plan” – Alan Milward “a dagger pointed at Moscow” – Yevgeny Varga (Stalin’s economic advisor)
The Soviet Response- Cominform/ Comecon
Stalin launched two campaigns: the Cominform and the Comecon. Cominform was the Communist Information Bureau set up in September 1947. It was used as an instrument to increase Stalins’ control over the Communist parties of other countries. Communist parties from: France, Yugoslavia, Italy, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania comprised of the Cominform. The West considered this organisation as a threat to the democratic nations in the West. Comminform followed the political ideological line the Soviet Union wanted to adopt in the Socialist countries. Where as, Comicon ensured economic assistance in order to prevent these countries from being torn from the sphere of influence. Shortly afterwards, Stalin and the Communist government took over Czechoslovakia. This shocked Washington and Truman expressed his thoughts: “The Soviet Union and his agents have destroyed the independence and democratic character of a whole series of nations in Eastern and Central Europe. It is this ruthless course of action and the clear desire to extend it to the remaining free nations of Europe that have brought about the critical situation in Europe today”.