Ironically, Stalin provided the strongest argument in favor of the Marshall Plan. Soviet officials engineered a farcical election in Hungary in August that resulted in a Communist landslide. Even more alarming, Stalin ordered Soviet forces to invade Czechoslovakia in February The takeover of pro-Soviet forces in both nations ended the debate in Congress and convinced most of the opponents of the Marshall Plan that Communism would spread throughout Europe unless the United States took proactive measures to repair the European economy.
Germany was divided into four different sectors. Berlin was also divided into four sectors but was in the Soviet sector in the east. Most historians agree that distributing aid through the Marshall Plan was essential to preventing suffering and the spread of Communism. Together with the efforts of the European people themselves, US aid provided the temporary assistance needed to prevent destitution and the long-term capital investment required for industrial recovery.
By the early s, Western Europe was again prospering and Communist parties had lost most of their supporters. The success of the Marshall Plan was most obvious in Germany, which had been divided into American, French, British, and German sectors. Berlin was located in the Soviet sector in eastern Germany but was also divided into four sectors.
While the sectors of Berlin and the part of Germany under Western control were starting to recover by , conditions improved little in the Soviet-controlled eastern sectors. The US, British, and French sectors of Germany moved toward a single currency in preparation for uniting these sections as an independent nation.
The plan alarmed Stalin, who responded by ordering a blockade of all land and water routes to Berlin in June This meant that nothing would be allowed to enter the US sector of Berlin from the west, even much-needed humanitarian aid. Stalin gambled that the Western nations would be unable to provide for the 2 million residents in their sectors of Berlin and would have to abandon their control of the city. Likewise, the incredible logistical success and generosity of the Berlin Airlift provided the world with a contrasting vision of the two superpowers.
After it became clear that the Americans could maintain the airlift indefinitely, Stalin lifted the blockade in May That same month, the Western powers united their three sections and created the Federal Republic of Germany West Germany as a constitutional democracy. Five months later, a provisional Communist government was established in the Soviet sector; this section would be known in the United States as East Germany, although its official name was the German Democratic Republic.
With the creation of East Germany, Europe was almost completely divided between Soviet-backed Communist nations in the Eastern- and Western-aligned nations of the Mediterranean and Western Europe. Months later, China established a Communist government. The United States responded to these events by continuing to provide economic aid to non-Communist states, increasing military spending, and forming the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO A military alliance originally formed in between the United States and other nations in North America and Europe in response to the perceived aggression of Communist nations.
Today, NATO has expanded to twenty-eight members.
The Cold War in East Asia: 1st Edition (Paperback) - Routledge
While the numbers of troops were relatively small, the US role as the leader of NATO symbolized the end of American isolationism and prompted a similar response from the Soviet Union. In May , Russia responded by calling a meeting in Poland, where it would create a similar alliance for the Communist nations of Eastern Europe. The Soviet Union also attempted to create their own version of the Marshall Plan to aid the economies of the Communist Eastern bloc nations.
The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance COMECON provided some aid to its member nations despite the relative weakness of the Soviet economy, which was saddled with disproportionately large expenditures in military and space programs. Truman and his advisers rarely considered China on its own terms, choosing instead to view events in Asia in the context of Europe and the Cold War.
The same is true of the American media in the s. As a result, most Americans assumed that the actions of Asian leaders were the product of American and European foreign policies. The criticism discounts the agency of people in China who supported Communist leaders over the alternative, but few in the United States considered events from this point of view. Dozens of Republican politicians seized this perception and swept to office in the and Congressional elections. In reality, the nationalist forces Mao had defeated represented an extremely undemocratic and unpopular dictatorship.
There was likely very little America could have done to prevent the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek, the corrupt leader of nationalist forces who was exiled to Taiwan in The United States also formalized an alliance with Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, and Australia that provided these nations with US aid in return for military bases throughout the Pacific.
In , Truman also committed US forces to a war in Korea and began providing economic and military aid to French forces fighting in Vietnam. Tensions rose between Jews and Arabs in the region as Britain sought a plan that would be acceptable to all parties while promoting stability in the region. Arabs were especially concerned by the arrival of Jewish settlers in the early s.
In , the British again tried to negotiate an agreement between Zionists and Palestinians regarding shared use of the region. However, even the diplomats selected to represent Zionist and Palestinian perspectives refused to acknowledge the existence of the other. The horrors of the Holocaust and British guilt for blocking the escape of European Jews to Palestine led to renewed support for a Jewish homeland in Europe.
