Essay #2: America after World War II
4/14/04


Dev. of US II


After the Atomic bomb unofficially ended World War II, questions surfaced about how to handle our communist ally during the war; The Soviet Union. Several theories were being thought of in the light of Soviets occupation of a good portion of Eastern Europe which Winston Churchill nicknamed the “Iron Curtain” take over. Former Vice president and 1948 Presidential candidate Henry A. Wallace thought the United States should become close allies with the Soviet Union. While Director of Policy planning of the U.S. State department George F. Kennan argued that the Soviet Union shouldn’t be taken over in any way, however contained and not allowed to take over anymore areas. Even though Kennan’s theory of containment was to become our foreign policy doctrine to The Soviet Union, Wallace’s idea made more sense and seemed more rational.


The Atomic bomb was one of the main things which inspired both of these expert’s theories. Both Wallace and Kennan differed in views, however had something in common, both understood eventually the Soviets would figure out the technology to build an Atomic Bomb and potentially use it against us. Wallace knew the threat of nuclear war existed and felt strong ties toward the USSR through diplomacy and through the advent of the United Nations, would create an understanding and potential friendship between the two nations and prevent a possible arms race. While Kennan knowing about Communist Ideology, believed it was almost impossible for countries with two distinct views could become friends so they had to be seen as a threat.


Henry Wallace’s view on the Soviet Union seemed the more logical of the two. Wallace believed our country after World War II should be focusing on a peaceful world rather than trying to find another enemy. World War II cost both our countries many lives and hundreds of billons of dollars, if an arms race were to build it would send our respective countries into astronomical deficits. According to Wallace the United Nations should make a charter that any country which chooses to become a member can only spend 15% of their federal budget on military.


Rather then use Marxist theory, which can be interpreted into making the citizens of the USSR feel it’s the communists responsibility to topple all capitalist countries, creating a communist threat to the US to try to justify containing the USSR like Kennan called in his “X” report. Wallace used the history of Russia to show a steadfast, persistent country in which we should try peaceful relations with rather than aggressive behavior. Wallace stated that the United States must focus its efforts to include the Soviet Union in the United Nations. By creating this alliance the US and the USSR would always have a governing mediator which would rule fairly in geo-political business disputes between the two countries with opposite economic ideas, for example the Iranian oil issues which we were in dispute over.


He also believed that both sides shouldn’t dislike each other because of the respective capitalist and communist view points, the ideologies shouldn’t be kept out of eastern European countries with military force; let the people of the country decide what is right for themselves. Doing this would create a peaceful understanding and create a possible compromise between the two nations in which American would learn more about social welfare and USSR would learn more about free trade. The opposing Keenan thought Communism, if not stopped forcefully would grow through Europe and Central American finally engulfing the United States.


Wallace also wanted the citizens of the United States too understand what Communism really is all about rather then fearing it. The Press just feeds on these fears, creating an ignorant country in which any type of peaceful idea or co-existent thought with USSR would make the citizens look as if their communist themselves. He believed it was in the media’s best interest to create an illusion of fear in our country too parts of the world we don’t know about.