New Deal and the Great Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2890 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World


The Soviet Union directly challenged the West in 1948 by initiating a blockade of the western sectors of Berlin, however, the United States airlifted supplies into the city until the blockade was lifted (Cold1 pp). These challenges in Europe led the United States to reverse its traditional policy of avoiding permanent alliances, and in 1949, along with eleven other nations, signed the North Atlantic Treaty, NATO, thus challenging the Communist bloc to form the 1955 Warsaw Treaty Organization as a counterbalance to NATO (Cold1 pp).

At conferences in Tehran in 1943, Yalta in February 1945, and Potsdam in July-August 1945, the Western democracies and the Soviet Union discussed the progress of World War II and the nature of the postwar settlement (Cold2 pp). After the war, disputes began, particularly over the Soviet takeover of East European states, leading Winston Churchill in 1946 to warn that an "iron curtain" was descending through the middle of Europe (Cold2 pp). Joseph Stalin furthered the estrangement between the United States and the Soviet Union when in 1946 he asserted that World War II was an "unavoidable and inevitable consequence of 'capitalist imperialism' and implied that such a war might reoccur" (Cold2 pp).

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Generally speaking, historians disagree as to who was responsible for the breakdown of United States -- Soviet relations and whether the conflict between the two superpowers was inevitable (Cold pp). "This revisionist approach reached its height during the Vietnam War when many began to view the American and Soviet empires as morally comparable" (Cold pp). Post-revisionist historians however, borrow from the realist school of international relations and basically accept United States European policy in Europe, such as the United States aid to Greece in 1947 and the Marshall Plan (Cold pp). While other Western historians try to balance West and East view of the Cold War (Cold pp).

Work Cited

Cold War.

Cold1 War. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition; 2001.

Cold2 War: Postwar Estrangement.

TOPIC: Term Paper on New Deal and the Great Assignment

United States Intervention

President Woodrow Wilson spent the years 1914 to the beginning of 1917 trying to avoid entering the War in Europe, and although he offered his services as a mediator, neither the Allies nor the Central Powers took his requests seriously (Woodrow pp). However, when Germany "resumed unrestricted submarine warfare and made a clumsy attempt to get Mexico on its side in the Zimmerman Note, Wilson took America into the Great War as an 'associated belligerent'" (Woodrow pp). He then pushed the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 through Congress to suppress "socialist, anti-British, pro-Irish, pro-German, or anti-war opinions" (Woodrow pp).

Between 1914 and 1918, the United States invaded or intervened in Latin America numerous times, especially in Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, and Panama (Woodrow pp). The United States also maintained troops in Nicaragua throughout Wilson's administration and used them to select the president of Nicaragua and force the country to pass the Bryan-Chamorro Treaty (Woodrow pp). And American troops in Haiti forced the Haiti legislature to choose Wilson's candidate as Haiti's president, however, when Haiti refused to declare war on Germany, Wilson had Haiti's government dissolved and forced a "new less democratic constitution on Haiti through a sham referendum" (Woodrow pp). Moreover, American soldiers expelled small farmers from their lands to work in chain-gangs on public works projects and gave the land to plantation owners (Woodrow pp). In 1919, Haitians rebelled against the Americans, resulting in some three thousand deaths (Woodrow pp). Piero Gleijesus noted, "It is not that Wilson failed in his earnest efforts to bring democracy to these little countries ... He never tried ... He intervened to impose hegemony, not democracy" (Woodrow pp). From 1917 to 1920, the United States supported the "White" side of the Russian civil war, first with financial assistance, and later with a naval blockade and ground forces in Murmansk, Archangelsk, and Vladivostok (Woodrow pp).

Wilson faced greater challenges in foreign policy than any president since Abraham Lincoln, and determining whether to involve the United States in World War I tested his leadership severely (Woodrow pp). Due to increased pressure, the United States entered the conflict with a formal declaration of war against Germany on April 6, 1917, followed by a declaration of war against Austria-Hungary on December 7 (Woodrow pp). After the war, Wilson tried to assure statehood for the formerly oppressed nations and an equitable peace, however, his work resulted in mixed success (Woodrow pp). On January 8, 1918, he made his "Fourteen Points" address, which introduced the idea of a League of Nations, "an organization that would strive to help preserve territorial integrity and political independence among large and small nations alike" (Woodrow pp). Wilson intended the address to serve as a means toward ending the war and achieving peace (Woodrow pp). In December 1918, he sailed to Versailles for the 1919 Paris Peace Conference where he worked to promote his plan (Woodrow pp). The charter of the proposed League of Nations was incorporated into the Treaty of Versailles, however, the majority of the other Fourteen points "fell by the wayside" (Woodrow pp). Wilson was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize for his peacemaking effort, however, the award was bittersweet, because he was unable to convince congressional opponents to support the resolution endorsing the United States entry into the league (Woodrow pp). Wilson believed that the United States membership was essential to ensuring lasting world peace (Woodrow pp).

George Kennan wrote in October 1972 American Foreign Policy, that one of the great problems American policymakers faced during the post-World War II period concerned what to do in peace-time with the "fearful new weapon of mass destruction they had created during the war and used ... against the Japanese" (Kennan pp). The problem was without precedent, writes Kennan, and using war as a "method of resolving conflicts among industrially advanced great powers had become inordinately costly, dangerous and self-destructive" (Kennan pp). Says Kennan, "the nuclear weapon involved a change in degree of destructiveness so great as to be in effect a change in kind ... And how it should be fitted into national arsenals, and what relation it should bear to traditional weaponry" (Kennan pp).

The NATO alliance provided a framework the aided the socialization of the military leaders of the post-World War II era, including the inculcation of a strong belief in civilian supremacy (Muravchik pp). During the 1920's and 1930's the downfall of democracy for many European countries was due to military officers, however, since NATO, such episodes have been rare (Muravchik pp). Perhaps the most dramatic exception was in 1967 when a military coup in Greece obliterated democracy for seven years (Muravchik pp). "Under the umbrella of NATO, Western European economies were built anew, as were the organs of civil society and stable political parties," and together with the Marshall Plan created the climate needed to energize Europeans to work, save, and invest until they had created for themselves a never before enjoyed prosperity (Muravchik pp).

Foreign policy can be either bilateral, the relationship between two countries, or multilateral, involving a group of countries, such as NATO (U.S. pp).

During the Gulf War in 1991, the United States led a multilateral coalition sanctioned by the Security Council of the United Nations against Iraq in order to liberate Kuwait (U.S. pp).

President Wilson understood the need to resolve international conflicts by peaceful methods, thus, he is usually cited as a prime example of idealism in American foreign policy, hence the League of Nations (U.S. pp). However, the League of Nations failed to prevent World War II, and so has been criticized by realists as being idealistic and ineffective (U.S. pp). Yet, at the end of World War II, President Roosevelt helped to bring about the United Nations as mankind's last best hope for a peaceful world (U.S. pp).

Work Cited

US Foreign Policy.

Muravchik, Joshua. "NATO's Impact on Democratic, Economic Institutions."

Woodrow Wilson.

Kennan, George F. "After the Cold War: American Foreign Policy in the 1970's"

From Foreign Affairs; October 1972 [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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