Great Britain still controlled Palestine but sought to avoid any settlement that might anger either side. As a result, Britain announced they would follow the advice of the United Nations. In , the UN voted to partition Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem becoming the capital of both nations.
The plan appeared reasonable to outsiders, but neither side considered the issue settled.
Part of the problem was that there was no way to create an all-Jewish or all-Palestinian nation without forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes. Israel was created as a new nation in with the intention of setting aside certain areas for Palestinians. The new nation was surrounded by Arabic countries that sought to challenge its existence, leading to a series of wars and territory disputes. The outbreak of World War II and the expanding commitments of the military increased the importance of the region to the US government, while US oil companies recognized the need to expand production.
The American Occupation of Japan: The Origins of the Cold War in Asia
The US and British governments had promised to consult with Arabic leaders prior to making or supporting any major policy affecting the Middle East. Both Roosevelt and his successor Truman fully understood the importance of Palestine for both Jews and Arabs. Like the British leaders, the US leaders were wary of any action that might promote instability in the region. However, Truman and other US leaders were also deeply influenced by the Holocaust. They knew that the death toll was exacerbated by British and American refusal to allow Jewish refugees into their nations. After all, Britain had declared that Palestine would become a Jewish homeland under the Balfour Declaration.
The situation grew tense as nearly a quarter-million Jewish refugees, many of whom were Holocaust survivors, were living in camps throughout Europe waiting for permission to immigrate to Palestine or other locations. Many Americans hoped that the existence of a Jewish nation in Palestine would settle the issue and there would be no need to alter US immigration policies.
Others feared that backlash of the Palestinian majority would lead to instability in the region and jeopardize the business relations between US oil companies and the Arab world. Although most commended the action as a way of preventing future atrocities against Jews around the globe, some historians believe that US support of Israel was largely influenced by the fact that its creation helped to discourage Jewish migration to the United States. The United States was the first to extend diplomatic recognition to Israel when it became an independent nation in May However, Israel was also surrounded by hostile states that pledged to attack it as soon as British troops left.
As predicted, once the British mandate had expired and its troops returned to the island, Israel was immediately invaded by several neighboring Arab countries. The attackers failed to effectively combine their forces, and Israel not only defeated these forces but also expanded its territory.
- Japanese History/The American Occupation of Japan.
- Revisiting America's Occupation of Japan: Cold War History: Vol 11, No 4.
- Hypertension Therapy Annual 2002.
The Israeli victory and its resulting territorial gains resulted in , Arab refugees fleeing from these lands and an ongoing controversy regarding the status of these lands. Although the priority of US policymakers in the Middle East following World War II remained focused on oil exploration and containment of Communism, America would increasingly view Israeli-Palestinian relations as a leading issue of concern.
Tens of thousands of American Jews also migrated to Palestine following its creation in These were not the only Americans who traveled to the Middle East during this era, as dozens of American and British enclaves were created as oil companies expanded throughout the region. Kirkuk, Iraq; Abadan, Iran; and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and other centers of oil exploration became home to tens of thousands of Americans. The company was formed from an agreement between Standard Oil and a regional Arabian leader named Ibn Saud. The US camp at Dhahran was literally a city within a city, as the Arabic workers were not allowed in the walled American compound, which featured air-conditioned shopping centers and modern hospital facilities.
While the Americans lived in relative luxury, the Arabic workers lived in makeshift shanties and were paid less than a dollar per day. The monarch used his share of oil revenues to consolidate both religious and secular authority, replacing a variety of more liberal Islamic sects that had existed throughout Arabia.
Saud believed in the literal interpretation of the Koran and instituted Sharia law. Despite the fact that his views were considered by Westerners as violations of human rights and especially the rights of women, US business and political leaders embraced the Saudi leadership. Mossadeq introduced a number of progressive reforms such as public housing and social security.
He had hoped to pay for these programs through the nationalization Occurs when a government takes control of economic assets such as land or an entire industry. Although previously under private ownership, the entity in question becomes publicly owned. Occupation policies to address the weakening economy ranged from tax reforms to measures aimed at controlling inflation. However the most serious problem was the shortage of raw materials required to feed Japanese industries and markets for finished goods.
The conflict also placed Japan firmly within the confines of the U. In the third phase of the occupation, beginning in , SCAP deemed the political and economic future of Japan firmly established and set about securing a formal peace treaty to end both the war and the occupation.