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tv   Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Cold War  CSPAN  May 1, 2016 8:00pm-9:16pm EDT

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presidency, military historian jeremy black dates the origin of the cold war back to world war i and challenges the general narrative about the conflict. he focuses on the role of dwight d. eisenhower as a military man and president. the new york historical society hosted this event. it is an hour and 15 minutes. ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for coming out on a wet morning. i will try to do my best to warm us all up with solace. what i want to try and do is to use eisenhower to look at the cold war and look at the cold war to look at eisenhower. p is worth bearing in mind that there wereeriods --periods caused conflict.
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the 1950's of the united states are the eisenhower years. these are the years in which represent a high point, that the only high point, but a high point for the cold war. speaking about the cold war and thinking about the united states, it is worth bearing in mind that the legacy, the history of the cold war was one of much of america's 20th century. the only time american forces actually fought soviet forces was not during the time you think of the cold war, 1945 1948, running up to 1989, because the cold war .ctually begin in 1917 indeed, much of eisenhower's
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army which served with him and the american political society was framed by the fact that america was one of the coalition of powers that went to war with the communist and the russians, that the idea that russia represented communism or a compulsion, represented in ideological challenge to the united states and the challenge of american 19erests begins in the late 10's. in many respects, what we call the cold war is in part the directl. p brown told me about his position that the soviet union in the beginning of the 70's which they would deny the crime of united states on the basis of the united states'actions in the late 1910's.
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that is when american soldiers were fighting with communist. let's look back at the cold war. characterizes the second world war as an interlude , an interlude that is formative for american history, but an interlude and what happens in the late 1940's is the presumption of usual services, the resumption of conflict and tension between the soviet union and the united states, and the eisenhower generation, that was their way of thinking about it. americans went into the russian civil war as part of the 14 nation coalition. the great powers, the powers in particular that defeated germany in world war i regarded the war with russia bolster this -- all
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, that they regarded this as a continuation of world war i. the new linen had been encouraged --lenin had been encouraged, they put them on the train that went to st. petersburg. in many senses, western forces treaty in 1918 and was a background for the german attack on the western front in 1918, the new agreement. some people with geopolitical thinkers, strategic thinkers, of course, you must bear in mind that eisenhower's background with world war ii is he was in the army planning division of war. the actual danger, the most important strategic danger confronting the west was the idea of the combination of germany in the soviet union. .gain, not a surprise
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a historian writing in 1984 that emphasized the threat posed by possible german-russian coalitions and indeed, this seemed to be the key element. the allies go into russia and it does not work. see, if, as we often you intervene on behalf of a weak force and the russians were weak and an unpopular force, it does not bring you any success just because you apply strong military. didactual intervention contain soviet expansion. as a result of the intervention, love you, lithuania and estonia escaped the embrace of the soviet union, and as a result of the intervention by the french, poland pushes out and defeats a
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russian invasion in 1920 and the soviet plan, which has been used to use the revolution for a rapid takeover of europe, fails. america, in terms of the isolationist direction in 1920's, the russian civil war is fought. president such as harding, coolidge who are not, indeed, also roosevelt, are not tremendously interested in the outside world which creates a problem in the geopolitics in the world. the efforts to contain the soviet coming is him and expansion in the 1920's and 1930's is formed by surviving western democracies that have been part of the coalition. the reason americans tend to
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think of the cold war as in the 1930's and 1940's was because they were not an active part in it. the americans were restrainingn radicalism in their backyard. they are try to deal with what they see as left wing peasants being stirred up by the soviets. the american army in 19 19 had rawn up plans called plan white motivated by strikes in seattle because of a shipment of arms. it is worth bearing in mind that there were some americans who will tell you that vietnam was a unique experience, that never had before the american people been so beside it, but that is complete rubbish. vietnam was actually a toytown.
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into war, you have the western powers, particularly written in france playing the role in restraining. this is one of the factors that encourages the ultimate revisionist, the man who wishes to complete the terror of international order, to actually ally with stalin in 1939. both of them are leaders who are anti-democratic, who are opposed to western liberal society, capitalism and they find common their ideologies are different, but they find common interest in combining in 1939, and of course, no accident that the powers that took independence and liberty at the end of world war i, when the poland,ad collapsed, lithuania, estonia fall victim to either germany or germany in
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soviet union -- and the soviet union. germany and the soviet union our allies because germany in the seven union our allies, the to block a germany is not going to work. on top of that, germany is also allied with japan in of others local difficulty on the border of 1939. league, a coalition of frightening proportions. no one knows but this is going to lead. what it appears to lead to a 1940 is collapse of the world order. in 1940, remember, eisenhower, to give you the background, spends most of his time growing up in kansas.
