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  #1  
Old 10-27-2006, 07:32 AM
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the cold war New leadership in both superpowers

New leadership in both superpowers
Dwight D. Eisenhower was sworn in as U.S. President in 1953, the Democrats losing their two-decade-long control of the US presidency. Under Eisenhower, however, the United States' Cold War policy was to remain essentially unchanged. Whilst a thorough rethinking of foreign policy was launched (known as "Operation Solarium"), the majority of emerging ideas (such as a thoroughgoing "rollback of Communism" and the "liberation" of Eastern Europe) were quickly regarded as unworkable. An underlying focus on the "containment" of Soviet communism remained to inform the broad approach of US foreign policy.

While the transition from the Truman to the Eisenhower presidencies was a conservative-moderate in character, the change in the Soviet Union was immense. With the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953, having led the Soviet Union since 1928 and through the Great Patriotic War, his former right-hand man Nikita Khrushchev was named First Secretary of the Communist Party.

During a subsequent period of collective leadership, Khrushchev gradually consolidated his hold on power. At a speech to the closed session of the Twentieth Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, February 25, 1956, Nikita Khrushchev shocked his listeners by denouncing Stalin's personality cult, and many crimes that occurred under Stalin's leadership.1 Although the contents of the speech were secret, it was leaked to outsiders, thus shocking both Soviet allies and Western observers. Khrushchev was later named premier of the Soviet Union in 1958.

The impact on Soviet politics was immense. The speech stripped Khrushchev's remaining Stalinist rivals of their legitimacy in a single stroke, dramatically boosting the First Party Secretary's power domestically. Khrushchev was then able to ease restrictions, freeing some dissidents and initiating economic policies that emphasized commercial goods rather than just coal and steel production.
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Old 10-27-2006, 02:19 PM
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"Massive retaliation" and "brinksmanship"

"Massive retaliation" and "brinksmanship"
Conflicting objectives

Stalin died in early March 1953. Nikita Khrushchev, above, would eventually emerge as the new Soviet leader.When Eisenhower entered office in 1953, the new president was committed to two possibly contradictory goals: maintaining — or even heightening — the national commitment to counter the spread of Soviet influence; and satisfying demands to balance the budget, lower taxes, and curb inflation. The most prominent of the doctrines to emerge out of this goal was "massive retaliation," which Secretary of State John Foster Dulles announced early in 1954. Eschewing the costly, conventional ground forces of the Truman administration, and wielding the vast superiority of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and covert intelligence, Dulles defined this approach as "brinksmanship" in a January 16, 1956 interview with Life: pushing the Soviet Union to the brink of war in order to exact concessions.

Eisenhower inherited from the Truman administration a military budget of roughly $42 billion, as well as a paper (NSC-141) drafted by Acheson, Harriman, and Lovett calling for an additional $7-9 billion in military spending.2 With Treasury Secretary George Humphrey leading the way, and reinforced by pressure from Senator Robert Taft and the cost-cutting mood of the Republican Congress, the target for the new fiscal year (to take effect on July 1, 1954) was reduced to $36 billion. While the Korean armistice was on the verge of producing significant savings in troop deployment and money, the State and Defense Departments were still in an atmosphere of rising expectations for budgetary increases. Humphrey wanted a balanced budget and a tax cut in February 1955, and had a savings target of $12 billion (obtaining half of this from cuts in military expenditures).

Although unwilling to cut deeply into defense, the president also wanted a balanced budget and smaller allocations for defense. "Unless we can put things in the hands of people who are starving to death we can never lick communism", he told his cabinet. Moreover, Eisenhower feared that a bloated "military-industrial complex" (a term he popularized) "would either drive US to war— or into some form of dictatorial government" and perhaps even force the U.S. to "initiate war at the most propitious moment." On one occasion the former commander of the greatest amphibious invasion force in history privately exclaimed, "God help the nation when it has a President who doesn't know as much about the military as I do."3

In the meantime, however, attention was being diverted elsewhere in Asia. The continuing pressure from the "China lobby" or "Asia firsters," who had insisted on active efforts to restore Chiang Kai-shek to power was still a strong domestic influence on foreign policy. In April 1953, for example, Senator Robert Taft and other powerful Congressional Republicans suddenly called for the immediate replacement of the top chiefs of the Pentagon, particularly the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Omar Bradley. To the so-called "China lobby" and Taft, he was seen as having leanings toward a Europe-first orientation, meaning that he would be a possible barrier to new departures in military policy that they favored. Another factor was the vitriolic accusations of McCarthyism, where large portions of the U.S. government allegedly contained covert communist agents or sympathizers. But after the mid-term elections in 1954 — and censure by the Senate — the influence of Joseph McCarthy ebbed after his unpopular accusations against the Army.
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:00 AM
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Eisenhower administration strategy

Eisenhower administration strategy
The new administration attempted to reconcile the conflicting pressures from the "Asia firsters" and pressures to cut federal spending while continuing to fight the Cold War effectively. On May 8, 1953, the president and his top advisors tackled this problem in "Operation Solarium", named after the White House sunroom where the president conducted secret discussions. Although it was not traditional to ask military men to consider factors outside their professional discipline, the president instructed the group to strike a proper balance between his goals to cut government spending and an ideal military posture.

