tv Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Cold War CSPAN May 7, 2016 12:00pm-1:15pm EDT
cold war back to world war i and challenges some of the general narratives about conflict. he focuses on the role of dwight d. eisenhower. both as a military man and as president. the newark historical society hosted dissipated. -- this event. is one hour 15 minutes. mr. black: 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.
these are the years which represents the high point of the cold war. it is worth bearing in mind the legacy of the cold war was much of america's 20th century. forcesy times american actually fought soviet forces was not during the time you think of the cold war, 1945 through 1947 or 1948, running up to 1989, because the cold war actually begin in 1917. indeed, much of eisenhower's life of the 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 bolshevism, represented in ideological challenge to the united states and the challenge of american interests begins in the late 19 teens. in many respects, what we call the cold war is in part the after echo of that. the directionmuch taken by the soviet union. paul brown told me about his position that the soviet union in the beginning of the 70's which they would deny the crime the united states
had done. that is when american soldiers were fighting with communists. let's look back at the cold war. it starts and 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 resumption 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 fought germany in world war i regarded the war with russia bolsheviks, that they regarded this as a continuation of world war i.
they knew lenin had been encouraged, they put them on the train that went to st. petersburg. in many senses, western forces allied with a 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 to 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. -- and the soviet union. again, not a surprise.
a historian writing in 1904 that emphasized the threat posed by possible german-russian cooperation and indeed, this seemed to be the key element. the allies go into russia and it does not work. they are, as we often see, if 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 of your own. the actual intervention did contain soviet expansion. as a result of the intervention, finland, latvia, 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 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. america turns to an isolationist direction. 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 communism 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 don't tend to 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 interested in restraining radicalism in their backyard. the reason they sent marines into nicaragua into the 1920's is because of what they see as left wing peasants being stirred up by the soviets. the american army in 1919 had drawn up plans called plan white -- motivated by strikes in seattle because of a shipment of arms for american forces fighting the soviets. 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 divided, but that is complete rubbish.
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 completely tear of the 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 interest, their ideologies are different, but they find common interest in combining in 1939, and of course, no accident that the powers that took -- won independence and liberty at the end of world war i, when the empire had collapsed, poland, latvia, lithuania, estonia fall victim to either germany or germany and the soviet union.
you get the power blog that had been intensely feared by western commentators. bloc that had been intensely feared i westerners. germany and the soviet union our -- are allies because germany in are allies, the british plan to block 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. there is a 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. goes into the army on top of his class, and goes to the west
point, in 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 commands, which is that of the 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 completely wrong is 1940. 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 -- political masters to prepare for. that is the collapse of france and 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. what it means is essentially the united states is going to be on its own, and at that point the situation is quite troubling. the german naval staff is led and german navy built up under plan z of a major war against united states including aircraft 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, planning to establish bases in the islands of spain and 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 norfolk, virginia with the enormous 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 attack the american atlantic fleet at norfolk. 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 -- built up 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 vote the money for the two ocean navy act, to have a navy equivalent in size of both japan and germany. this is a formidable program, a which incidentally comes on tap really in 1943 in 1944, the enormous naval conglomerates which enables the americas to do well, because to build a big
ship takes a long time. the american military is preparing for a really difficult scenario. counterfactuals play a role, hitler, as it were, how should one describe it? hitler, who is essentially a man, i might use the term "mad" but that would be unfair on the insane. apart from his brutal ideas of the racial recasting of the world, he also attacks the soviet union. people say, to attack the soviet
, it is a terrible mistake. the attack on the soviet union that is the block formed and by that very act , weakens the opposition to the united states. eisenhower comes into the picture, because having drawn up the army plans, they had initially included prospects of the means to invade western europe because it had been dominated by the germans. his navy calls for american forces in europe and he is responsible for the torch innovation of africa in 1942 and 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 america's leading general as it were in the field.