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goes into the army on top of his class, and goes to the west point, ended world war i sees no military service. he is not a man like truman. he goes into training. this is very important, but it is not what was people did in world war i. in the 1920's and 1930's, he spends a lot of time on the staff in one of the most active of the american military that of theich is philippines where he is number two under macarthur. he is a very talented man, does extremely well and he is put in the division of the american army war planning. the army and the navy, what goes is 1940.y wrong
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1940 in many senses is the cataclysm for american foreign-policy strategy and geopolitics that they had all been dreading, and in a sense, they had done very little because of their clinical advances to prepare for. that is the collapse of france in the near collapse of britain. this is really frightening to the americans. what it means and it appears obvious britain is either going to collapse or settle with the germans. essentially the united states is going to be on its own, and at that point the situation is quite troubling. staff is ledval and german navy built up under plans of a major war against united states including aircraft
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carriers. they had never had these before. the plan included that. the naval staff is planning to projection of german powers in the western hemisphere it is funny to establish bases in the in ands of spa portugal. they are planning these in the canaries, and the americans get really worried. if you go to this day, there is a museum near northward, virginia with the norma's guns installed in 1941 on the eastern shore of the chesapeake, big railway guns that would recoil and taken back on the railroad lines, and they are designed to stop bismarck if they tried to american atlantic
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plea northward. as a result of the military planning, one of the most important pieces of legislation to come through congress in the 20th century, the two oceans act is published in 1940. congress agrees to fund, told above a navy and the french navy is now out of the equation, italy on top of that is with the axis. britain's navy is taking a pummeling. joseph kennedy is writing back from london. the assumption is the british are out of the equation. they for the money for the two ocean navy act, to have a navy equivalent in size of both japan and germany. , as is a formidable program program that incidentally comes in 1944,ally in 1943 the enormous naval conglomerates which enables the americas to do
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buildtly well, because to a big ship takes a long time. the american military is preparing for a really difficult scenario. counterfactual's play a role, hitler, as it were, how should one describe it? hitler, who is essentially a mad" i might use the term " but that would be unfair on the insane. [laughter] mr. black: the problem is his brutal ideas of the racial recasting of the world. he also attacks the soviet union. people is a two, and it is a terrible mistake, well, you have to be more careful. it in napoleon did
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it. the attack on the soviet union destroys the blocky is formed, and by that very act wea kens the opposition to the united states. thenhower comes into picture, because having drawn up the army plans, they had initially included prospects of the means to invade western because it had been dominated by the germans. his navy calls for american forces in europe and he is responsible for the torch in 1942 andf africa he is in charge of the american operations and he has been transferred to prepare for the invasion of western europe. this is where we are in 1944. d-day has succeeded. eisenhower by 1944 is actually
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america's leading general as it were in the field. he is not actually personally role.tton or bradley as you can see, all ready by then, you are getting the configuration of the cold war building up because this will be at the very same time that the allies are having invaded france and moving toward germany, soviet forces are making rapid progress in eastern europe. what is interesting, and this is an aspect of a very notable aspect of the allied case of world war ii is the military, the american military, the british military and indeed the soviet military play a very little role in the actual policy making at this stage, and in a way what is interesting is the military respect and follow the constitutional norms is the american government of the
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.merican military policy the contrast is noticeable with japan were there is a military government. tojo is the military government until 1945 and a new military government comes in. in germany, some of the generals, a minority of them, at the generals tried to overthrow hitler in 1944, but unfortunately they make a bad job of it. nonetheless, what you are actually have in the case of germany and japan is the interaction of the military leadership and politics playing a big role. eisenhower has no real views in the sense that he does what he is told on the strategic quest, as you know if you look at the enormous route between the american and british policy makers on whether they should invade the balkans,
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whether they should land on the coast of yugoslavia and move into hungary and austria in order to preempt the soviet advance. convinced what we call the cold war, the confrontation with the soviet union, he was convinced it would start all over again, and indeed by late 1944, british troops had sent troops with communist try to take over the government. roosevelt thinks this is totally appalling. churchill, secretary of state during the russian civil war was actually taking a key role, but not very successfully. he sees himself as taking part in the same role. ultimately, the americans taking a benign view of stolen.