The group weighed three policy options for the next year's military budget: the Truman-Acheson approach of containment and reliance on conventional forces; threatening to respond to limited Soviet "aggression" in one location with nuclear weapons; and serious "liberation" based on a thoroughgoing economic response to the Soviet political-military-ideological challenge to Western hegemony: propaganda campaigns, and psychological warfare. The third option was strongly rejected.

Eisenhower and the group (consisting of Allen Dulles, Walter Bedell Smith, C.D. Jackson, and Robert Cutler) instead opted for a combination of the first two, one that confirmed the validity of containment, but with reliance on the American air-nuclear deterrent. This was geared toward avoiding costly and unpopular ground wars.

The Eisenhower administration viewed the atomic bomb as an integral part of U.S. defense, hoping that they would bolster the relative capabilities of the US vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. The administration also reserved the prospects of using them, in effect, as a weapon of first resort, hoping to gain the initiative vis-à-vis the Soviets while reducing costs. By wielding the nation's huge nuclear superiority, the new Eisenhower-Dulles approach was a cheaper form of containment geared toward offering Americans "more bang for the buck."

Thus, the administration increased the number of nuclear warheads from 1,000 in 1953 to 18,000 by early 1961. Despite overwhelming U.S. superiority, one additional nuclear weapon was produced each day. The administration also exploited new technology. In 1955, the eight-engined B-52 bomber, the first true jet bomber designed to carry nuclear weapons, was developed.

As a response to the first-strike threat from Soviet ICBMs the U.S. developed, in less than 3 years, both the mid-range Polaris nuclear missiles and the submarine that carried them. First deployed outside the Swedish west coast in 1960, they ensured U.S. retaliatory capacity against the Moscow area. As part of the deployment, Eisenhower secretly provided Sweden, officially neutral, with a military security guarantee.
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Old 10-28-2006, 04:44 PM
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McCarthyism

McCarthyism
Main article: McCarthyism
Another important strand in American politics of this period was McCarthyism. Named after Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, this was a period of intense anti-communism which lasted from 1948 to about 1956. The government of the United States prosecuted the leadership of the Communist Party USA as well as other individuals suspected of being communists. McCarthy's career faltered in 1954, as his hearings were televised for the first time, allowing the public and press to view his tactics.
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Old 10-29-2006, 08:28 AM
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Europe and the founding of the Warsaw Pact

Europe and the founding of the Warsaw Pact
As the Cold War became an accepted element of the international system the battlegrounds of the earlier period began to stabilize. A de facto buffer zone between the two camps was set up in Central Europe. In the north, Finland agreed to remain neutral in any conflict. In the south, Yugoslavia, while communist, refused to bow to the Soviet Union and also insisted upon neutrality. By joint agreement in 1955, Austria, which had been divided by occupying powers since the war, was made neutral.


Peter Fechter was one of the first casualties of the Berlin Wall. This photo showing Fechter dying after being shot by East German border guards achieved international notoriety.The crucial sticking point was still Germany, after the Allies merged their occupation zones to form the Federal Republic of Germany which became sovereign in 1955. In response, Soviets declared their section, the German Democratic Republic, an independent nation. Neither side acknowledged the division, however, and on the surface both maintained a commitment to a united Germany under their respective governments.

Germany was an important issue because it was regarded as the power center of the continent, and both sides believed that it could be crucial to the world balance of power. While both might have preferred a united neutral Germany, the risks of it falling into the enemy's camp for either side were too high and thus the temporary post-war occupation zones became permanent borders.
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Old 10-29-2006, 04:03 PM
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The Wall

The Wall
An important problem for the Soviets developed, however, as ten of thousands of East Germans were fleeing to the West. To stabilize his European position, Khrushchev created the Warsaw Pact in 1955 to counter West German rearmament and approved East Germany's construction of the Berlin Wall, in 1961, to stop the Germans from leaving the communist East. The Warsaw Pact was formed by the Soviets to counter NATO. The Berlin Wall, however, took a great toll on the international image of the Soviet Union.

