Beginnings of the Cold War Arms Race: The Truman Administration and the U.S. Arms Build-Up

By Raymond P. Ojserkis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1

Demobilization

AMERICAN AND WESTERN EUROPEAN MILITARY PREPAREDNESS, 1945 TO EARLY 1948

The American, British, and French forces acting under Eisenhower’s supreme command in the days leading up to V-E Day in May 1945 were formidable. In terms of air and sea power, they were more effective than any other force in the world, and on land had shown that they could drive from the English Channel to the center of Germany. But by 1948, the Americans, British, and French, not to mention allies such as the Netherlands, had little military power in Europe. In the United States, a large national debt and a high political priority on returning to a traditional version of peacetime, one with little need for large arms budgets, led to a swift and significant demobilization. For Britain and France, a high priority on funding economic reconstruction and the draining effect of colonial conflicts in Asia prevented the maintenance of sizable and effective forces in Europe. On both sides of the North Atlantic, confidence in the deterrent effect of the United States’s atomic monopoly, and tardiness in concluding that the USSR was a substantial rival, contributed to the general rush to demobilize. With Germany and Italy demilitarized, there was little military force in Europe west of the Soviet occupation sector in Germany by the end of 1947.

In the United States, the prospect of a peacetime mobilization appeared unlikely to most Americans in the aftermath of World War II. Despite the intense acrimony that divided the governments in Moscow and Washington by, at latest, early 1946, it was by no means apparent that a cold war

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Beginnings of the Cold War Arms Race: The Truman Administration and the U.S. Arms Build-Up
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface and Acknowledgments vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Demobilization 5
  • Chapter 2 - Consolidation 13
  • Chapter 3 - Reconsideration 47
  • Chapter 4 - Transformation 85
  • Chapter 5 - Globalization 107
  • Chapter 6 - Actualization 129
  • Conclusions 153
  • Bibliography 215
  • Index 231
  • About the Author 239
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