From Yalta to Disarmament: Cold War Debate

By Joseph P. Morray | Go to book overview

3
The Battle of Fulton, Missouri

In the preceding chapter we focused our attention on the efforts of Mr. Churchill to wriggle out of the bonds of Yalta. In this chapter Mr. Churchill makes good his escape and leads the Western world across a Rubicon into the portentous "Battle of Fulton," which confirmed the trend of the previous months and rallied American public opinion around a new policy of Cold War against the Soviet Union. The reader ought not, however, to conclude that Mr. Churchill engendered the Cold War, even though his words have been chosen to illuminate this early stage of the conflict. The roots of the Cold War are far deeper than the rhetoric, however estimable, of one man.

Powerful forces in Western society have necessarily been locked in an ideological struggle with the Soviet state since its birth as the issue of a revolution that professed to bring a new class to power. The existence of a Soviet government, proclaiming its class-consciousness and emphasizing its unique character as a dictatorship of the proletariat, constitutes a continuing challenge, more or less ominous, to governments of every other type, and a model, more or less compelling, for all people who feel themselves oppressed by other forms of state power. In every Western country there are classes of people who consider proletarian dictatorship calamitous. For such people, struggle against the Soviet state is an imperative of prudence. The Cold War is an intensified phase of their struggle, consequent upon the military debacle of Hitler's anti-Communist crusade. The surprising power of the first socialist state to defend itself from Hitler's onslaught gave notice to all that the Communists' claim of superiority for their social system had to be taken seriously.

The Cold War is therefore different from familiar nineteenthcentury forms of international rivalry between imperialist states. The class bases of these governments were hardly different from each other. Certainly none was proletarian. Neither is the twentieth-century government of the United States. The receipt of dividends and income from ownership of shares and property is rather the rule than the

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