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-- stalin. he tricks and repeatedly over the fate of poland, which was the major issue. this map is rapidly transformed into a map in which soviet forces are in control in eastern europe, and again, that background is not really , he communist governments are in power. -- the communist governments are in power. eisenhower has become the army chief of staff. as army chief of staff he has to respond to the situation. he is in a very difficult position. want to havepublic the troops back home. the troops have signed up for the duration, volunteered for
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the duration, and there is an enormous demobilization of the american military immediately after the war. the number of divisions falls rapidly, the number of warships and this is encourage by new military technology because the new technology, the atom bomb was dropped in japan in 1945, improved america could actually ensure its interest in a very inexpensive way, and i suppose one of the keys to american policymaking in the entire period of 1945 on word is the havecans -- onward wish to a great power inexpensively. they used to refer to american policy is cheap, but the point is the american public did not want to fundamentally change the living standards and fund the
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alteration of their constitution to match the situation of being repaired for world war iii. no one asked the soviet population what they wanted, so it is just as well not to. stalin goes on to hand his executions right up to the end in 1953. eisenhower is in charge of the army, of an army that is my withizing, in are b many discontented. there is no equivalent to the revolt of the admirals in the inhe navy's real fury the late 1940's to make way for the strategic air command. eisenhower thinks this is a similar scenario and he himself leads the military and he comes
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to new york, actually becomes president of columbia university . he comes to new york and he leads both the political world and the military world. he is reborn, if you like by the cold war because the cold war becomes more intensive in the late 1940's. 1948, the soviet takeover check is a nokia. -- czechoslovakia. combined with the fact that the british and the french have been pressing the americans to take over security roles and combined with the berlin blockade, the attempt by the soviets to drive western forces out of berlin, it leads to the americans to determine to take a more active role in international relations and specifically to the formation of nato in 1949.
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that is significant because it brings with it an american guarantee of security of western europe and the guarantee which is substantiated by the deployment of troops. on the basis of that, eisenhower gets a new role, becomes the first military commander of nato forces and his buyable job -- viable job is to make these forces corporal and draw up plans for war, for how to conduct war in the conflict of the soviet union. not easy at all because you are dealing with so many variables that have been increased because the soviets have exploded nuclear devices. they have attracted some weapon buying. you can relatively easy make an
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atom bomb and turn it into a weapon you can use. what is clear is the american monopoly of nuclear weapons has ended and is ending, that the american monopoly of delivery systems is going to end very rapidly. the soviet is building long rage .ombers -- range bombers the question is, what to do about this? yearsower, in his last spends a lot of time on military planning. he has opportunities to see the deficiencies, problems and opportunities posed by politics. eisenhower is a brilliant lyrical general, -- political general. the korean war is a coalition because it is the united nations only, there are americans there, but there are
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also a lot of other people, the british, people from a whole host of other countries. thesehur really tees people off. every country does, explains its own history in its own terms, what americans do not realize, one of the reasons macarthur had to go was because truman was told it was impossible for british troops to serve under his control. because there cannot run coalition all warfare or .isenhower was brilliant he understood the opportunities provided by a large number of troops in western europe, who even as they are fighting quality could be relied upon to do something to oppose the but also the problems
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posed that these other countries have different political roles, particularly the tension he will see in the suez crisis of 1956, eisenhower's anger of british and french going to war with egypt is already there. he is already, like most policymakers, angry with the british and french because they are devoting so much of their sources -- resources to maintain their authority in their colonies. as far as eisenhower and american policymakers are concerned, this is not the way to confront communism, etc. there is already that tension. it is not my job to talk to you about geopolitics. one has to be careful when coming to this country. your president is going to come to my country and tell us we have to stay in the european union. [laughter] mr. black: you think about if
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the british prime minister was to come to america until you you all needed to give up guns. you would be very offended. eisenhower he comes the republican candidate in a very interesting fashion. he is the only former general to become president in the 20th century. it had been a common practice prior to that in american history. many american presidents both well-known presidents, people like ulysses s. grant and andrew jackson and george washington had been generals and people not so well known, henry harrison, there have been many presidents who have been generals, no fewer than four union generals before the civil war to become president. this practice was gone. result had a military background that his military background has and not that of being a general
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and in practical terms, his military experience is that of a civil servant politician in the navy and not in admirable. rather interesting to imagine what he would've been like as this. the idea of having a general as president did not seem that implausible to people at the end of the 1940's and beginning of the 1950's. america had fought the war with a civilian mail population, many of them turned into soldiers. ,t'd been a national experience in terms of america's wars, a singularly inclusive experience. eisenhower and if it's from that and with his war record. there was also the danger that there was another general who wanted to be president, yet again, macarthur comes up
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repeatedly emergencies -- emerges in eisenhower's career. there were civilian politicians as well, but none of them had traction, and also the republicans, having lost elections repeatedly, republicans had not won an election for over two decades at the presidential level. they had this did encourage them to think that they needed to reinvent the political lexicon. he comes to be president at the beginning of 1953, at a time at which the cold war is at a very high point. with the encouragement of stalin
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-- the north koreans embeds the harder.t proved much despite naval superiority, despite deploying considerable troops, it had proved possible to stop the communist forces, but not to actually defeat them. that was a shock. debate.ifficult to as to whether the chief priority should be containment, which in had become the policy of the truman government, or if it should be rolled back, rollback the idea of pushing back the communist powers some way and by some fashion. he was to re-consent july's containment.