he is not actually personally in the patton or bradley role. 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 american 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 -- but 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 maps, the enormous route between the american and british policy makers on whether they should invade the balkans, whether they should land on the coast of yugoslavia and move
into hungary and austria in order to preempt the soviet advance. churchill was 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 -- are fighting communists in athens. 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 take a benign view of stalin. roosevelt is convinced he can talk to stalin, that he can get
stalin to be reasonable. tricks him 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 -- and against that background it is not really surprising, the communist governments are in put 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. the american public want to have the troops back home. the troops have signed up for the duration, volunteered for 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 falls rapidly and this is , encourage by new military technology because the new technology, the atom bomb was dropped in japan in 1945, appeared to prove 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 onward wish tothe americans have great power inexpensively. they used to refer to american policy as cheap hawkery, but the point is the american public did not want to fundamentally change the living standards and fund
amental alteration of their constitution to match the situation of being prepared 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 -- goes on having his executions of dissidents right up to the end in 1953. eisenhower is in charge of the army, of an army that is demobilizing, in army with many discontented. there is no equivalent to the revolt of the admirals in the navy, the navy's real fury in the late 1940's to make way for the strategic air command. eisenhower faces a similar scenario and he himself leads -- leaves the military and he
comes 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 of czechoslovakia. it proves a move is too much easy for the americans. combined with the fact that the british and the french have been pressing the americans to take over greater 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. 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 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 atom bomb. 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 range bombers. the question is, what to do about this? eisenhower, in his last years 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 political general. the korean war is a coalition war because it is the united nations army, there are americans there, but there are also a lot of other people, the british, people from a whole host of other countries.
macarthur really tees these people off. what 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 units to serve under macarthur's control. because there cannot run coalition all warfare. eisenhower 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 soviets, but also the problems 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 when he commands nato. he is already, like most policymakers, angry with the british and french because they are devoting so much of their 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. -- your politics. 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. he doesn't appreciate how that is going to irritate the british. you think about if the british prime minister was to come to america and tell you you all needed to give up guns. you would be very offended.
eisenhower becomes 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. teddy roosevelt had a military background, but his military background has and not that of being a general and in practical terms, his military experience is that of a civil servant politician in the navy and not
admiral.le, as an 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. it had been a cohesive national in terms of america's , wars, a singularly inclusive experience. eisenhower benefited from that and from his war record. there was also the danger that there was another general who wanted to be president, yet again, macarthur comes up -- repeatedly 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 won congressional midterms. this did encourage them to think they needed to reinvent the political lexicon. 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 -- the north koreans invaded the south. it proved much harder than the
westerners had imagined. 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. it encouraged a debate in political circles at that point, thebate that affected party, as to whether the chief priority should be containment, which in a sense 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. eisenhower was to be significant. he was to reconceptualize containment. he was not to endorse rollback. he regarded rollback is far to dangerous in an atomic age when
one wouldn't know what might happen. of 1953pecific context with a korean war that is going on forever and communist ideology, our views of communists are always going to be willing because they represent people, allegedly. there was no sign they were going to stop. eisenhower uses the atom bomb and the american ability to drop 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 than in ending the vietnam war. and it succeeds. that is one of his great
foreign-policy successes, to put the korean peninsula into a kind of long freeze. 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, an effective containment which contrasted with the failure of the common tang in china and contrasted with the french about to fail in vietnam, 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. they were in control of more than the americans and the south vietnamese in the vietnam war.
the americans by late 1953 are paying 90% of the cost of the french war in vietnam. 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. he decides in a cost-benefit analysis, having seen the experience of the korean war, he decides it is not worth it. 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 containment is one in which he argues that rollback is to dangerous -- too dangerous.
he begins a process. he succeeded by collective leadership. eisenhower begins the summit. in 1955 at geneva, he says to we leading soviet figure, have moved from the atom bomb to the h bomb. the soviets are able to copy that more quickly than they have the atomic bomb. by 1954, both sides have the hydrogen bomb. eisenhower says, if there is war between the two, that will be
the end of the human life in the western hemisphere. i think that does condition 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 s to war. because of the 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. he continues the rundown of the army and the navy in the mid-1950's. the army and the navy had revived during the korean war. but in the 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 irregular 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, this is successful. he doesn't like it if other powers do the same thing. it 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 civil conflict in which 120,000 people died. indonesia is a far larger area, fourth-largest population, strategic resources. i take it everybody knows where indonesia is. let me see if i can get this one. there you go. all of that area there. and strategically much more important than south vietnam, which is a 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 linked to opposition. the most popular island is java. the cia had backed operation in 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 along a nuclear examinee to use different 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 as containment. he develops the baghdad pact. iraq was under a pro-western government in 1958. the airfields were to be used to bomb the soviet union in the event of war. iran is a western airline -- a western ally. pakistan is a western ally. big disappointment when the government is overthrown in iraq in 1958. and that is an overthrow by nana -- by nationalist army officers to which the soviet union is closely linked. he is very much in favor of
trying to develop -- thailand, for example, and to keep the relationship going with australia and new zealand. so there is a security architecture under eisenhower. and it works reasonably well. the biggest rows about his wartation during the cold rests in part on the suez crisis and in part in the missile crisis. these nationalist figures that were held up as heroes by the left around the world, they tended to be army officers who seized power through coups. the british had left egypt with an agreement with the egyptians that they would remain the authority of the suez canal.
