The Libyan Arena: The United States, Britain, and the Council of Foreign Ministers, 1945-1948

By Scott L. Bills | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION "A Society of Victors"

The SECOND WORLD WAR set in motion a remarkable sea change -- good tides, bad tides, new milestones for glory and horror. For the remainder of the century, the war's blunt statistics became the simplest measure of near apocalypse as the numbers of dead and wounded, ragged and hungry, lost and found surpassed all previous human experience. Nothing else could equal the scale, pulse, heroism, destruction, and barbarity. Events at Mukden, Walwal, Guernica, and Munich appeared now as signposts on an inexorable road to war. The fury that flared in Nanking, Warsaw, Pearl Harbor, London, Stalingrad, Dresden, and Hiroshima presaged a world reborn. At the pinnacle now was the United States, the atomic powerhouse of the Grand Alliance, straddling the ruins of the old order. "The horizon of American foreign policy encompasses the political problems of all mankind," wrote one analyst in 1945. But the war's wreckage left an ominous trail of grief, deceit, and cynicism. The material encumbrance was another legacy. Years later an American traveler along the coast of Cyrenaica in northeastern Libya was amazed to see a highway still littered with the "carcasses" of tanks, trucks, and buses, the "rusting gasoline drums, the bare skeletons of planes, tin cans, and heaps of scrap."1 More disquieting was the human suffering, so obvious to many observers. Europe was starving. "Unless we do what we can to help," said Harry Truman in August 1945, "we may lose next winter what we won at such terrible cost last spring." Hardship was everywhere a bitter companion, from Flanders to Rome, through the battered lands of the eastern front where massed armies had fought, south to Benghazi and Cyrene, thence to Far Eastern ports of call; but Western Europe received the lion's share of American attention. The heartland of ideologies and conflict was also the hub of postwar planning. "Desperate men," warned Truman, "are liable to destroy the structure of their society to find in the wreckage some substitute for hope. If we let Europe go cold and hungry, we may lose some of the foundations of order on which the hope for worldwide peace

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The Libyan Arena: The United States, Britain, and the Council of Foreign Ministers, 1945-1948
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps viii
  • Tables ix
  • Abbreviations x
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction "A Society of Victors" 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Spoils of War 26
  • Chapter 3 - Plans for Libyan Trusteeship 45
  • Chapter 4 - The British Working Party 63
  • Chapter 5 - Dispatch of The Four Power Commission Of Investigation 87
  • Chapter 6 - The Libyan Tour 108
  • Chapter 7 - The Might That Failed 133
  • Chapter 8 - Conclusion In the Libyan Arena 155
  • Notes 165
  • Select Bibliography 197
  • Index 205
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