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he was not to endorse rollback. he regarded rollback is far to janie -- 42 dangerous in an atomic age when one wouldn't know what michael what might happen. the people are always willing to bear the burden and there was no sign that they were going to stop. eisenhower uses the atom bomb and the american ability to .rop it in large numbers he threatened to use the atom bomb if the war didn't end. very strong brinkmanship was shown in 1953, much stronger in the vietnam war. and it succeeds. that is one of his great foreign-policy successes.
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to put the korean peninsula into a kind of long phrase. not a very attractive outcome. certainly an unattractive outcome with a north korean population who are left in a slave society. but ending up in a situation which provides an effective containment. remember, and effective containment which contrasted of the commonre tang in china and contrasted inh the french about to fail the it non-, laos and cambodia. eisenhower urges the french to fight on in indochina. the french are still in charge of all of the cities in french indochina.
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they were in control of more than the americans and the south vietnamese in the vietnam war. all of the european countries were bust because of world war ii. the french say they will go on fighting if the americans will commit troops. eisenhower decides not to pay , in a cost-benefit analysis, having seen the expense of the korean war, he it is not the americans pulled back and the geneva conference is mediated by the british and the soviets in order to come up with an unworkable compromise. eisenhower's essential policy of
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containment is one in which he argues that rollback is to too dangerous. he begins a process. he succeeded by collective leadership from which chris jeff and merges. eisenhower begins the summit. in 1955 at geneva, he says to leadingough, that then leader -- the soviets are able to copy that more quickly than they have the atomic long. by 1954, both sides have the hydrogen bomb. eisen -- eisenhower says, if two, is war between the
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that will be the end of the human race in the western hemisphere. i think that does condition of his attitude. he is one of these figures the does understand what war entails and understands that the arithmetic of nuclear deterrent is one that can be used to deterrent effect but also can pose consequences if one move store. great potential of the nuclear weaponry, because eisenhower does not wish america to have an extraordinarily big military establishment, what he actually does is paradoxical because of his back ground in the army. of theinues the rundown army and the navy in the
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mid-1950's. the navy had revived during the korean war. mid-50's, eisenhower decides to put much more focus on developing airpower and the new generation of bombers that are going to be used to drop nuclear weapons. the united states moves in that direction with one other important addition. eisenhower is a great believer of the use of what we might call subversion. he believes that one should use a regular means to overthrow hostile governments. he is very much aware of and supports the use of that in the case of iran and in the case of guatemala. and to considerable extent, he is successful. he doesn't like it if other powers do the same thing.
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takes us to thinking about something that is worth noticeable for the 1960's. the biggest american success in the use of force in the 1960's and in geopolitics is the role of the cia in helping right-wing indonesian generals to topple sukarno in indonesia. and then in the destruction of the indonesian communist party, a conflict in which 120,000 people died. area,sia is a far larger fourth-largest population, strategic resources. let's see where we got. i take it everybody knows where indonesia is. the me see if i can get this one. there you go. all of that area there.
