The End of World War II in Europe - Miami

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Transcript The End of World War II in Europe - Miami

The End of World War II
in Europe
Michael S. Neiberg
[email protected]
The Horrors of Europe:
Is Europe Still a Model for the USA?
Eisenhower and other senior American officers tour
a liberated concentration camp
• “I never dreamed that
such cruelty, bestiality,
and savagery could
really exist in this
world” – Eisenhower to
his wife, Mamie
• Ike urged Marshall to
bring the entire US
Congress to see the
camps for themselves.
Domestic Problems
• Racial tensions and
Riots across the nation
• Economic concerns: will
the Depression return
• “Reconversion” of US
industry and the
integration of
12,000,000 young men
Racial violence in Detroit, 1945
Other Major International Problems
• Rebuilding of Japan
• Civil War in China
• Resettlement of Jews in
• Colonial issues in India,
Vietnam, and Malaya
George Marshall in China, 1946
US Strategic Choices:
Mass Demobilization
• Europe “has
degenerated into a
state worse than
that of animals” – a
US soldier after
seeing the
concentration camp.
US Strategic Choices:
Stay Mobilized
• "Let's keep our boots
polished, bayonets
sharpened, and
present a picture of
force and strength to
the Red Army. This is
the only language
they understand and
respect” – George
US Strategic Choices:
Constructive Engagement
• “What Rome was to
the ancient world,
what Great Britain
has been to the
modern world,
America is to the
world of tomorrow”
– two-time Pulitzer
Prize winner Walter
The New World
• No peace conference
like 1919
• European states
– Agriculture, transport,
and industry all
• US and USSR now in
charge and their goals
in conflict
Potsdam Conference
17 July to 2 August 1945
• Unconditional Surrender for
• “The freely expressed will of
the Japanese people” will
determine its government
• Each power to take
reparations from its sector
of Germany
• Germany to be “denazified”
• Surrender of Japanese
forces in Korea and Vietnam
Clement Atlee, Harry Truman, and Josef
Stalin at Potsdam.
What to do with Germany?
• Morgenthau Plan
• British desires to rebuild
• USSR wants to
devastate it
• USA wanted Germany in
a new alliance
• Partition
Starving children reaching for food in
Germany, 1946
Unresolved Questions
• Can the USA trust
• Will the Germans try
• When will America’s
allies be ready to
• Is a Cold War
US Strategy
• The “Long Telegram”
• Demobilization
• Need to rebuild our
allies reshape
The New Secretary of State
January 21, 1947
• First general to serve in
that role
• Non-partisan image
(GOP controlled
• Had no interest in
elected office
Can America Meet Its
New Challenges?
• “I found the problems
to be almost identical
with those of the war
years. There was the
same problem between
East and West; the
same limitations as to
our capability; the same
pressures at home and
The First Phase, 1947-1953
• George Kennan’s “Long
Telegram” and the policy of
• “Lessons” of World War II
• Truman Doctrine
• Creation of NATO and
Warsaw Pact
• Korean War, 1950-1953
US and Soviet soldiers meet on
the Elbe, April, 1945
New US Defense Policies
• 1950: NSC 68
recommended tripling
defense budget
• 1952: US introduced
peacetime conscription
• 1953: US builds first Hbomb
• 1950-1953: US sends more
military personnel to
Europe than to Asia
• 1955: (West) Germany
The King gets drafted, 1958
Phase Two: 1953-1979
• USSR and USA want to
avoid nuclear war
• So they fight “proxy”
wars in the Third World
• Connections to wars of
• Few direct
Soviet advisors in Vietnam, 1966
Final Phase, 1980-1991
• Reagan and “evil empire”
• SDI and massive US military
• Alliances with Saudi Arabia
to reduce USSR oil values,
bring Arab states into US
• Defeat USSR with economic
effort, not direct military
Building tight US – Saudi links seemed
like a good idea at the time
Soviet Initiatives
• Perestroika (restructuring)
and Glasnost (openness)
• USSR spending 50% of its
GDP on defense
• Sign bipartisan
disarmament agreements
• Seek to use the US as a
partner not an enemy
• Dismantle Warsaw Pact,
remove troops from Eastern
“I was talking about another time
and another era” – Reagan when
asked about his “evil empire”
statement of 1982
The End of History?