in 1954, they pulled their troops out of the suez canal and egyptians agreed that freedom would continue through the suez canal. digit shouldn't seized -- the egyptians seized the suez canal. the british government saw colonel master as a threat. -- threat to pro-western interests in the middle east. these were both monarchies. of thent branches dynasty.
they saw a left-wing revolutionary who 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 part of metropolitan france. both britain and france sought egypt as a revolutionary force. -- saw 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 then claim to arbitrate and send their troops into the suez canal. and the idea is that the egyptian government will be defeated and overthrown. it didn't work.
it could have worked if it had 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. the americans intervene in the 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 france, that they will not help the sterling or franc, to drive -- in fact, they will act -- take active steps to drive them down. and the british government panics and pulls out. and the israelis are bullied into pulling out of sinai. the whole thing becomes a mess. the british scuffle for empire.
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. and that eisenhower understood instead that it was necessary for america to appeal to liberal thought in the third world. and to lead a new world order of the third world against the soviets. that is the proview. the anti-view is that eisenhower was naive and stupid. he didn't realize 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. each point of view has some point to them. eisenhower used the excuse of
the suez crisis to explain why he didn't intervene in the suppression of the hungarian communist liberal movement in 1956. that was naive. 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 be criticized, richard nixon -- is the alleged missile gap. as you may recall, the soviets
were the first of put a man in orbit. to 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. this was the line the democrats were going to take. kennedy would use it in 1960 when he berated's and for failing to maintain america's defenses. it's a pretty bogus argument. most military 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 at the rate that some american politicians suggested.
that the americans were pressing forward in weaponize thing -- weaponizing 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 militarily is the same place 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 emerges as a politician of prudence and pragmatism. he sought to use summit 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 himself wanted a peace dividend. wound 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. -- not to try to topple nasa. but khrushchev himself did not want war. it is interesting. the cuban missile crisis reflected khrushchev's knowledge that he had been outmatched in 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 risk war himself. both men had experience, either
directly or indirectly -- khrushchev had been a civil servant, but not in the war -- but nevertheless in the war industry sector -- both men had experienced world war ii. they knew what in -- what it entailed. they both understood the risks. both 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 tyranny 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. but in terms of the prudence and what can be achieved by military means, eisenhower made a pretty good call.
one's ability and foreign policy in the united states is to think responsibly about what one can achieve and try to define one's policies and to try to understand geopolitics in that light. eisenhower was a great man can -- great american 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 personal 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. 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 -- their turn please ask just , one question. and that means one question, not one question in two or three or four parts. two staff members are on hand if you need any assistance. >> 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. i'm assuming we were content to fight a pacific war if hitler had not attacked us. what was his reasonings for doing that? a manack: hitler was not who was very given to explaining himself. view that america
and germany were already in effect at war. there had already been clashes in the navies of america and germany. -- and german u-boats in the western atlantic. and he took the 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 far as what would america have done but for that declaration of war by germany, it's difficult to say. roosevelt was convinced that germany represented a terrible threat to america's interest. and he was correct in that view. it would have been harder to persuade those people who were japan first people to focus on germany if germany had not declared war. but i suspect that germany already an ally of japan would
have compromised germany's reputation in the 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, with brinkmanship. and if eisenhower in the 1950's had decided to wind down the military, i wish he would have notified my draft board because i and most of my friends were drafted in that year. black: as far as the letter is concerned, if you look at the number of divisions in the american army, the numbers fall that year. the same thing is true in history of world war ii.
america in world war ii set out to fight with a hundred divisions, as opposed to the soviets and the japanese. for every person that risk their life, it was a traumatic threat and risk. but in terms of the global comparator, america as a per capita military was much smaller than the soviet union. john foster dulles, a very full -- a very influential figure. eisenhower himself, from his position, was already wellersed in the notion of containment. he doesn't need to be taught containment by dulles. in detailed implementation, he benefits from advice. but he already knows containment from nato. >> i want to follow-up on that john foster dulles question. i read that 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 -- decided to go to subversion rather than confrontation? intimidation, i think that's a bit tough. eisenhower was surrounded by some people who were strong characters. j. edgar hoover was a strong, influential figure. he didn't run it as a kind of imperial presidency. because of that, it was easy to see -- the famous line is that an empty car threw up and mr. atlee climbed out of it. [laughter] atlee was known by many of his
contemporaries as major atlee. he served in the western front in world war i. i don't think intimidated, but he was not an imperial president. >> nato is a relatively successful organization. cto was not. i would be interested in your view in the comparison. dr. black: in the case of cto 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. a foreign dynasty had been put in.