While Europe remained a central concern for both sides throughout the Cold War, by the end of the 1950s the situation was frozen. Alliance obligations and the concentration of forces in the region meant that any incident could potentially lead to an all out war, and both sides thus worked to maintain the status quo. Both the Soviets and the United States maintained large numbers of troops and nuclear weapons in Europe.
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Old 10-30-2006, 07:31 AM
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Mutually Assured Destruction

[edit] Mutually Assured Destruction
An important part of the developing stability was based on the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). While the Soviets acquired atomic weapons in 1949, it took years for them to reach parity with the United States. In the meantime, the Americans developed the hydrogen bomb, which the Soviets would match during the era of Khrushchev. New methods of delivery such as submarines and ICBM's meant that both superpowers could easily devastate the other, even after a first strike by the opposition.

This fact often made leaders on both sides extremely reluctant to take risks, fearing that some spark in Berlin could ignite a war that could wipe out all of human civilization. Different avenues were attempted to try to advance their causes; these began to encompass athletics (with the Olympic Games becoming a battleground between ideologies as well as athletes) and culture (with respective countries supporting pianists, chess players, and movie directors).

One of the most important forms of non-violent competition was the space race. The Soviets jumped out to an early lead in 1957 with the launching of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, followed by the first manned flight. The success of the Soviet space program was a great shock to the United States, which had believed itself to be ahead technologically. The ability to launch objects into orbit was especially ominous because it meant Soviet missiles could now hit anywhere on the planet.

The Americans soon had a space program of their own, but remained behind the Soviets until the mid-1960s. American President John F. Kennedy launched an unprecedented effort, promising that, by the end of the 1960s, Americans would land on the moon, which they did, thus beating the Soviets to one of the most important objectives in the space race.

Another alternative to outright battle was the shadow war that was taking place in the world of espionage. The mid-Cold War saw a series of shocking spy scandals in the West, most notably that involving the Cambridge Five. The Soviets also saw several high profile defections to the west, such as the Petrov Affair. Funding for the KGB, CIA and lesser organizations such as MI6 and the Stasi increased greatly, as their agents and influence spread around the world.
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Old 10-30-2006, 06:58 PM
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The rise of the Third World arena of conflict

The rise of the Third World arena of conflict

[edit] Decolonization and the Cold War
The Korean War marked a shift in the focal point of the Cold War, from postwar Europe to East Asia. After this point, proxy battles in the Third World would become an ever-important arena of superpower competition.

The Eisenhower administration adjusted U.S. policy to the impact of decolonization. This shifted the focus of 1947-1949 away from war-torn Europe. By the early 1950s, the NATO alliance had already integrated Western Europe into the system of mutual defense pacts, providing safeguards against subversion or neutrality in the bloc. The Marshall Plan had already rebuilt a functioning Western economic system, thwarting the electoral appeal of the radical left. Now that economic aid had ended the dollar shortage and stimulated private investment for postwar reconstruction, in turn sparing the U.S. from a crisis of over-production and maintaining demand for U.S. exports, the Eisenhower administration was ready to focus on other regions.

The combined effects of two great European wars had weakened the political and economic domination of Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, by European powers. This led to a series of waves of African and Asian decolonization following the Second World War; a world that had been dominated for over a century by Western imperialist powers was now transformed into a world of emerging African, Middle Eastern, and Asian nations. The sheer number of nation states would increase drastically.

The Cold War started placing immense pressure on developing nations to align with one of the superpower factions. Both promised substantial financial, military, and diplomatic aid in exchange for an alliance, in which issues like corruption and human rights abuses were overlooked or ignored. When an allied government was threatened, the superpowers were often prepared and willing to intervene.

In such an international setting, the Soviet Union propagated a role as the leader of the "anti-imperialist" camp, currying favor in the Third World as being a stauncher opponent of colonialism than many independent nations in Africa and Asia. Khrushchev broadened Moscow's policy by establishing new relations with India and other key non-aligned, non-communist states throughout the Third World. Many countries in the emerging Non-Aligned Movement would, in fact, have a close orientation toward Moscow.

In an exercise of the new "rollback" polices, acting on the doctrines of Dulles, Eisenhower thwarted Soviet intervention, using the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to overthrow unfriendly governments. In the Arab world, the focus was pan-Arab nationalism. U.S. companies had already invested heavily in the region, which contained the world's largest oil reserves. The U.S. was concerned about the stability and friendliness of governments in the region, upon which the health of the U.S. economy increasingly grew to depend.
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Old 10-31-2006, 07:44 AM
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Defense pacts in the Third World

Defense pacts in the Third World
The Eisenhower administration attempted to formalize its alliance system through a series of pacts. Its East Asian allies were joined into SEATO while friends in Latin America were placed in the Organization of American States. The ANZUS alliance was signed between the US, Australia and New Zealand. None of these groupings were as successful as NATO had been in Europe.

