ROOTS AND STRATEGIES OF THE COLD WAR BEFORE REAGAN
Part I’s six chapters illuminate the irreconcilable contrast between the founding faiths, institutions, historical experience and strategies that shaped the global Cold War conflict between the superpower protagonists, the United States and the Soviet Union. These realities remain largely unknown or ignored not only in post-Soviet Russia, still locked into historical evasion and great power nostalgia, but also in democratic societies that face new threats in a world marked by totalitarian ideologies and regimes and weapons of mass terror and destruction.
America’s Freedom Faith vs. Marxism-Leninism. Readers are encouraged to begin their study of the roots and course of the Cold War through the chief protagonists’ views of history, human nature and the future as reflected in their founding faiths and national experience, beginning with America’s. The first chapter reviews the founding documents and historical experience of the United States as a democracy, that, notwithstanding deep racial wounds, stood for freedom principles, strengths, and political processes grounded in God-given individual human rights and equality before the law, protected by democratic institutions to assure separation and limits of state power in governments “of, for, and by the people” and dedicated to expanding freedom, justice, and peaceful human progress. The next chapters demonstrate that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in contrast, was a totalitarian Communist regime grounded in the pseudo-scientific materialistic and collectivist nineteenth-century doctrines of Karl Marx implemented in twentieth-century Russia by Vladimir Lenin. Lenin, in turn, collaborated with Imperial Germany during the First World War to end the democratic path set by the Russian Provisional Government coalition that had earlier forced the Czar’s abdication. Lenin’s successor, Joseph Stalin, further brutalized the Marxist-Leninist blueprint through permanent civil war and purges at home to enforce absolutist Communist Party rule in a Soviet super state. After first collaborating with Hitler’s National Socialist totalitarians and Imperial Japan, Stalin left the Axis and joined the Allies after Hitler’s invasion of Russia. Stalin later betrayed the Soviet alliance with the Western democracies by imposing a totalitarian “Socialist Camp” of captive nations behind an Iron Curtain and targeting Western democratic nations and emerging Third World nations with subversion, deception, intimidation, and outright invasion.
Wilson through Truman Strategies. The Communist ideological blueprint created tens of millions of victims and rising threats to the cause of peace, freedom and human progress, but was not well understood by U.S. and Western leaders even in the face of compelling historic realities. Woodrow Wilson’s post-First World War food assistance programs were ended by Soviet charges of interference, even as Lenin and Stalin collaborated with Weimar Germany to help it break the Versailles Treaty. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union in 1933 was exploited by Moscow’s intensified subversion and espionage. Stalin’s collaboration with Nazi Germany betrayed democratic socialists in Spain and Germany and culminated in the Hitler-Stalin Pact that launched the Second World War in 1939 with a dual invasion of Poland. At the same time, Stalin’s April 1941 Neutrality Pact with Imperial Japan facilitated Japan’s December 1941 attacks on the United States and other nations. After the Nazi invasion of Soviet Russia forced Stalin to resist the Nazis through four years of war, the U.S. provided enormous “Lend Lease” aid to Moscow while also winning major victories against Axis forces in key global war fronts from which Soviet forces were absent. The Soviets, however, did not moderate their totalitarian objectives. They betrayed their wartime pledges yielded at Potsdam to Roosevelt and Harry Truman, violently imposed new Communist regimes in their occupied captive nations, and stepped up their aggressive actions against democracies throughout the globe.
Truman through Carter Strategies. Harry Truman’s initial post-Second World War policies of U.S. military demobilization and his proposals for atomic controls and Marshall Plan aid to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union were met with Soviet policies of arms buildups, captive nations, rejection, and stepped up terror, “active measures” subversion and aggression from Europe to Asia, including Korea, and throughout the Third World. Dwight Eisenhower’s, John Kennedy’s, and Lyndon Johnson’s U.S. nuclear deterrence strategies of “massive retaliation” and Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), and the overall U.S. Cold War strategy of “containment” all failed to produce Soviet democratic reforms or adherence to international agreements and law, or to reverse Soviet global imperial momentum. Nor did the variants of the U.S. “détente” strategy of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter, as accommodationist U.S. policies increasingly reduced U.S. leverage on the militant Soviet leaders. The U.S. Cold War strategies failed to build effectively on U.S. freedom principles and strengths or to understand, moderate, or effectively counter the Soviet Union’s totalitarian Marxist-Leninist nature and growing threat to international peace and freedom. Until Ronald Reagan.
Continue to Chapter 1