The Cold War in Retrospect: The Formative Years

By Roger S. Whitcomb | Go to book overview

1
The Troubled Partnership: The Bear and Eagle in World War II

"A relationship with Russia will not get very far unless we give up our peculiar habit of regarding moral excellence as a prereU+00AS quisite for wartime collaboration." 1

-- William Henry Chamberlin

On the eve of World War II a basic decision was made by the American government (in the face of a deeply divided citizenry) that isolationism could no longer represent a meaningful strategic foreign policy orientation. By deciding to play an active role in world affairs, it was now imperative that the Roosevelt administration put in place an acceptable rationale for formulating, prioritizing, and implementing policy goals and objectives. A key element in all of this was the necessity of analyzing as objectively as possible the major realities of the international situation. As it turned out, America was not able to do so always, everywhere, in a realistic manner. During the course of the war its lack of experience in European affairs, combined with the largely unrealistic legacies of its foreign affairs tradition, came in time to confound her decision makers' best intentions, in the process contributing to the great impasse with Soviet Russia that came to be called the Cold War.

That Soviet Russia and America should have come to such a disruptive and bitter confrontation reflected at the same time the great contradictions and even pathologies inherent in their respective traditions of foreign affairs--traditions that would contribute in great measure to the myriad misperceptions and misunderstandings of one another's attitudes, motives, and policies as the war proceeded. There would be numerous occasions during that conflict when opportunities for tension reduction and trust-building would be frittered away, paving the way for the disastrous policies that would follow later.

-7-

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The Cold War in Retrospect: The Formative Years
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction: America Meets Russia, 1941-1961 1
  • Notes 4
  • 1 - The Troubled Partnership: The Bear and Eagle in World War II 7
  • Notes 48
  • 2 - The Postwar Scene (1945-1953): Cold War Triumphant 65
  • Notes 123
  • 3 - The Eisenhower Years: Nothing Fundamental Has Changed 143
  • Notes 184
  • 4 - Babylon Revisited 199
  • Notes 222
  • Selected Bibliography 227
  • Index 253
  • About the Author 261
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