A rigid anti-communist, John Foster Dulles focused aggressively on Third World politics. He intensified efforts to "integrate" the entire noncommunist Third World into a system of mutual defense pacts, travelling almost 500,000 miles in order to cement new alliances. Dulles initiated the Manila Conference in 1954, which resulted in the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) pact that united eight nations (either located in Southeast Asia or with interests there) in a neutral defense pact. This treaty was followed in 1955 by the Baghdad Pact, later renamed the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), uniting the "northern tier" countries of the Middle East—Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan—in a defense organization.

Many Third World nations, however, did not want to align themselves with either of the superpowers. The Non-Aligned Movement, lead by Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, and Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, attempted to unite the Third World against what was seen as imperialism by both the East and the West.
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Old 10-31-2006, 03:21 PM
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Soviet influence and nationalism in the Third World

Soviet influence and nationalism in the Third World

The Republicans won elections with a platform promising to firm up the containment policy vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. The Kremlin was not the only source of the growing number of international crises in the Middle East, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. Above, Colombian demonstrators protesting US foreign policy attack Vice President Richard Nixon's car in Bogotá in 1958.Dulles, along with most U.S. foreign policy-makers of the era, considered many Third World nationalists and "revolutionaries" as being essentially under the influence, if not control, of the Soviet Union. Ironically, in War, Peace, and Change (1939), he had called Mao Zedong an "agrarian reformer," and, during World War II, he had deemed Mao's followers "the so called 'Red Army faction.'" 5 But he no longer recognized indigenous roots in the Communist Party of China by 1950. In War or Peace, an influential work denouncing the containment policies of the Truman administration, and espousing an active program of "liberation," he writes:

Thus the 450,000,000 people in China have fallen under leadership that is violently anti-American, and takes its inspiration and guidance from Moscow... Soviet Communist leadership has won a victory in China which surpassed what Japan was seeking and we risked war to avert."6
Behind the scenes, Dulles could explain his policies in terms of geopolitics. But publicly, he used the moral and religious reasons that he believed Americans preferred to hear, even though he was often criticized by observers at home and overseas for his strong language.

Two of the leading figures of the interwar and early Cold War period who viewed international relations from a "realist" perspective, diplomat George Kennan and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, were troubled by Dulles' moralism and the method by which he analyzed Soviet behavior. Kennan rejected the argument that the Soviets even had a world design after Stalin's death, being far more concerned with maintaining control of their own bloc. But the underlying assumptions of a monolithic world communism directed from the Kremlin of the Truman-Acheson containment after the drafting of NSC-68 were essentially compatible with those of the Eisenhower-Dulles foreign policy. The conclusions of Paul Nitze's National Security Council policy paper were as follows:

What is new, what makes the continuing crisis, is the polarization of power which inescapably confronts the slave society with the free… the Soviet Union, unlike previous aspirants to hegemony, is animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own, and seeks to impose its absolute authority… [in] the Soviet Union and second in the area now under [its] control… In the minds of the Soviet leaders, however, achievement of this design requires the dynamic extension of their authority... To that end Soviet efforts are now directed toward the domination of the Eurasian land mass."
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Old 11-01-2006, 06:18 PM
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Mossadegh and the CIA in Iran

Mossadegh and the CIA in Iran

Iran's Mohammed Mossadegh attempted to nationalize the country's oil industry in order to receive direct revenue for government programs. The U.S. and United Kingdom, already wary of Mossadegh, then initiated a plan to assist in his overthrow and the reinstitution of the monarchy. CIA documents finally made public in 2000 acknowledge the organization's role in the coup.The United States also reacted with alarm as it watched developments in Iran, which had been in a state of instability since 1951.

Through the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), the British had a monopoly on the transporting pumping, and refining of oil in most of Iran. The company paid production royalties to the government of the Shah— placed on the throne by the British in 1941. But the royalties and salaries to Iranian employees were smaller (AIOC kept 85% of the profits), considering that the company's earnings were ten times greater than its expenses.7 Iran suffered from poverty, and nationalists insisted that controlling the company could alleviate this.

