I'm using a new dictation software program. So these sentences may be choppy. I hope this is helpful and not just confusing.
I'm looking at your introduction I will read section by section, and as long as I go by. The thesis should permeate which are doing. In his first introduction you certainly talk to Stalin as a causal factor in the Cold War. You talk to his actions as being major actions. In the discussion we had on Friday we certainly said that some of these personalities were key. We certainly said that without Gorbachev they would not have been the end of the Cold War as we sort. And I think we can say that without Stalin we would not have had the beginning of it. You talk to his use of realpolitik that is good. You also mention the conflict with Truman and indeed the contrast between the two men could not have been more old. You certainly know the background clearly life of these two men and they could not be more different. The way each came to office also could not be more different.
Section 2 political psychology and the Cold War. The personality of Truman
You start by talking about Truman's concept of truth and keeping one's word. You compare them to his charge to the Soviets that they do not keep their word. He certainly attacks the racket of the Soviets relative to both the Yalta agreement and the Potsdam agreement. This of course is a common quote. I have never seen this detail as to what exactly the disagreements are good Truman ees in Soviet action relative to these two agreements. As you know one of the major objectives for Roosevelt at Yalta was to get Stalin to agree to enter the war in Japan. Stalin did enter that war exactly as he agreed to. However in the case of Poland what Truman saw as free democratic elections in what Stalin saw as free democratic elections were quite different. In this case you could say that they just disagreed over the meaning of words.
He certainly detail the background of Stalin. His childhood in Revolutionary youth were certainly vastly different from Truman's. The violence of his father and his experience with violence in the early days of the revolution certainly shaped Stalin's character. His violence towards his own people, his own advisers, shapes is personality throughout his life. Both the United States and the Soviet Union have a violent history and a long record of violence within the country. But Stalin brings a totally different level of violence to his regime.
In the next section you talk to Stalin taking over Eastern Europe. He certainly is well aware of how often Russia has been invaded from Europe and his desire for buffer states is certainly reasonable given the experience they have with Germany and Hitler. Remember most of these Eastern European states allied with Germany and sent military forces against the Soviet Union.
Your statements on Poland are also solid. Your inclusion of the political cartoon is good. Note when you talk about a anti-Soviet Poland and a part of western Poland. London and Washington see a pro-western Poland as normal; Stalin sees such a configuration as a threat. Always remember when speaking about Poland that the United States has a large number of Polish immigrants living in the country. Even more important they are concentrated very much in Chicago and the Chicago metropolitan area. That makes him an unusual political force, especially in the Democratic Party. When Roosevelt is considering the new government in Poland he has to consider the electoral vote in the urban state of Illinois.
You speak next to the Council of foreign ministers. When doing a paper read member to consider our discussions in class. I'm always amazed with student papers hit the seem to operate as if the only source should be the readings they do for the paper and not a consideration of the issues discussed in class. General record of the Council of foreign ministers is that they are constantly frustrated in finding agreement, what you know more than most, is that the Soviet system under Stalin did not permit anyone else to make decisions other than Stalin. The Soviet foreign minister was kept on an extremely short leash. Therefore the ability to come to any degree of compromise at these meetings failed again and again and again. That is why the summit beatings were so important as the change in procedure. It was only the top leaders who were able to make game changing decisions. Also reflect on what you say here that Stalin's major goal was correlation of forces or strategic parity between the East and the West. If that is his goal compromise at the Council of foreign ministers meetings is really not germane.
You have a good section on Turkey and the evolution of what would become of the Truman doctrine. But you want to do more than just put the narrative in the paper you always wonder returned to the thesis. Here you have another example of Stalin testing the limits of how far he can go. He assumes he can build as great a buffer system around the Soviet Union as is possible. Of course, you are well aware that Russia has always desired an outlet to the Mediterranean in warm water. So this is a Russian dream or goal. You should also know that in a meeting with Stalin in Moscow Churchill divided up some elements of Eastern Europe and agreed with Stalin on which country should have primary power in which. This was classic power politics as Churchill was used to. It was not at all what Roosevelt saw as the new United Nations model.
Again Boris you narrate the events in Japan but you really don't explicitly tie them to your thesis. The reason you put this in here is because of its connection to your thesis but you must make it explicit. Stalin assumes that the Soviet Union is going to have a role in Japan after all if followed to its promise and attacked in Manchuria. In so doing this Soviet military destroyed the vast bulk of the Japanese Army and Air Force. They expected to have a role in Japan and the piece in Japan. However Truman denies them almost any role in the Japan. This could be seen as one of the first areas where the dispute between the two countries comes out clearly on the side of the West. So this becomes an incident for Stalin to convince him that he cannot trust Truman and the West in letting him in the Soviets in as a true partner. Remember when you look at the Cold War we can look at what the Soviets to agitate the West but we also have to look at what the West does the agitate the Soviets.
