Wednesday, March 23, 2016

History of the Cold War #4 Lenin's Communism vs. Woodrow Wilson/United State's Free Enterprise

After WWI, the US Senate was swayed by isolationism and failed to ratify the League of Nations, Wilson's dream for peace and part of his 14 points to make the world safe for democracy. Wilson read his plan before congress which called for, "general association of nations...formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike." However, this called for regulation and enforcement. The US was justifiably reticent--no more regulating and enforcing the tempestuous relations in a distant land.

Meanwhile, back in the USSR, Stalin spends ten years crushing, or murdering his internal opposition who resist the change and consequences of turning a peasant nation into an advanced, communist, industrial nation. Starvation, brutality and immense suffering--millions of Russians die while sacrificing for the greatness of the state. Stalin also starts his reign of terror with "show trials (what would become a communist practice in China too)," of the old Bolsheviks. Forced to denounce themselves and confess to crimes they couldn't have committed, two-thirds of the communist party leaders were shot or arrested. Then came the artists, scientists, doctors; Top army generals came next; millions of peasants and workers became "enemies of the state." Between 17 and 22 million citizens were killed through these purges, including the starvation and maltreatment victims in Siberian labor camps during the 1930s. The craziness, the abuse seems to be a necessity of fear practiced by communist leadership to gain complete control--such an evil accompaniment seems to naturally attest to the evils of communism or the abusive power that emerges within communist controlled countries. All the while, Stalin predicts and preaches that capitalism must fail. His dream comes true when the depression of 1929 began.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt fights back in 1932 with the New Deal: 1. Increased federal spending, 2. Recovery programs for family and industry, 3. Poverty relief. The US economy slowly revives.

Insults and differences subside when in 1933, America offers diplomatic recognition to the USSR-however, they are the last major country to do so. With this new diplomatic relationship, the United States now has an embassy and ambassador in Moscow--enter George Kennan, a man who would set the stage for US-USSR relationships in the years to come. Kennan saw the Soviet Union as "unalterably opposed to our traditional system...There can be no possible middle ground or compromise between the two...The two systems cannot even exist in the same world unless an economic cordon is put around one or the other of them."

Kennan's words prove to be true and false: middle ground couldn't be reached until both powers had the capacity to obliterate each other and in doing so would have obliterated themselves. Compromise would eventually come, but at a cost of millions of lives, at a cost of economic progression, and at a cost of billions of dollars that could have been better spent.

The Spanish Civil War seems to play a huge role in the continuing saga, development, and tragedy of the Cold War--Next in History of the Cold War #5: The Spanish Civil War.