* The last, and certainly most conspicuous, of the four events that transformed the political culture of Washington in 1946 was a speech given in early March by Winston Churchill at Westminster College in Truman’s home state of Missouri.
* Like Stalin’s speech of four weeks earlier, it was prepared for public consumption.
* Truman had read a draft in advance and approved it, though he would later equivocate on this point.
* He sat behind Churchill as the legendary leader, speaking in the great rolling cadences now so familiar to Americans, declared that an “iron curtain” had fallen on Europe, dividing the free people of the West from a tyrannical, totalitarian regime in the East.
* Sometimes called the opening shot of the Cold War, this passage is one of the most often-quoted in post 1945 world affairs:
* Churchill said near the end: “I do not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. What they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines … What is needed is a settlement, and the longer this is delayed the more difficult it will be and the greater our dangers will be.”
* This is coming from the guy who bitterly opposed to collapse of the British Empire which controlled 25% of the world only a few years earlier.
* Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.
* These four developments of February and early March 1946 – Stalin’s speech, Pearson’s revelations, the Long Telegram, and Churchill’s speech – went a long way toward solidifying American attitudes with respect to the Soviet Union.
* The Pearson revelations and the Stalin speech demonstrated to lawmakers of both parties that continued efforts at cooperation with the USSR would be risky to sustain in the hardening atmosphere of American politics.
* General suspicion of the Soviet Union moved to the mainstream-it was now the easier, politically safer stance for a congressional representative or senator to take.
* Add the four together and the picture was clear: Stalin’s Soviet Union presented no immediate danger, but neither could it be trusted.
* Because the Soviets could not be trusted, the United States needed to act, rather than stand idly by as it had in the 1930s.
* The questions now was – what to do about it?
* They didn’t want another war.
* And at this stage, the U.S. didn’t have a tradition of carrying a highly military budget during peacetime.
* Many in congress, and perhaps even Truman, believed that the expensive game of military readiness was something the old, defunct European nations did – the U.S. was an exception.
* Plus, Truman wanted to keep the government budget low and balanced and to avoid the inflation that a lot of people were predicting would come after the war ended and the economy returned to a consumer footing, with millions of soldiers returning home.
* As the Soviet threat seemed a long way off, Truman could afford to take his time and do it on the cheap.
* One of the first things he did was to screw Stalin on Iran.
* As we’ve mentioned in the past, Stalin had troops in Iran during WWII to stop the Nazis taking the oil reserves.
* As did the British, who of course had a long history with oil concessions – I think we talked about that on the Bullshit Filter series on Syria.
* Stalin demanded an oil concession from Iran that was equivalent to the one they gave the British.
* American and British diplomats worked with the Iranian leader Ahmad Qavam (and, secretly behind the scenes, with the heir to the Persian throne, Reza Pahlevi) to demand the removal of Soviet troops sent by Stalin to the northern part of the country and to suppress the Iranian communist party, Tudeh.
* Stalin agreed to withdraw his forces in exchange for an oil concession; but once the troops were out, the Iranians-backed by Washington-reneged on the oil agreement, and Iran settled back into the Western camp.
* At about the same time, the administration pushed through Congress a low-interest $3.75 billion loan to Britain.
* A tough sell initially, it won approval in July, justified not only by new geopolitical imperatives but also by the claim that the United Kingdom would become a lucrative market for American goods and by Britain’s willingness to make its pound sterling convertible to American dollars .
* In Germany, the U.S. tried to solidify their control over the political process in the regions they, and the other Western powers, controlled.
* The extreme economic deprivation that the people there were suffering under made them targets for communism.
* So the Americans, lead by General Lucius Clay, Cassius to his friends, supported anti-communist parties and tried to kick start the economy.
* But France and the U.S.S.R. blocked those efforts, because they didn’t want a revival of German power.
* So the U.S. needed to take it slowly.
* They were also backing Chiang Kai-Sheks’ Kuomintang in China against the communist forces lead by Mao.
* In Indochina, the Truman administration covertly backed French efforts to beat down nationalist foes dominated by the communist-led Vietminh under Ho Chi Minh
* But the real story I want to talk about is the Novikov Telegram.
* Nikolai Novikov, The Soviet ambassador in Washington, wrote his own telegram in September 1946.
* He was stressing the dangers of possible U.S. economic and military domination worldwide.
* Novikov attempted to interpret U.S. foreign policy for his superiors, much the same way George Kennan had done in his “Long Telegram” to the U.S. State Department earlier that year.
* It was a direct response to the Keenan telegram.
* And he accuses the Americans of the same thing they are accusing the Soviets of – expansion.
* I’m going to read some of it but as I do, keep in mind that this was a report written for Stalin and the Soviet leadership.
* It’s not a speech.
* It’s not propaganda.
* Like the Kennan telegram, this is intended for internal eyes only.
* In fact, the West only learned about the existence of it in 1990, during glasnost.
* He starts off:
* Reflecting the imperialistic tendency of American monopoly capital, US foreign policy has been characterized in the postwar period by a desire for world domination*. This is the real meaning of repeated statements by President Truman and other representatives of American ruling circles that the US has a right to world leadership [rukovodstvo]. All the forces of American diplomacy, the Army, Navy, and Air Force, industry, and science have been placed at the service of this policy. With this objective in mind broad plans for expansion have been developed, to be realized both diplomatically and through the creation of a system of naval and air bases far from the US, an arms race, and the creation of newer and newer weapons.
* Then he talks about how the European economy was destroyed by the second world war and America came out of it stronger than ever.
* However, he says:
* On the other hand, the expectations of those American circles have not been justified which were based on the Soviet Union being destroyed during the war or coming out of it so weakened that it was forced to bow to the US for economic aid. In this event it could have dictated such conditions which would provide the US with an opportunity to carry out its expansion in Europe and Asia without hindrance from the USSR.