Boris section 4 is very good. We did not give as much attention as we should have in the course to Stalin's beach of February 1946. It was as important as Churchill speech at the Missouri. In this he comes to the conclusion apparently that the Soviet Union is going to have to forge ahead and win parity with the West. He is well aware of the work on the atomic bomb. And he understands that he is going to have to prepare Soviet industry to compete with the economies of the West. Churchill speech with Truman also lays out that we are in a fundamental contest. And his use of term Iron Curtain certainly talks to the fundamental separation evolving between the two economic systems. I like the fact that you have the cartoons and illustrations in here. You also have used some very good sources for this section.
Your next section is also very strong. You do it again do a good job of putting in the narrative as to why Stalin felt the need for Eastern European nations. He certainly wanted the buffer states between the Soviet Union, the heart of the Soviet Union, both of the industrial heart and the population centers. He knew it would take time for the Soviet Union to rebuild its industry, its infrastructure, after the devastation of World War II. He also knew that he would have to have a system of their was agreeable to the Soviet model. So a capitalist form of economy in these Eastern European countries would be currently allying with the West and therefore a threat to the Soviet union. You also correct in calling up the ideological confrontation. As we have said repeatedly in the course ideology was important. We must always remember that the Soviet leaders did believe in class warfare and did believe that the Soviet system, Marxism Leninism was superior and was the future for the world.
You also do a good job with this section. Poland was the flashpoint in the early days of the Cold War. You also lay out a good point of comparison. It was common for Western powers, capitalist powers, to use trade and economic benefits as a powerful club to win other nations to their agreement. However, with the Soviet Union ideology and state security as perceived from decades of Western attacks across Poland were more important than economic aid. This was especially true if that economic aid implied threat to the socialist economic system. So when Truman made an offer of economic aid(this is clearly referring to the coming Marshall plan) the offer was not as important to the Soviet Union as Truman expected to be.
All right Boris you next discuss the decision to drop the atomic bomb. I very much try to avoid this discussion in my World War II class. It is a very involved issue and often excites great emotion from those discussing. Again I would suggest that when you discuss this and consider Truman's consideration of the question you look at it in a much broader context than is normally done. For instance in this instance you were talking about it in relationship to relations with the Soviet Union. The normal question by revisionists is we use the bomb to intimidate the Russians. I know very little evidence that truly supports his pieces. When you have Truman as the decision-maker in this you need to have evidence of these issues came on the table before Truman and being under active consideration I Truman. I have never seen any evidence that this was on Truman's mind when he made the decision. As you know the decision revolved around last the number of potential casualties on the part of the US invasion forces going into the mainland of Japan. Each island that was scheduled for invasion would have extracted enormous deaths on the part of the invading American forces. What we had experienced in Oakland Oakland Allah was a foretaste of the invasion of Japan. Also you need to look at the various roles of the present. He was responsible for the federal budget and expenditure of scarce funds during wartime. If he had made the decision not to use the bomb when the news got out that you should funds were expended to develop this new, deadly secret weapon and the president did not have the courage to use it is fiscal management would be seen as criminal. Indeed he would probably be brought up for impeachment. He also performs as the leader of his political party. If he had entered the election of 1948 as a president who has decided not to use the bomb. Every single soldier or sailor and airman who died in the attack on Japan or was wounded would be blamed on Truman and his political party. Some predicted it would be the end of the Democratic Party.
Your next section addresses the birth of the Truman doctrine. And you speak to why Truman feels we must defend Turkey and Greece. He makes a statement in a speech to Congress that we must support the causes of freedom wherever it is threatened. That of course is in was impossible. No country has the resources to do that. So from the very first he overstated what we were capable of doing. However, we also fail to assess of the reasons why we feel we must defend these regions. While in the 1950s the United States is really not importing much oil from the Middle East is certainly the source of oil for Western Europe and Japan. Truman is well aware that our economies are predicated on the availability of the resources of the Middle East. Turkey stands at a very strong geographical nexus. It is the opening to the Middle East, it is a losing country that bridges two he was the lands of the Middle East. Greece completes a long peninsula that borders on Italy. It's just across the sea from Italy. If Yugoslavia and Greece are communistic than the potential threat to Italy is severe. You are certainly aware that the American economy assumes the countries of Western Europe will both lie our goods and sell us are necessary materials needed for our healthy healthy economy. We are constantly looking at the correlation of forces if the Soviet Union ceased to use areas and by doing so threatened the countries bordering those areas the balance of power would severely swing to the Soviet Union and against Western forces. Truman was well aware that the United States could not survive as an island alone.
Well let's look at your conclusion. You again have done a fine job. You summarize a good number of the schools of historiography that address the origin of the Cold War. You talk to the aspirations of both nations.
It is good that you return to the issue of personality as you begin. When you conclude an essay like this you may want to focus on one thesis and play head straight through. Instead of putting down a family of interpretations. You also quite right to mention that as new archives open up, primarily Soviet archives, we will certainly see a new story.
Great job boris.