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and strategically much more important than south vietnam, modest-sized country. indonesia also is one of the great sources of world oil outside of the middle east. indonesia has oil in both sumatra and borneo. and the americans under eisenhower had tried to topple sukarno in 1957. cia operation late to opposition -- linked to opposition. in cia had backed operation sumatra. and it used aircraft, similar things that we used in the bay of pigs. that did not work out. it reflected eisenhower's belief that it was powerful -- possible examinee to use
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means in order to foster and further a world order that was more acceptable. another thing that eisenhower does is he expends the security architecture of the world is containment. iraq was under a pro-western government in 1958. to be used towere bomb the soviet union in the event of war. -- ais a western airline western ally. iran is a western ally. pakistan is a western ally. big disappointment when the government is overthrown in iraq in 1958. nanahat is an overthrow by
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-- by nationalist army officers to which the soviet union is closely linked. he is very much in favor of trying to develop [indiscernible] relationshiphe going with australia and new zealand. so there is a security architecture under eisenhower. and it works reasonably well. rows about his repetition during the cold war rusts and part on the suez crisis and in part in the crisis. that wereonal figures held up as heroes by the left around the world, they tended to be army officers who sees -- who seized power through coups.
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the british had left egypt with an agreement with the egyptians that they would remain the authority of the suez canal. pulled their they troops out of the suez canal and egyptians agreed that freedom would continue through the suez canal. the british government saw crystal -- soccer no master is a threat -- the british government saw colonel master as a threat. these were both monarchies. different branches of the dinner state -- the dynasty.
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they saw the left-wing revolutionary was going to overthrow these british allies. the french were concerned about the fact that nasa was supporting opposition in algeria, which was not only a french colony, but under french law was under metropolitan france. both britain and france sought egypt as a revolutionary force. of course, the israelis were really concerned because egypt had been supporting plo and sponsoring terrorism, quite large-scale terrorism, terrorist attacks against israel. so the three powers dream up a scheme in which the israelis are going to attack egypt. the british and the french will and sendm to arbitrate their troops into the suez canal. and the idea is that the egyptian government will be defeated and overthrow.
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-- overthrown. it didn't work. it could have worked if it had been federal -- been better handled. it was poorly handled. if you want to overthrow a government, you need to do it quickly. that is the basic rule. theamericans intervene in sense that they make it absolutely clear that they are furious with this. they say that they will block oil shipments to britain and to helpe, that they will not the sterling or franc, to drive them down. and the british government panics and pulls out. and the israelis are bullied into pulling out of sinai. empire.ish scuffle for
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the view on this is varied. some people have said eisenhower was absolutely right, that the british and the french were behaving in an anachronistic fashion. that the imperialist interest was wrong as well as foolish. understoodsenhower instead that it was necessary for america to appeal to liberal thought in the third world. world order ofew the third world against the soviets. is the proview. the anti-view is that eisenhower was naive and stupid. he didn't understand that the choice was in fact a between nationalist regimes that would look to the left and regimes that were more conservative but would be willing to look to the right. you can take your point of view.
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each point of view has some point to them. the excuse ofd the suez crisis to explain why he didn't intervene in the suppression of the hungarian communist liberal movement in 1956. naive.s there was no way he was ever going to intervene in that. he already made it clear that there would be no rollback. there was not going to be american military intervention in hungary. eisenhower was not willing to risk world war iii for that. so one has to be clear about that. just as johnson's options during the vietnam war were conditioned by the fact that he did not want to risk world war iii. the other thing he is often criticized for and was to be criticized for in 1960 and even more his vice president was to
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be criticized, richard nixon come is the alleged missile gap. as you may recall, the soviets were the first of put a man in orbit. the ability to send up a satellite, which is fired from the ground with a rocket, led to fear and anxiety. code that at satellite into orbit could put a missile into orbit and the americans had been compromised badly. this was very much the one that the democrats were going to take. kennedy would use it in 1960 when he would break nixon. historians now agree that, in fact, there is no significant gap between the united states and the soviet union. that the soviet union was not able to weaponize its missiles
