The Cold War
By Jim Carey
It’s 1945. Peace has arrived. The horror has left some 60 to 70 million dead, mainly in Asia and Europe. The United States has most of the world’s gold and investments and 50 percent of the world’s goods and services.
Meeting and films: Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States–Chapter 4: “The Cold War”
Mon, Jun 20, 1pm
Quinta Loreto Hotel
In England, the Labour Party’s Clement Attlee is elected in ’45. Previously, in November of ’42, the Keynesian British economist William Beveridge reported that after the war there were five giant obstacles that would prevent reconstruction and peace: “Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor, and Idleness.” He proposed that after the war there should be widespread reforms. Attlee did just that in establishing the modern social welfare state: the Family Allowances Act, the National Insurance Act, the National Assistance Act, the Pensions Act, the Rent Control Act, and the National Health Service Act.
But the absence of war was not really peace. After being invited by President Truman to Fulton, Missouri, Churchill warns in his famous address that “An iron curtain has descended across the continent.” Henry Wallace, Truman’s Secretary of Commerce, tried and failed to lessen that fear: “The only way to defeat Communism in the world is to do a better job of production and distribution. Let’s make it a clean race…The source of all our mistakes is fear…The destiny of the English-speaking peoples is to serve the world, not dominate it.” Before 26,000 people in New York City, he continued: “Our primary objective is neither saving the British Empire nor purchasing oil in the Middle East with the lives of American soldiers.”
Wallace is fired. The Cold War is on with the creation of the Truman Doctrine, the Monroe Doctrine extended to the Old World. The infamous House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) begins their witch hunt.
Bill Moyers describes those days, “My hometown newspaper carried a story, ‘Nation Getting Ready to Live with Cold War.’ Little did we know then just what that meant—multibillion-dollar arms budgets every year, a foreign policy geared to contesting real or imagined Soviet influence everywhere on the globe, living with the CIA and the top secret stamp, hoping the Constitution can stand it, and discovering it almost didn’t. . . .
“And above all, finding out that a nation does not reach the summit of global engagement without living on the edge of its nerves. We came out of World War II thinking it ended like a Western, with the bad guy dispatched and peace dropping over us like a restful veil of twilight. Instead, we got the age of anxiety that continues today. ”
“The circle keeps rounding from hope, to fear, to hope, and again to fear. And we don’t know just when and how and if ever it will end. But this we do know: No powerful nation has ever played out a great historic role without producing the stuff of epic drama—from stupidities that appeal to heroism that inspires. We’re no exception.” Join the discussion. Our events are free.