Menzies and the 'Great World Struggle': Australia's Cold War 1948-54

By David Lowe | Go to book overview

1 THE COLD WAR TAKES SHAPE

What became known as the ' Cold War' was born in the ashes of the Second World War. In lives lost, the Second World War was the most destructive and least discriminating war the world had seen. The lines which divided adversaries in the Cold War initially emerged far from Australian shores, in Europe. To a large extent, these lines marked the limits of the western allies' eastward advances into Germany and the Balkans on the one hand, and the Soviet forces' westward advances in 1944-45, on the other.

But the Cold War, in its popular meaning and its implications, soon grew beyond Europe. Walter Lippmann, the American columnist, popularised the term ' Cold War' in 1947 in a book describing the intractable antagonism which had grown between the Soviet Union and the United States, Britain and their allies; the two camps which quickly became known as 'East' and 'West'. 1 In the preceding year, a number of international figures had offered more elaborate interpretations of the new world condition. Winston Churchill, wartime British Prime Minister, spoke in America of an 'iron curtain' descending across the European continent, a stark metaphor which created a storm of debate on both sides of his 'curtain'. Diplomats in the midst of US-Soviet and British-Soviet exchanges, namely American George Kennan and Briton Frank Roberts in Moscow, and the Soviet Ambassador in Washington, Nikolai Novikov, all ventured thoughts on the malaise in East-West relations which attracted attention in their respective capitals.

It was a special time for these men, for it was one of those rare occasions when diplomats' dispatches reached a desperately receptive

-13-

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Menzies and the 'Great World Struggle': Australia's Cold War 1948-54
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Abbreviations vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • The Cold War Takes Shape 13
  • The Menzies Government and the World 43
  • A Third World War? 74
  • Communists and Australians 101
  • A National Security State 128
  • The Old and the New 152
  • Conclusion 179
  • Notes 185
  • Select Bibliography 229
  • Index 235
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