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at the rate that some american politicians suggested. that the americans were pressing forward in weaponize in their muscles as well. by the end of the 1950's, the united states work quite a strong nuclear capability. where the united states is weak placerily is the same where the soviets are, which is that of counterinsurgency warfare. they had not developed a their military for that and that would have been always consequences during the vietnam war. as a whole, eisenhower emergence -- emerges as a politician of prudence and pragmatism. summitht to use negotiations in order to try and get the soviets to accept that there were rules in the family of nations. he benefited from the fact that khrushchev, a volatile politician, but khrushchev
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himself wanted a peace dividend. khrushchev while down the size of the soviet military after 1953. he criticized stalin. he was not a particular warmonger. he wanted soviet expansion. he develops soviet influence in egypt. which is why come in the end, eisenhower admitted that he was wrong to try to topple nasa. but khrushchev himself did not want war. it is interesting. the cuban missile crisis reflected christian of's knowledge that he had been outmatched in his long-range khrushchev reflected 's knowledge that he had been outmatched in his long-range missiles by the americans. so khrushchev was in a sense a lucky opponent for eisenhower to have. ultimately, he did not wish to
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risk war himself. both men had experience, either directly or indirectly -- khrushchev had been a civil servant, but not in the war both men hador -- experienced world war ii. they knew what in -- what it entailed. they both understood the risks. men ran the geopolitics of the 1950's with a degree of prudence that is impressive. from our point of view, being mindful of those who suffered under soviet tyranny in eastern europe, suffered under communist ,yranny and mao zedong's china these were also the use of the great leap forward in china in which millions died in ruthless and mismanaged politics. china was not different from north korea today. we are mindful of the human cost entailed.
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but in terms of the prudence and can be achieved by military means, eisenhower made a pretty good call. one's ability and foreign policy is to thinkd states responsibly about what one can achieve and tried to define one's policies and to try to understand geopolitics in that light. eisenhower was a great man can president. he was also a great man, but he did not see himself as a great man. that is one of the great signs, in my view, of quality. thank you very much. [applause] now, i have been asked to read the following. i will be taking questions from the audience in a few moments.
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if you would like to ask a question, please approach one of the two standing mics in the aisles. before asking your question, tell us your name. and out of respect for the people waiting your turn, please ask just one question. notthat means one question, one question in two or three or four parts. >> thank you very much, professor black. i admire your knowledge and your accent. i would like to ask you about hitler's decision to attack the united states shortly after pearl harbor. content tog we were fight a pacific war if hitler had not attacked us. what was his reasonings for doing that? dr. black: hitler was not great at expanding himself. [laughter] view that take the
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america and germany were already in effect at war. there had already been clashes in the navies of america and germany. u-boats in the western atlantic. view that either they were at war or that war was inevitable. and this led him to -- it was a highly foolish decision. no two ways about it. as for what america would have done but for that direct -- that declaration of war by germany, roosevelt was convinced of that germany represented a terrible threat to america's interest. and he was correct in that view. towould have been harder persuade those people who were japan first people to focus on germany if germany had not declared war.
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but i suspect that germany already an ally of japan would germany in thed eyes of many americans. >> i am a member of the historical society. i was wondering how influential in the formulation of eisenhower's policies was his secretary of state, john foster dulles, brickman ship? in the 1950'swer had decided to wind down the military, i wish you would have notified my draft board because i and most of my friends were drafted in that year. >> as far as the latter's concern come if you look at the number of divisions in the american are -- in the american army, the numbers fall that year. they actually had -- the same
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thing history of world war ii. as you probably to come america in world war ii set out to fight with a hundred divisions, as the soviets and the japanese. it was a traumatic threat and risk. but in terms of the global as arator, america is a -- per capita military was much smaller than the soviet union. john foster dulles, a very full and sole figure. eisenhower himself, from his position, was already well-versed in the notion of containment. he doesn't need to be taught containment by dulles. hethe implementation, benefits from advice. but he already knows containment from nato. i want to follow-up on that
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john foster dulles question. he was one of the cabinet members that most intimidated eisenhower. with his brother allen as the head of the cia, was that the reason that, in the mid- 1950's, they went to a version rather than subversion? >> intimidate is a bit tough. eisenhower was surrounded by some people who are quite strong characters. j edgar hoover was a strong, influential figure. ofdidn't run it as a kind imperial presidency. because of that, it was easy to the famous line is that