Many Iranians demanded that a higher share of the company's earnings be paid. In response, the AIOC replied that it had a binding agreement with the Shah until 1993, and collaborated with some Iranian political forces to draft a report opposing nationalization. In February 1951, the Iranian prime minister, suspected of being involved with the report— was assassinated and replaced by nationalist Mohammed Mossadegh. Later that year, the new prime minister nationalized his nation's British-owned oil wells. The United States reacted with alarm as it watched Mossadegh begin to confront Western-owned corporations in Iran.

As the Iranians moved toward seizing the reserves, the Truman administration attempted to mediate. The International Court of Justice ruled that a 50/50 profit deal between Iran and the AIOC was an acceptable solution. The British accepted this plan, but Iran refused to back down.

In August 1953, the Shah attempted to dismiss Mossadegh as prime minister only to be ousted himself after large protests and a questionable plebiscite. The Eisenhower administration, convinced that Iran was developing Communist ties, used the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), joining forces with Iran's military leaders to overthrow Iran's government. Mossadegh drew on the Tudeh, Communist Party of Iran, for much of his support. However, by 1953 the party had began to criticize him as a U.S. "puppet." Since the Tudeh was the strongest Communist party in the Middle East at this time, the Eisenhower administration claimed to fear a first Communist takeover in the Middle East. In addition, Iran shared a border with the Soviet Union thus increasing Iran's strategic position. Later Eisenhower cited the August plebiscite, in which Mossadegh gained a fraudulent "99.4%" of the vote, as evidence of Communist influence. [2]

To replace Mossadegh, the U.S. favored the young Mohammed Reza Pahlevi. In return, Pahlevi promised to allow U.S. companies to share in the development of his nation's reserves. According to CIA documents finally made public in 2000, the U.S. provided guns, trucks, armored cars, and radio communications in the CIA-assisted 1953 coup, which elevated Pahlevi from his position as that of a constitutional monarch to that of an absolute ruler.8 With Mossadeq ousted, oil profits were then divided between the Shah's regime and a new international consortium (thus breaking the previous monopoly); in turn, the British were awarded 40% of the country's oil revenues, five US firms (Gulf, Socony Vacuum, Standard Oil of California, Standard Oil of New Jersey, and Texaco) won another 40%, and the rest went to Royal Dutch Shell and Compagnie Française des Pétroles.9 The profits were divided evenly between the consortium and Iran in accordance with the previous ICJ ruling. [3]

Since the turn of the century, the United States had been trying to get into the Iranian oil fields only to encounter still British competition. Now the breakthrough for the U.S. was made possible by the Cold War-era ties to the Shah and under the guidance of the State Department official Herbert Hoover, Jr., who had gained a great deal of experience in the complexities of the international oil problem as a private businessman.
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Old 11-02-2006, 10:18 AM
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Latin America

[edit] Latin America

Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, pictured above with his wife, was the democratically-elected president of Guatemala from 1951-1954. Overthrown in a CIA-led coup, he was replaced by another long succession of military governments.The Eisenhower-Dulles approach did not create, but heighten, the use of covert means, specifically CIA, to overthrow unfriendly governments in the Third World.

US intervention in Latin American politics pre-dated the Cold War. Since the Spanish American War in 1898, interventions against rebellions in Cuba and the Philippines were followed by the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine in 1904, when Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed that that the US assume the role of policeman to thwart changes to the status quo and upheavals in the Caribbean area. At the height of the Mexican Revolution roughly a decade later, US President Woodrow Wilson gave the use of economic and military force against Mexico a humanitarian and liberal rationale. Meanwhile, the scope of US investment continued to grow in the region.

Throughout much of Latin America, reactionary oligarchies ruled through their alliances with the military elite and United States. Although the nature of the US role in the region was established many years before the Cold War, it gave US interventionism a new ideological tinge. But by the mid-20th century, much of the region passed through a higher state of economic development, which bolstered the power and ranks of the lower classes, and left calls for social change and political inclusion more pronounced, thus posing a challenge the strong US influence over the region's economies. By the 1960s, Marxists gained increasing influence throughout the regions, prompting fears in the United States that Latin American instability posed a threat to national security.

Throughout the Cold War years, the US acted as a barrier to socialist revolutions and targeted populist and nationalist governments that were aided by the Communists. The CIA would overthrow other governments suspected of turning procommunist, such as Guatemala in 1954 under Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. The CIA operation PBSUCCESS eventually led to the 1954 coup that removed Arbenz from power. The operation drew on an initial plan first considered in 1951 to oust Arbenz named "Operation PBFORTUNE." Arbenz, who legalized the Communist Party and cooperated with some local elements, was ousted shortly after he had redistributed 178,000 acres (720 km&sup2) of United Fruit Company land in Guatemala. United Fruit had long monopolized the transportation and communications region there, along with the main export commodities, and played a major role in Guatemalan politics. Arbenz was out shortly afterwards, and Guatemala came under control of a repressive military regime. However, the restored United Fruit Company lost it's monopoly in Guatemala shortly afterwords.

