Czechoslovakia: Anvil of the Cold War

By John O. Crane; Sylvia E. Crane | Go to book overview
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20 Storm Signals (1947)

The winter of 1946-1947 saw mounting tensions on both sides of Churchill's Iron Curtain. On January 17th, John Foster Dulles, Republican adviser to the U.S. State Department, made an inflammatory speech advocating a Western buildup of Germany's coal and iron power as a bulwark against Soviet Russia.1 In a follow-up speech a week later, he warned of "dire consequences" if "Soviet dynamism continued to be appeased." Dulles was reported to have cleared both speeches with U.S. Republican leaders, especially senators Arthur Vandenberg and Robert Taft and with Gov. Thomas E. Dewey of New York.2

On January 20th, the Polish elections established Communist control, evoking an acidulous reaction from Senator Vandenberg, who charged Russia with responsibility. East-West differences were exacerbated by Secretary of State George C. Marshall's announcement later in February that he was taking Dulles to the approaching Moscow conference of foreign ministers, as his adviser on Germany.3 In Washington these strident voices of the widening East-West rift systematically depicted the Soviet Union as aggressive and expansionist.

On February 24, 1947, the British ambassador in Washington, Lord Reading, announced to U.S. under-secretary of state Dean Acheson that the British government would withdraw from Greece on March 31st, unable to continue its support of the corrupt Greek monarchy. On March 6, 1947 at Baylor College, President Harry S. Truman declared that an irreconcilable conflict existed between governments with planned economies and those of free enterprise democratic

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