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an empty car threw up and mr. atlee climbed out of it. [laughter] atlee was known by many of his contemporaries as major atlee. western fronthe in world war i. i don't think intimidated, but he was not an imperial president. nato is a relatively successful organization. see joe was not. be interested in your view in the comparison. dr. black: you are dealing with regimes that were poorly grounded in support within that political culture or that society. if you look at the iraqi monarchy, the country had been created out of the collapse of the ottoman empire at the end of world war i. dynasty had
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been put in your there was no -- put in. there is no real grounding in it. . again, a relatively poorly grounded regime. pakistan had only been partitioned in the 1940's. withno grounded regime poor political legitimacy. it's not surprising that they fought. with is a lot of problems europeans in that state. but at least most of them have a nation, the political stability that is longer than that. it could have gone terribly
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wrong. we have seen what happened to eastern europe at the hands of the soviet advance. there were american war plans, for example, the soviets taking over all of western europe and the americans having to invade. there were quite prepared for that as a possible scenario. at should always look military plans because they tell you a lot about the geopolitical assumptions and anxieties of the period. neumaname is russell p.m. i have a story my head an eye would like to ask you if you believe -- and i would like to ask you a few believe i have a more or less correct. john foster dulles participated in peace talks that promised vie tnam a wide election in 1956. the dulles engineered
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reneging on their promise, so there was not an election. been one ofht have ho chi minh with a unification. had he not reneged on that promise, there may have not been a vietnam war. black: the geneva talks agreed that there would be elections. there was nothing specific to dulles. each side, i think it is fair to say, were behaving in an appalling fashion. the communists were scarcely interested in democracy. ho chi minh had been sitting around liquidating all nationalists who now can minutes. and in the south, you have a totalitarian regime as well. it was wise for america to get involved in the vietnam war is another question. that's a different question.
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in many senses, it reflects kennedy's attempt to fight a more active containment. it reflects his anxiety about china. the chinese success against india is absolutely crucial in explaining the background of the vietnam war. it reflects his links with strong catholic, anti-canyon is -- anti-communist circles. annedy was very much supporter of catholic political movements around the world in an attempt to do find a space for pushing the communism accordingly. i wouldn't say it is just the 1950's, no. >> thank you. i am glenn lowy. did eisenhower really have an effective policy? what was his view with respect to the middle east and asia? he seemed to understand europe while.
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he kind of left it to his with -- noto deal and dealt with trying to move china away from the rush in orbit. ,lso nixon with the middle east moved in a pro-american way. not care that much about that part of the world, besides suez and north korea. dr. black: that's a good question. for most of the policymakers of the period, the priority was very much europe to maybe it was excessively europe, but it was europe. asia,ower's view of east mao zedong, it was still closely aligned to the soviets. in 1954, the soviets refused to sell the chinese submarines. in 1958, the chinese refused to
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put up transponder station so that the soviets can control their submarines in the pacific via china. there's already lots of tensions. pick it up to i think you can say that the biggest intelligence sailor of the post 1950 period is the length of time it takes the west to realize that the eastern block is fundamentally divided and that provides strategic opportunities for the west. as far as the middle east is eisenhower believed, like most of our american policymakers, democrats and republicans, that it would be possible to take these newly independent ex-con is and turn them into pro-american liberal independent x ex-communist colonies and turn
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them into pro-american liberal democracies. he regarded israel the cause of instability and he was angry about the 1956 war. i wouldn't say that he was necessarily lacking in understanding of the world. same thingt and the as true modern presidents, he focused on what seemed to be the major issue. and to him, the major issue is relations with the soviet union. was they soviet union that had intercontinental ballistics pointed to the united states. the other thing that is worth bearing in mind about the cold war is eisenhower's domestic policies were also to do with the cold war. there is a canard in america
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that the civil rights is an achievement of the 1960's. and that's because that is how it suits the american generation. real achievement of civil rights was in the 1940's. eisenhower showing that he was willing to send troops to the south, sending the airborne division down to little rock was a really decisive move. and the reason he did that -- i mean, he actually -- i mean, he wasn't a racist particularly. he wasn't a woodrow wilson figure, who was really a racist. the danger to america presented by what hoover thought was a potential of civil rights ovements by subversion by the communists.