there is no real grounding in it. again, a relatively poorly grounded regime. pakistan had only been partitioned in the 1940's. -- pakistan had only been there since partition in the 1940's. it's not surprising that they fought. there is a lot of problems with european states. but at least most of them have a sense of nation, the political stability that is longer than that. it could have gone terribly wrong. we have seen what happened to eastern europe at the hands of the soviet advance. it could have gone terribly
wrong in western europe as well. 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. they were quite -- quite prepared for that as a possible scenario. you should always look at military plans because they tell you a lot about the geopolitical assumptions and anxieties of the period. >> i have a story in my head and i would like to ask you if you believe i have it more or less correct. john foster dulles participated in peace talks that promised vietnam a wide election in 1956. then dulles engineered the promise, had he
not reneged on that promise, there might have been no vietnam war. dr. 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 north vietnamese, the communists were scarcely interested in democracy. ho chi minh had been sitting around liquidating all w willho werets not communists. and in the south, you have a totalitarian regime as well. whether it was wise for america to get involved in the vietnam war is another question. that's a different question. in many senses, it reflects kennedy's attempt to fight a more active containment.
it reflects his anxiety about china. in 1962, 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. kennedy was very much a 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. did eisenhower really have an he left it to his successors to deal with.
ask and dealt with trying to move away from the russian orbit. also nixon with the middle east, moved in a pro-american way. did eisenhower not care that much about that part of the world, besides suez and north korea. dr. black: that's a good question. you are asking me about the whole of the world but let's see if i can quickly summarize. for most of the policymakers of the period, the priority was very much europe to maybe it was excessively europe, but it was europe. eisenhower's view of east asia, 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 put up transponder station so that the soviets can control their submarines in the pacific
via china. there's already lots of tensions. people don't 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 concerned, 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 democracies -- independent ex-communist colonies and turn them into pro-american liberal democracies. he got egypt wrong.
you could argue the first american president -- 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. as president and the same thing 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. it 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 that the civil rights is an achievement of the 1960's. and that's because that is how it suits the american
generation. actually, the real achievement of civil rights was in the 1940's. truman and 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. but the danger to america presented by what hoover thought was a potential of civil rights movements by subversion by the communists. countries have a public. -- all countries have a public myth. your public myth is essentially
that civil rights comes about because nice people making nice decisions in the 1960's. civil rights is much more hardheaded men in the 1950's thinking about how to strengthen america in the cold war. >> my name is norman. i am a regular questioner. [laughter] i would like to hear your views on the following. americans tend to rate their president in terms of rating a 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] dr. black: well -- i'm more than happy for you to ask questions like that, but you will want to
see about a more precise. it's much more complex than what you are suggesting. what would i say? the united states, when they elected president -- i always try to explain this to people in britain. they simply don't understand it in britain. the united states is electing someone who has two functions, the head of state and a ceo. the ability for someone to be both head of state and express what you want as head of state and the head of government, there is always going to be disturbed by the repetition of one or another. -- by the reputation of one or another. some wars are necessary to fight. there can well be national crucial and wider national interests. you could argue that roosevelt's great failure, the most enormous
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 moving america 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. and what war 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. 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. -- understandable and comprehensible. it is unclear a similar structure or similar policy -- 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 -- depending on your point of view -- america to benefit from the china-soviet discord or the china benefit from the
american-soviet discord, ballistic missiles are pointed at china by the late 1970's. china, but the late 70's, trying is at war with vietnam. america wins the cold war cheaply. you could argue that what really caused the instability since 1989 is not at the end of the cold war and is not the idiocies of fundamentalist terrorism. but it's really the fundamentalist breakdown of the 1970's. the real floor in the 2000's policymaking was -- seriously, may not have been possible to do anything about it.
china and russia aligned made 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
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. he thought what 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
chose, and probably wisely, that must have been a much wider pattern than the others. 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 you are probably aware, an order to enable american government to move forces more readily within the united states and not be so dependent 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] >> jeremy black, that was wonderful. we are working on the next lecture. we will at you know. stay in tune. we want to thank the foreign policy research institute for
partnering and collaborating with us. just a reminder, may 21, paul 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] >> we are here to review the major findings of our investigation of domestic intelligence, including other programs aimed at domestic targets. fbi surveillance of law-abiding citizens and groups, political abuses of fbi intelligence, several specific cases of
unjustified intelligence operation. committee hearings convened to investigate the intelligence activities of the cia, fbi, irs, and nsa. formermission questioned associates and counsel on the plan he presented to president nixon about antiwar and radical groups. black black jobs were taken over number of years. particularly in matters of espionage. they felt given the revolutionary climate they needed to have the authority to do it. one person came and said you were chosen.