He defined the key components of American military strength as a modernized and trained conventional capacity and a nuclear edge over the communists. NSC presented Truman with a comprehensive plan of action to meet the Soviet challenge. In sharp contrast, the Kremlin is driven by the desire to achieve absolute power and extend it over the nonSoviet world. Communist ideology requires the enslavement not the fostering of the individual.
The document outlines a wide-ranging strategy to meet communist imperialism. The primary goal is to maintain a strong free world—politically, morally, economically, and militarily—and to frustrate the Soviet design and bring about its internal change. The Truman administration saw Soviet intentions and capabilities as interlaced.
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Had Truman gauged capabilities with no reference to ideology and intentions, he might have given way to the Soviets in Berlin rather than ordering the airlift. The Iron Curtain surrounding the satellite nations holds together the Soviet empire. The document looks to the independence of nationalities as a natural and potent threat to communism.
The Cold War at Home and Abroad, –
At the same time, it leaves open the possibility of U. It was the definitive statement of the U. Through the treaty, member states promised to defend any member that may be attacked by an outside force, with the unified command under a leader of the Soviet Union. The Warsaw Pact ensured that most European nations were aligned in one of two opposing camps and formalized the political divide in Europe that became prevalent World War II.
The Soviet leaders were very apprehensive about this, especially with WWI and WWII still fresh in mind and decided to get security measures in place in the shape of a political and military alliance. The pact however only lasted until , when the Soviet Union came to an end. On October 22, , five thousand students crammed into a hall in Budapest and approved a manifesto that, among other things, called for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Hungary, free elections, freedom of association, and economic reform.
Along with eight thousand other political prisoners, Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty was released from the prison in which he had been kept in solitary confinement. Hungarian soldiers deserted in droves and gave their weapons to the revolutionaries. But then Soviet tanks and troops rolled back into the city in the first days of November to crush the Hungarian Revolution, brutally crushing the revolution and killing an estimated two thousand people. Nearly fifteen thousand were wounded.
According to the authoritative Black Book of Communism , thirty-five thousand people were arrested, twenty-two thousand jailed, and two hundred executed. More than two hundred thousand Hungarians fled the country, many of them to America. Conservatives charged that the Eisenhower administration, after encouraging resistance if not revolution, failed to help the Hungarian freedom fighters.
In some of its broadcasts, Radio Free Europe, financed by the U. There were several reasons why America did not act in Hungary:. Outwardly unsuccessful, the Hungarian Revolution showed that communism in Eastern Europe was weaker than anyone, including the communists, realized.
The Beginning of the Cold War
An empire viewed by many in the West as invincible was exposed as vulnerable. He would represent the Air Force because White was out of town. LeMay noticed that there was something odd about the meeting right from the start. To begin with, there was a civilian in the room who pushed aside a curtain to reveal landing areas for a military engagement on the coast of Cuba. LeMay had been told absolutely nothing about the operation until that moment. All eyes turned to him when the civilian, who worked for the CIA, asked which of the three sites would provide the best landing area for planes.
LeMay explained that he was completely in the dark and needed more information before he would hazard a guess. He asked how many troops would be involved in the landing. The answer, that there would be , dumbfounded him. There was no way, he told them, that an operation would succeed with so few troops. The briefer cut him short.
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Over the next month, LeMay tried unsuccessfully to get information about the impending invasion. Then on April 16 he stood in for White—again out of town—at another meeting.
The Cold War: Containment
Just one day before the planned invasion, he finally learned some of the basics of the plan. Cuban exiles had been trained as an invasion force by the CIA and former U. The exiles would land in Cuba with the aid of old World War II bombers with Cuban markings and try to instigate a counterrevolution. It was an intricate plan that depended on every phase working perfectly. LeMay saw immediately that the invasion force would need the air cover of U. But the Secretary of Defense was not present at the meeting.
LeMay did not mince words. LeMay explained that without air support, the landing forces were doomed. Gilpatric responded with a shrug. The entire operation went against everything LeMay had learned in his thirty-three years of experience. In any military operation, especially one of this significance, a plan cannot depend on every step going right. Most steps do not go right and a great deal of padding must be built in to compensate for those unforeseen problems.
It went back to the LeMay doctrine—hitting an enemy with everything you had at your disposal if you have already come to the conclusion that a military engagement is your only option. Use everything, so there is no chance of failure. Limited, half-hearted endeavors are doomed. The Bay of Pigs invasion turned out to be a disaster for the Kennedy administration. Kennedy realized it too late.
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The men were either killed or taken prisoner. All of this made Kennedy look weak and inexperienced. A short time later, Kennedy went out to a golf course with his old friend, Charles Bartlett, a journalist. This was not quite true.
25. The Cold War
Kennedy put the blame squarely on the CIA and on himself for going along with the ill-conceived plan. The incident forced Kennedy to grow in office. Although his relationship with the military did suffer, the problems between Kennedy and the Pentagon predated the Bay of Pigs Invasion. According to his chief aid and speechwriter, Ted Sorensen, Kennedy was unawed by Generals.
LeMay was especially incensed when McNamara brought in a group of brilliant, young statisticians as an additional civilian buffer between the ranks of professional military advisers and the White House. They became known as the Defense Intellectuals. This ran against his personality—as LeMay approached almost everything in his life with a feeling of self-doubt, he was actually surprised when things worked out well.
Here he saw the opposite—inexperienced people coming in absolutely sure of themselves and ultimately making the wrong decisions with terrible consequences. On 14th October a US spy plane flying over Cuba reported the installation of Russian nuclear missile bases. The picture left is one of those taken from the spy plane and clearly shows missile transporter trailers and tents where fuelling and maintenance took place. In Russian missiles were inferior to American missiles and had a limited range.
This meant that American missiles could be fired on Russia but Russian missiles could only be fired on Europe. Stationing missiles on Cuba the only western communist country meant that Russian missiles could now be fired on America. The Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, welcomed the Russian deployment since it would offer additional protection against any American invasion like the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in The group remained on alert and met continuously but were split between those who wanted to take military action and those that wanted a diplomatic solution.
On October 22nd Kennedy made the news of the installations public and announced that he would place a naval blockade around Cuba to prevent Russian missiles from reaching the bases. However, despite the blockade, Russian ships carrying the missiles remained on track for Cuba. Additionally the second letter which was much more demanding and aggressive in tone did not offer a solution to end the conflict.
Attorney General, Robert Kennedy suggested that the best solution was for the second letter be ignored and that the US reply to Kruschev accepting the terms of the first letter. A letter was duly drafted and sent. On Sunday 28th October Kruschev called a meeting of his advisors. The Russians were aware that President Kennedy was scheduled to address the American people at 5pm that day. Fearing that it could be an announcement of war Kruschev decided to agree to the terms and rushed a response to reach the President before 5pm.
The crisis was over. The Russians duly removed their bases from Cuba and as agreed US missiles were quietly removed from Turkey some months later. In the summer of , negotiations on a treaty to ban above ground nuclear testing dominated the political world. The treaty involved seventeen countries, but the two main players were the United States and the Soviet Union.
Throughout the s, with the megaton load of nuclear bombs growing, nuclear fallout from tests had become a health hazard, and by the s, it was enough to worry scientists. Kennedy, in particular, was pushing for a ban and was optimistic about succeeding. It never happened. The result of the Cuban Missile Crisis was an increasing buildup of nuclear weapons that continued until the end of the Cold War. LeMay did not see any military advantage for the U.
He doubted the countries would come to an agreement and felt vindicated when the talks deadlocked by the end of the summer.