Thus Far… Chittick created a framework with which we can analyze and better understand foreign policies

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Foreign Policy

From Hot War to Cold War (1944-1950)

Thus Far…

  • Chittick created a framework with which we can analyze and better understand foreign policies.

  • M/M:

  • Multilateral/Unilateral

  • C/C:

  • Coercive/Non-Coercive

  • A/A:

  • Active/Reactive


  • Today we will examine the history of the United States immediately after the Second World War

  • How did events and reigning theories of government shape our foreign policy?

  • How did the president influence the foreign policy followed?

  • What factors are important in determining foreign policy?

The Setting

  • Europe lay in ruin

  • Including European Russia

  • The Japanese Empire, likewise

  • China was experiencing a civil war

  • The United States was the only major power

  • It was to be the new American century

  • No one could challenge us

  • What should we do?

The Soviet Union

  • Millions of Soviets died defending their homeland from German incursion

  • Luckily, even with its military and population devastated, it was still the only power on the European landmass

  • The Red Army liberated eastern Europe from German control

  • The newly-freed eastern European states owed a debt of thanks to the Soviets

  • The Soviets felt that this debt could be repaid by being buffer states for protection

Eastern Europe

  • Direct Control (annexation)

  • Estonia

  • Latvia

  • Lithuania

  • Indirect Control (satellite)

  • Czechoslovakia

  • Hungary

  • Romania

  • Poland

  • Bulgaria

  • Yugoslavia

  • Albania

  • Indirect Control (political)

  • Finland

  • Hoped-for Control (failed)

  • Greece

  • Turkey

  • Quadripartite Control

  • Germany

  • DDR formed in 1949

  • response to economic changes in western zones
  • Austria

  • Seen as invaded by Germany

  • Declared itself neutral 1955

The Iron Curtain Speech

  • “From Stettin on the Baltic to Trieste on the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent”

  • Westminster College (Missouri) Commencement

  • Why would the Soviet Union want these states to be steady allies?

  • Were we in their place, would we have attempted something similar?


  • Stalin did not trust Roosevelt

  • Felt he was a tool of Wall Street

  • As such, Stalin felt Roosevelt would implement foreign policy designed to help US businesses

  • Accurate?

  • Roosevelt was typical American idealist

  • Truman less so

  • Churchill decidedly not

  • But, tossed from power shortly after the war (27 July 1945)

The Soviet Underbelly

  • Soviet Union also hemmed in along the south

  • Russia had sought a free warm-water port for centuries

  • The ports along the north were useless in winter

  • The eastern ports held little value because of ice and distance from Europe

  • The Black Sea was insecure

  • The Baltic Sea was a help, but was still insecure (Britain, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, West Germany, Denmark controlled it)

The Underbelly in Greece

  • During WWII, most of the fighting in Greece was between the communists and anti-communists

  • The Soviets were unable to make significant inroads in Greece

  • Marshall Plan helped

  • Truman Doctrine helped

  • Direct CIA support helped

The Underbelly in Turkey

  • The Black Sea

  • The ports on the Black Sea are warm water ports

  • Odessa

  • Sevastopol

  • Stalingrad (Volgograd)

  • But, these Black Sea ports could be eliminated if Turkey allowed the Bosporus and/or Dardanelles to be closed

  • Russia and Turkey never allies because of these waterways

  • Soviet Union tried to gain control in Turkey and failed

The Underbelly in Iran

  • Warm Water Ports on the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean!

  • Very warm water

  • During the war

  • Soviets annexed parts of northern Iran

  • After the war

  • They attempted to turn the democratically-elected government of Mossadegh into a Soviet client government

  • CIA-backed coup strengthened the Shah, who removed Mossadegh

Foreign Policy Strategy

  • None

  • Well, none until US minds sat down and looked at Soviet actions as a whole, and in relation to its history

  • Once that was done, it became obvious to the geopolitical strategists what they were doing and why

  • Containment became our response


  • Containment was the primary strategy throughout the Cold War

  • It did have its ups and downs, however

  • If we keep the Soviets where they are, then they will die out

  • A policy of firmness and patience

  • Kennan’s Long Telegram

  • Laid out the Soviet Union’s two policy foundations

Soviet Foreign Policy Prongs

  • Realist

  • Geopolitics

  • Immediate wins in the world

  • Increase allies = increase strength

  • Act to speed along the coming communist revolution by showing the failures of capitalism

  • Idealist

  • Marxism taught that capitalism will eventually because of the many contradictions within capitalism

  • Thus, success (eventual) was guaranteed


  • Read:

  • Chapter 3 (Hook)

  • Pages 133 – 143 (Chittick)

  • Monday’s Topic:

  • The Hopes and Failures of Containment

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