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your public myth is essentially that civil rights comes about because nice people making nice decisions in the 1960's. rights is much more hardheaded men in the 1950's thinking about how to strengthen america in the cold war. >> my name is norman aren't off. i am a regular questioner. [laughter] i would like to hear your views on the following. americans tend to rate their rating a in terms of president in adequate or great, what is your opinion as to who gets the better rating? the president who takes us to war? the president who keeps us out of war? or the president who gets us out of a war? and if you can answer the question in terms of contemporary, rating, and historical rating, i would appreciate it. [laughter] well -- i'm more than
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happy for you to ask questions like that, but you will want to see about a more precise. say?would i the united states, when they elected president -- i always try to explain this to people in britain. they civilly don't understand it in britain. electingd states is someone who has two functions, the head of state and a ceo. the ability for someone to express they never had of state ,nd the head of government there is always going to be disturbed by the repetition of one or another. some wars are necessary to fight. there can well be national crucial and wider national
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interests. you could argue that roosevelt's enormouslure, the most failure of the americans in the 20th century was the refusal of americans to fight when mutual powers work being attacked by germany in places like holden in 1939, norway, denmark, belgium -- all of them were neutral powers. so you could say that roosevelt great failing was not going to war or you can praise him for to war in 1941. in truman, you have someone who ends a war and starts another one. you have to be very cautious about where you are going to put your judgment of issues. means varies anonymously. over the last half-century, powers have gone to war without declaring war. when the war actually is and what war is a soft and now much more complex. nobody on that side.
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next gentleman. >> my name is eric zeller. thank you for a very interesting summary of 20th century foreign policy. [applause] the cold war was a dangerous time. but they bipolar architecture and the concepts of containment sort of creates a structure that it seemed understandable. and compensable. since. -- understandable and competent comprehensible. is it likely we will see a sort of global policy concept similar to containment that might be similar to what is going on today? dr. black: the answer is i don't know. [laughter] as far as the insecurity, what i would say is this. the cold war becomes less disturbing because the ability
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-- depending on your point of view -- america to benefit from or thena-soviet discord thea benefit from ,merican-soviet discord ballistic missiles are pointed at china by the late 1970's. and by the late 1970's, china is at war with vietnam. you could argue that what really caused the instability since 1989 is not at the end of the idiociesand is not the of fundamentalist terrorism. but it's really the fundamentalist breakdown of the 1970's. the real floor in the 2000's policymaking was -- seriously,
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may not have been possible to do anything about it. aligned madesia each of the more threatening to the west. if china is going to be difficult in the easter south china seas, they know that the rations will probably encourage them. that creates much more strength of the united states, whichever party is governing. that was the real floor of american strategy in 2000s. and to be frank, i don't know how they are going to get out of that one. if there is a big breakdown in relations between russia and china, that creates new possibilities for america. if there isn't, then that is obviously constrained choices? >> i was wondering if you could comment on eisenhower's warning
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about the dangers the military industrial complex -- what gave him inside to that, and whether that when he has been heated. dr. black: that is an interesting point. i think that it is fair to say that there was a degree of accuracy in that. he was particularly bothered to the extent each individual congressmen had become aligned with industrial interests in things like pushing through procurement policies for their particular constituents. that was doing was destabilizing the print and procurement process and not producing any consistently. and he was most certainly correct in that. ultimately, the united states , that and probably wisely must have been a much wider
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others.than the one last point, something great africa to say, another aspect of domestic policy of course, which was very closely linked to military purposes, one of the major eisenhower legacies was , an orderobably aware to enable american government to move forces more readily within the united states and not be so .ependent on coastal waterways there's all sorts of ways in which the policies of the eisenhower government you would not necessarily think of war linked to the cold war. [applause] >> when is your next lecture on any topic? [laughter] [applause] dr>> jeremy black, that was wonderful. we are working on the next lecture. we will at you know. stay in tune.
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thank the foreign policy research institute for partnering and collaborating with us. , paul reminder, may 21 springer will be with us to talk about innovations in military affairs from the time of napoleon's eisenhower. we hope to see you all back. let's give a great hand to jeremy black. [applause] dr. black: thank you so much. [indistinct chatter] are watchingu american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span 3. .ollow us on twitter to keep up with the latest history news. announcer: monday, tim winter,
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president of the parents television council on their recent report of 20 years on the tv content. he is joined by david shepherdson, report for thomson reuters. >> there is no show on broadcast television, no series today that is rated appropriate for anything older than children. tv 14 is the oldest rating. even the most extensive content on broadcast tv is rated as appropriate for children to watch. we learned that the tv networks themselves rate of the shows and the tv advertisers who pay the bills for the networks rely on the ratings, just like parents do. so there is a conflict of interest in terms of rating content accurately. therefore, the networks do not rate


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