After the 1954 CIA-led coup that overthrew the nationalist reformer Arbenz, who was supported by many in the leftist camp in Guatemala, future Latin American revolutionaries would shift to guerrilla tactics, particularly following the Cuban Revolution. Arbenz fell when his military had deserted him. Since then, some future Latin American social revolutionaries and Marxists, most notably Fidel Castro and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua would make the army and governments parts of a single unit and eventually set up single party states. Overthrowing such regimes would require a war, rather than a simple CIA operation, the landing marines, or a cruder invasion scheme like the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
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Old 11-02-2006, 04:01 PM
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Indochina

[edit] Indochina
The U.S. intervention with the greatest ramifications was that in Indochina. Between 1954 and 1961, the administration dispatched economic aid and 695 military advisers to the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), which was battling the National Liberation Front (NLF) guerrillas, which drew its ranks from the southern peasantry and was backed by North Vietnam, which in turn was backed by the Soviet Union and China. The RVN would later be absorbed by its Communist counterpart to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Vietnam remains one of the world's five remaining Communist states.
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Old 11-03-2006, 09:29 AM
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The Suez Crisis and the Arab World

The Suez Crisis and the Arab World

Supporting Egypt's Nasser, the Soviet Union gained influence in the Middle East in the late 1950s.The Middle East in the Cold War was an area of extreme importance and also great instability. The region lay directly south of the Soviet Union and Russia traditionally had great influence in Turkey and Iran. The area also had vast reserves of oil, not crucial for either superpower in the 1950s, but essential for the rapidly rebuilding American allies in Europe and Japan.

The original American plan for the Middle East was to form a defensive perimeter along the north of the region. Thus Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan signed the Baghdad Pact and joined CENTO. The Soviet response was to seek influence in states such as Syria and Egypt. Egypt, a former British protectorate, was one of the region's most important prizes with a large population and political power throughout the region. British forces were thrown out by General Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1956, when he nationalized the Suez Canal.

Eisenhower persuaded the United Kingdom and France to retreat from a badly planned invasion with Israel that was launched to regain control of the canal from Egypt. While the Americans were forced to operate covertly, so as not to embarrass their allies, Khrushchev made loud threats against the "imperialists," and worked to portray himself as the defender of the Third World. Nasser was later lauded around the globe, but especially in the Arab world. While both superpowers courted Nasser the Americans balked at funding the massive Aswan High Dam project. The Soviets happily agreed, however, and signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation with the Egyptians.

Thus, the Suez stalemate was a turning point heralding an ever-growing rift between the Atlantic Cold War allies, which were becoming far less of a united monolith than they were in the immediate aftermath of the World War II. The Western Europeans, with the exclusion of the British until 1971, also developed their own nuclear forces, as well as a Common Market to be less dependent on Washington. Such rifts mirror changes in global economics. American economic competitiveness faltered in the face of the challenges of Japan and West Germany, which recovered rapidly from the wartime decimation of their respective industrial bases. The twentieth-century successor to the UK as the "workshop of the world," the United States found its competitive edge dulled in the international markets while, at the same time, it faced intensified foreign competition at home.
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Old 11-04-2006, 11:09 AM
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South Asia

South Asia
The Indian subcontinent, except perhaps during the war in Afghanistan, was never a primary focus of superpower attention during the Cold War. Europe, East Asia, Latin American, and the Middle East were consistently viewed as being more important to the superpowers' interests. The countries of South Asia, despite containing a fifth of the world's population, were not powerful economies like Japan or Western Europe. Unlike the Middle East with its oil, South Asia was lacking in vital natural resources. The United States' most important interest in the region, however, was the establishment of airfields that could be used as bases for U-2 flights over Soviet territory, or in case of wartime be home to nuclear bombers that could hit Central Asia. Originally, both the Americans and Soviets felt the region would remain in the British sphere of influence, but this was not the case.

There were some strategic reasons to be involved in South Asia. The Americans hoped that the Pakistani armed forces could be used to block any Soviet thrust into the crucial Middle East. It was also felt that as a large and high profile nation, India would be a notable prize if it fell into either camp. India, a fledgeling democracy, was never particularly in any grave danger of falling to insurgents or external pressure from a great power. It also did not wish to ally with the United States.

