Hungary in the Cold War, 1945-1956: Between the United States and the Soviet Union

By László Borhi | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
EMPIRE BY COERCION

Towards the end of 1949 the bipolar structure of the world had already taken shape. Both the United States and the USSR had decided that there was no longer any ground for their cooperation, and moreover that to do so would threaten their own world position. Hence the most pressing issues that faced the victor powers remained unresolved. No collective peace treaty was signed with Japan, and Germany ended up as two separate states. German division was not premeditated, but with hindsight, it was probably inevitable.1 As early as the Potsdam Conference, the U.S. had given up the idea of running Germany on a quadripartite basis because Secretary of State Byrnes had come to believe that cooperation with the USSR on the basis of common goals was not possible. After the Potsdam conference American policy in Germany was totally transformed, and this transformation—the idea that Germany and the rest of Europe would not be divided on a friendly basis—set the major powers at odds with each other.2 It is also likely that Stalin and Molotov, in fear of a strong, remilitarized West Germany, kept on hoping for a united Germany with Soviet military presence until Stalin's note of 1952 was turned down by the Western powers. Stalin's successors would have been willing even to accept a unified and demilitarized Germany in order to avoid the FRG's membership in NATO and the EDC.3 World politics seemed now to function as a zero sum game: a loss for one superpower was a gain for the other.

A case in point was China, where Mao Zedong's victory meant the “loss” of the country to the United States. Stalin exploited the victory of Mao's Communist movement by signing a pact of friendship that guaranteed military, political and economic gains for the Soviet Union. It is true that Moscow recognized Chinese sovereignty and the treaty reflected Mao's desire to preserve as much freedom of action and flexibility as possible in foreign policy matters and gave China license to operate on its own in matters concerning Asia.4 In Korea the great powers got embroiled in unintended confrontation. Soon after the Sino-Soviet pact was concluded, the Kremlin, acting in the belief that a revolutionary situation existed in Korea, lent support to the North Korean dictator's attack on South Korea. Stalin, who thought that a friendly regime in the whole Korean peninsula was

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Hungary in the Cold War, 1945-1956: Between the United States and the Soviet Union
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter I - We Do Not Wish to Move a Finger 17
  • Chapter II - The Myth of Democracy 47
  • Chapter III - The Communists Take Over 111
  • Chapter IV - The Merchants Ofthe Kremlin 139
  • Chapter V - Empire by Coercion 197
  • Chapter VI - Ontainment, Rollback, Liberation or Inaction? 269
  • Conclusion 325
  • Bibliography 335
  • Index 347
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