* In reality, in spite of all the economic difficulties of the postwar period associated with the enormous damage caused by the war and the German fascist occupation the Soviet Union continues to remain economically independent from the outside world and is restoring its economy by its own means.
* In addition, at the present time the USSR has a considerably stronger international position than in the prewar period. Thanks to the historic victories of Soviet arms the Soviet armed forces are on the territory of Germany and other former enemy countries, a guarantee that these countries will not be used again to attack the USSR. As a result of their reorganization on democratic principles, in such former enemy countries as Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, and Romania regimes have been created which have set themselves the task of strengthening and maintaining friendly relations with the Soviet Union. In the Slavic countries – Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia – liberated by the Red Army or with its help, democratic regimes have also been created and are consolidating which maintain relations with the Soviet Union on the basis of friendship and mutual aid agreements.
* Right now US foreign policy is not being determined by those circles of the Democratic Party which (as when Roosevelt was alive) try to strengthen cooperation between the three great powers which composed the basis of the anti-Hitler coalition during the war. When President Truman, a politically unstable person with certain conservative tendencies, came to power followed by the appointment of Byrnes as Secretary of State it meant the strengthening of the influence of the most reactionary circles of the Democratic Party on foreign policy. The constantly increasing reactionary nature of US foreign policy, which as a consequence of this approached the policy advocated by the Republican Party, has created a foundation for close cooperation in this area between the extreme right wing of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. This cooperation of the two parties, formalized in both houses of Congress in the form of an unofficial bloc of reactionary Southern Democrats and the old guard of the Republicans headed by Vandenberg and Taft, is especially clearly demonstrated in the fact that in their statements about foreign policy issues the leaders of both parties are essentially advocating the same policy.
* At the same time the influence on foreign policy of the followers of the Roosevelt policy of cooperation with peaceloving powers has been sharply reduced.
* The increase in peacetime military potential and the organization of a large number of naval and air bases both in the US and beyond its borders are clear indicators of the US desire to establish world domination.
* For the first time in the country’s history in the summer of 1946 Congress adopted a law to form a peacetime army not of volunteers but on the basis of universal military conscription. The size of the Army, which is to reach 1 million men as of 1 July 1947, has been considerably increased. At the end of the war the size of the US Navy was reduced quite insignificantly compared to wartime. At the present time the US Navy occupies first place in the world, leaving the British Royal Navy far behind, not to mention other powers.The colossal growth of expenditures for the Army and Navy, comprising $13 billion in the 1946-1947 budget (about 40% of the entire budget of $36 billion) and is more than 10 times the corresponding expenditures in the 1938 budget, when it did not even reach $1 billion.
* These enormous budget sums are being spent along with the maintenance of a large Army, Navy, and Air Force and also the creation of a vast system of naval and air bases in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. According to available official plans, in the coming years 228 bases, support bases, and radio stations are to be built in the Atlantic Ocean and 258 in the Pacific Ocean. The majority of these bases and support bases are located outside the United States.
* The situating of American bases on islands often 10-12,000 kilometers from US territory and located on the other side of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans clearly shows the aggressive nature of the strategic designs of the US Army and Navy. The fact that the US Navy is studying the naval approaches to European shores in a concentrated manner is also confirmation of this.
* All these facts clearly show that their armed forces are designed to play a decisive role in the realization of plans to establish American world domination.
* In recent years American capital has been being introduced into the economies of Middle Eastern countries quite intensively, particularly in the oil industry. At the present time there are American oil concessions in all the Middle East countries which have sources of oil (Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia). American capital, which first appeared in the Middle East oil industry only in 1927, now controls about 42% of the total proven reserves of the Middle East (less Iran). Of the total proven reserves of 26.8 billion barrels of oil 11 billion belong to US concessions.
* Palestine, where the US has recently displayed great interest, creating many difficulties for Britain, can be cited as an example of the quite sharp differences in US and British policy in the Middle East as is occurring in the case of the demand of the US government to allow 100,000 European Jews into Palestine. American interest in Palestine, outwardly expressed in sympathy for the Zionist cause, actually only means that American capital is expecting to become rootedin the economy of Palestine by interfering in Palestinian affairs. The choice of a Palestinian port as one of the terminal points of the American oil pipeline explains a lot about American foreign policy on the issue of Palestine.
* And he concludes with this:
* All these steps to preserve the great military potential are not an end in itself, of course. They are intended only to prepare conditions to win world domination in a new war being planned by the most warlike circles of American imperialism, the timeframe for which, needless to say, no one can determine right now.It ought to be fully realized that American preparations for a future war are being conducted with the idea of war against the Soviet Union, which in the eyes of American imperialists is the chief obstacle in the American path to world domination. Such facts as the tactical training of the US Army for war with the USSR as a future enemy, the situating of American strategic bases in regions from which strikes can be launched on Soviet territory, the intensified training and reinforcement of Arctic regions as tactical approaches to the USSR, and attempts to pave the way in Germany and Japan to use them in a war against the USSR testify to this.
* So this is the internal view of the U.S. in 1946 from the Soviet ambassador.
HOW TO LISTEN
If you haven’t heard any of the series and want to know if you’ll like it before you sign up, you can listen to the first six episodes totally free. You might want to start with Episode 1, unless of course you’re an old school George Lucas fan, in which case feel free to start at Episode IV. We don’t recommend it though.
If you haven’t already, join our Facebook page and you’ll be in the running to win prizes in our regular “Share The Love” and other competitions.
If you’d like a chance to win a prize, write a funny or insightful review on iTunes.