A key event in the South Asian arena of Cold War competition was the signing of the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement between Pakistan and the United States in 1954. This pact would limit the later options of all the major powers in the region. From this point on, the U.S. was committed to remaining closely tied to Pakistan. For Pakistan, the U.S. alliance became a central tenet of its foreign policy, and despite numerous disappointments with it, it was always seen as far too valuable a connection to abandon. After the Sino-Soviet Split, Pakistan would also pursue close relations with China.

Soviet policy towards South Asia had closely paralleled that of the United States. At first, the Soviets, like the Americans, had been largely disinterested in the region and maintained a neutral position in the Indo-Pakistani disputes. With the signing of the accords between Pakistan and the United States in 1954, along with the countries enlisting in CENTO and SEATO, the situation changed. In 1955, Bulganin and Khrushchev toured India and promised large quantities of financial aid and assistance in building industrial infrastructure. In Sringar, the capital of Kashmir, the Soviet leaders announced that the Soviet Union would abandon its neutralist position and back India in the ongoing Kashmir dispute.

Jawaharlal Nehru was skeptical, however, and, for many of the same reasons that he had wished to avoid entanglements with the United States, he also wished to keep India from being too closely attached to the Soviet Union. Although the U.S.S.R. sent India some aid, and although Nehru became the first non-Communist leader to address the people of the Soviet Union, the two nations remained relatively distant. After Khrushchev's ousting, the Soviets reverted to a neutralist position and moderated the aftermath of the 1965 war. Peace negotiations were held in the Soviet Central Asian town of Tashkent.

By the late 1960s, Indian development efforts had again stalled. A large current accounts deficit had developed and a severe drought hit the agricultural sector hard. As with the downturn of a decade earlier, India again looked to outside assistance. However, relations were at a low ebb with the United States, which was largely preoccupied with Vietnam. On top of that, a number of smaller issues had turned American indifference into antipathy. Western international organizations, such as the World Bank, were also unwilling to commit money to India's development projects without Indian trade concessions.

Along with other Warsaw Pact nations, the Soviets began to provide extensive support for India's efforts to create an industrial base. In 1969, the two powers negotiated a treaty of friendship that would make non-alignment little more than a pretext. Two years later, when faced with a growing crisis in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), India signed the agreement.
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Old 11-05-2006, 04:39 AM
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South Asia and the Sino-Soviet Split

South Asia and the Sino-Soviet Split
Before the Sino-Soviet Split, tensions between China and India complicated Soviet Union's efforts to maintain close relations with both of Asia's leading emerging nations. In March 1959 China suppressed a revolt in Tibet (see invasion of Tibet), leading to open conflict between Beijing and New Delhi. On March 31, the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual and temporal ruler, fled to India, where he was granted asylum over Beijing's protest. India later backed a move in the United Nations general assembly to enter into a full debate on charges of Chinese suppression of human rights in Tibet over the objections of the Soviet bloc. However, despite Moscow's objections to the Indian-backed debate in the UN, Mao grew increasingly frustrated with the Soviet Union's rather muted and reluctant backing of Chinese actions in Tibet.

The Chinese invasion of Tibet preceded a much more dangerous confrontation between India and China. On August 29, 1959, Prime Minister Nehru informed the Indian parliament that Chinese troops had invaded India on both flanks of Tibet and captured frontier posts. Citing tensions with Beijing over the past several years, New Delhi revealed that it no longer accepted the McMahon line between India and China. Changes and countercharges of border violation and aggression were exchanged. On September 9, a few days before his departure for the U.S., Nikita Khrushchev attempted to mediate the disputes between China and India, hoping to appeal to his friendly relations in both parties. However, Beijing’s reaction to the Soviet appeal for "peaceful coexistence" with the West and India was not seen as encouraging; and the fallout of the tensions along the Himalayas caused worldwide speculation over the Moscow-Beijing alliance, which was based on common ideological, political, and military interests.

By the time the Sino-Indian border dispute developed into full fledged fighting in the 1962 Sino-Indian War, the alliance between the world's two leading Communist powers was irreparably shattered. Although the Soviet Union backed China's October 1962 peace offer, urging Nehru to accept it, Khruschev's offer to deliver MiG fighter planes to India sent Sino-Soviet relations into crisis. By the end of 1963, Moscow and Beijing were engaging in open polemics against each other, opening up a period of unhidden hostility between the two former allies that was to take shape for the remainder of the Cold War era.
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Old 11-05-2006, 01:48 PM
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Africa

