AFTER YALTA: America and the Origins of the Cold War by Lisle A. Rose

AFTER YALTA: America and the Origins of the Cold War

Age Range: 1946 - 47
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A novel apologia for the Cold War based on culture shock theory. Nuclear power, CIO wage demands, Soviet spying and so forth quite befuddled U.S. policymakers in the immediate postwar period: ""the American government and people were still trying to comprehend and adjust to the successive shocks of depression, world war, reform, bureaucratization, and above all the responsibilities of world power. The American political culture of 1945 and 1946 had become too complex, the spectrum of competing interest groups too wide, and the number of novel issues too great, to permit coherent and consistent policy formulation. . . ."" One might ask why Washington became incoherent in the particular anti-Soviet way it did, or, given the undoubtedly greater shock dealt the Russians, why they didn't simply go berserk. Rose concludes from a few patches of historical material that instead ""the Kremlin must assume an equal if not greater measure of responsibility"" for the Cold War, owing to their ""tyrannical appetites."" Truman's diplomatic rudeness toward the Russians is shrugged off as a need to assert himself, and Byrnes' affront to Molotov at the Foreign Ministers Conference -- saying he carried an A-bomb in his hip pocket and was not afraid to use it -- gives rise to Rose's conjecture that ""perhaps he [Molotov] meant to wreck the conference."" Truman's Fair Deal and the strike wave of 1946-47 are accorded similarly dubious judgments. For a serious defense of the State Department view of the Cold War, Herbert Feis' From Trust to Terror (1970) is far better.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1973
Publisher: Scribners