Africa
One of the first decolonized nations to request Soviet aid was the Democratic Republic of the Congo, under Patrice Lumumba. A large number of United Nations peacekeepers from Western nations had been in the Congo since independence was established in 1960. The U.S. used them to shut down air traffic and prevent Soviet arms and troops from getting into the country. The U.S. decided to remove Lumumba and backed Colonel Joseph Mobutu in a coup that saw Lumumba killed. The Congolese crisis had the effect of alienating from both superpowers some in the third world who saw the Soviets as weak and impotent, the Americans unethical and unscrupulous.
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Old 11-06-2006, 05:57 AM
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Threats to Soviet influence in Eastern Europe

Threats to Soviet influence in Eastern Europe
The 1950s left the pro-Soviet bloc in a precarious position. Stalin's death created popular expectations of a relative relaxation of coercive controls. The slow pace of change contributed to domestic violence throughout Eastern Europe within four years of Stalin's death in March 1953. Despite internal reforms, Khrushchev was not going to allow Eastern Europe to adopt a more independent stance.

In June 1956, four months after the Twentieth Party Congress at which Khrushchev delivered his "secret speech" denouncing Stalinist terror, anti-Soviet riots broke out in Poland. Most signficantly, in 1956, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary which was in a state of revolution. In Hungary, anti-Soviet riots broke out in October 1956 and escalated immediately to full-scale revolt, with Hungarian nationalists calling for full independence, the disbanding of the Communist Party, and withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact. The Soviet Union invaded the country on November 4, 1956. Hungarian prime minister Imre Nagy was arrested and later executed.

The crushing of the rebellion saw a relatively muted response in the West, as it was concurrently divided over the Suez Crisis. Other events left the Soviets with little popular or international support at a period when Soviet-supported international institutions had been popular. Sino-Soviet relations, in particular, were deteriorating.

In the years that followed, Soviet leaders did show some willingness to grant its client states in Eastern Europe some limited local control over domestic political and economic policy, including some freedom in the selection of leading party officials, particularly in W³adys³aw Gomu³ka's Poland; however, throughout the remainder of the Cold War years, Soviet military power and occupation forces were the main guarantees of suppressing Western influence within Communist Eastern Europe.
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Old 11-06-2006, 02:31 PM
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The Cuban Revolution

Cuba

Fidel Castro embracing Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
[edit] The Cuban Revolution
Main article: Cuban Revolution
The Soviets garnered a huge victory when they formed an alliance with Cuba after Fidel Castro's successful revolution in 1959. This was a major coup for the Soviet Union, which had garnered an ally only miles from the American coast.

Before the fall of the pro-U.S. Batista regime, U.S. interests had owned four fifths of the stakes in the island's utilities, nearly half of its sugar, and nearly all of its mining industries. The U.S. could manipulate the Cuban economy at a whim by merely tinkering with the island's financial services or by tinkering with government quotas and tariffs on sugar — the country's staple export commodity. The U.S. landed U.S. Marines three times, in efforts to support its interests, between the ratification of the Platt Amendment in 1902 and the Revolution in 1959, although it had not directly occupied the country since 1909.

Castro then signed a trade agreement in February 1960 with the Soviet Union, which would emerge as a market for the island's agricultural commodities (and a new source for machinery, heavy industrial equipment, and technicians) that could replace the country's traditional patron — the United States. Overthrowing the new regime became a focus for the U.S. government, through the CIA.
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Old 11-07-2006, 10:23 AM
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The Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis

[edit] The Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis
For details see the main articles Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Hoping to copy the success of Guatemala and Iran in 1961, the CIA, noting the large wave of emigration to the U.S. after Castro took power, trained and armed a group of Cuban exiles who landed at the Bay of Pigs where they were to attempt to spark an uprising against the Castro regime. The assault failed miserably, however. Afterwards, Castro publicly declared himself a Marxist-Leninist and set up Cuba as the first Communist state in the Americas and continued to nationalize virtually all major industries in the country. The Soviet government seized on the abortive invasion as a rationale for the placing of nuclear missiles which could strike many points in the U.S. at once.

In response, President Kennedy quarantined the island, and after several intense days the Soviets decided to retreat in return for promises from the U.S. not to invade Cuba and to pull missiles out of Turkey. After this brush with nuclear war, the two leaders banned nuclear tests in the air and underwater after 1962. The Soviets also began a huge military buildup. The retreat undermined Khrushchev, who was ousted soon afterwards and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev.

The Cuban Revolution led to Kennedy's initiation of the "Alliance for Progress" program. The program was to provide billions of dollars of loans and aid over the course of the 1960s for economic development in order to stave off socialist revolution. The Alliance also contained counterinsurgency measures, such as the establishment of the Jungle Warfare School in the Panama Canal Zone and the training of police forces.
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