Archive for the ‘Chapter 36’ Category

The Iron Curtain speech

“Iron Curtain Speech”, March 5, 1946
Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill gave this speech at Westminster College, in Fulton, Missouri, after receiving an honorary degree. With typical oratorical skills, Church popularized the phrase “Iron Curtain” to describe the division between Western powers and the area controlled by the Soviet Union. As such the speech marks the onset of the Cold War. The speech was very long, and here excerpts are presented. The official name for this speech is “Sinews of Peace.” Before this speech, many people had never heard the phrase “Iron Curtain,” although it had been in use in previous writings by Churchill.

The United States stands at this time at the pinnacle of world power. It is a solemn moment for the American democracy. For with this primacy in power is also joined an awe-inspiring accountability to the future. As you look around you, you must feel not only the sense of duty done, but also you must feel anxiety lest you fall below the level of achievement. Opportunity is here now, clear and shining, for both our countries. To reject it or ignore it or fritter it away will bring upon us all the long reproaches of the aftertime.

It is necessary that constancy of mind, persistency of purpose, and the grand simplicity of decision shall rule and guide the conduct of the English-speaking peoples in peace as they did in war. We must, and I believe we shall, prove ourselves equal to this severe requirement.

I have a strong admiration and regard for the valiant Russian people and for my wartime comrade, Marshal Stalin. There is deep sympathy and goodwill in Britain — and I doubt not here also — toward the peoples of all the Russias and a resolve to persevere through many differences and rebuffs in establishing lasting friendships.

It is my duty, however, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe.
From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.

The safety of the world, ladies and gentlemen, requires a unity in Europe, from which no nation should be permanently outcast. It is from the quarrels of the strong parent races in Europe that the world wars we have witnessed, or which occurred in former times, have sprung.

Twice the United States has had to send several millions of its young men across the Atlantic to fight the wars. But now we all can find any nation, wherever it may dwell, between dusk and dawn. Surely we should work with conscious purpose for a grand pacification of Europe within the structure of the United Nations and in accordance with our Charter.

In front of the iron curtain which lies across Europe are other causes for anxiety. In Italy the Communist party is seriously hampered by having to support the Communist trained Marshal Tito’s claims to former Italian territory at the head of the Adriatic. Nevertheless the future of Italy hangs in the balance. Again one cannot imagine a regenerated Europe without a strong France. All my public life I have worked for a strong France. I never lost faith in her destiny, even in the darkest hours. I will not lose faith now. However, in a great number of countries, far from the Russian frontiers and throughout the world, Communist fifth columns are established and work in complete unity and absolute obedience to the directions they receive from the Communist center. Except in the British Commonwealth and in this United States, where Communism is in its infancy, the Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilization. These are somber facts for any one to have to recite on the morrow of a victory gained by so much splendid comradeship in arms and in the cause of freedom and democracy, and we should be most unwise not to face them squarely while time remains.

The outlook is also anxious in the Far East and especially in Manchuria. The agreement which was made at Yalta, to which I was a party, was extremely favorable to Soviet Russia, but it was made at a time when no one could say that the German war might not extend all through the summer and autumn of 1945 and when the Japanese war was expected to last for a further eighteen months from the end of the German war. In this country you are all so well informed about the Far East, and such devoted friends of China, that I do not need to expatiate on the situation there.

I repulse the idea that a new war is inevitable — still more that it is imminent.

It is because I am sure that our fortunes are still in our own hands and that we hold the power to save the future, that I feel the duty to speak out now that I have the occasion and the opportunity to do so.

I do not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. What they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines.

But what we have to consider here today while time remains, is the permanent prevention of war and the establishment of conditions of freedom and democracy as rapidly as possible in all countries. Our difficulties and dangers will not be removed by closing our eyes to them. They will not be removed by mere waiting to see what happens; nor will they be removed by a policy of appeasement.

What is needed is a settlement, and the longer this is delayed, the more difficult it will be and the greater our dangers will become.

From what I have seen of our Russian friends and allies during the war, I am convinced that there is nothing they admire so much as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than for weakness, especially military weakness.

For that reason the old doctrine of a balance of power is unsound. We cannot afford, if we can help it, to work on narrow margins, offering temptations to a trial of strength.

Last time I saw it all coming and I cried aloud to my own fellow countrymen and to the world, but no one paid any attention. Up till the year 1933 or even 1935, Germany might have been saved from the awful fate which has overtaken her and we might all have been spared the miseries Hitler let loose upon mankind.

There never was a war in history easier to prevent by timely action than the one which has just desolated such great areas of the globe. It could have been prevented, in my belief, without the firing of a single shot, and Germany might be powerful, prosperous and honored today; but no one would listen and one by one we were all sucked into the awful whirlpool.

We must not let it happen again. This can only be achieved by reaching now, in 1946, a good understanding on all points with Russia under the general authority of the United Nations Organization and by the maintenance of that good understanding through many peaceful years, by the whole strength of the English-speaking world and all its connections.

If the population of the English-speaking Commonwealth be added to that of the United States, with all that such cooperation implies in the air, on the sea, all over the globe, and in science and in industry, and in moral force, there will be no quivering, precarious balance of power to offer its temptation to ambition or adventure. On the contrary there will be an overwhelming assurance of security.

If we adhere faithfully to the Charter of the United Nations and walk forward in sedate and sober strength, seeking no one’s land or treasure, seeking to lay no arbitrary control upon the thoughts of men, if all British moral and material forces and convictions are joined with your own in fraternal association, the high roads of the future will be clear, not only for us but for all, not only for our time but for a century to come.

Government propaganda on how to spot a Communist

This is priceless, and will give you some perspective on the paranoia that gripped the nation.

Chapter 36 questions

Due Monday, March 17.

Chapter 36 questions
1. What had happened to the power of unions during the war, and how did Congress attempt to address this? What did Americans fear might happen economically as the war ended?
2. What was the motivation and purpose of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act? What was its other name? What specifically did it provide? What long term impact did it have? Explain whether it was good for America or not and why.
3. What specific steps did the Truman administration take to prevent an economic downturn? Explain the impact of each.
4. Which groups benefited most during the boom years of the 1950s (and 1960s)? What became the common economic aspirations of Americans during this time? What regions grew the most and which ones declined?
5. What were the SPECIFIC effects of the post war boom on family life? Make sure you are thorough. How did it affect child-rearing, mobility, etc. ? When did the baby boom peak?
6. What factors encouraged the growth of the suburbs, and what effect did this then have on urban areas? How did federal programs exacerbate this trend? What effect did this have on the poor and minority groups?
7. What was Harry Truman’s educational and employment background before becoming president? What personal traits made him a great president?
8. What were the reasons why the US wanted the USSR to get involved in the war against Japan by early 1945? Where, why and when did that change?
9. What were the main reasons for the deteriorating relationship between the US and the USSR at the end of the war and immediately thereafter? What decisions were made at the Yalta Conferences, and how do they indicate a failing relationship? What similarities did our two countries share, ideologically speaking?
10. How was the United Nations supposed to be better than the League of Nations? Explain and name its first successes. What was its first serious failure?
11. Why was Berlin a particular source of trouble among the Allies? What events in 1948 made this situation more tense?
12. Describe the early Cold War policy suggested by George F. Kennan. What assumptions was this based upon regarding the USSR? How, where, and why did the US first implement specific programs under this policy?
13. Describe the Marshall Plan. What was the reasoning used to justify this huge expense? What impact did it have? Why did Eastern Europe not participate?
14. What was the purpose of NATO? Why was this a precedent shattering program for the US? What was significant about Truman’s recognition of the Israel’s founding?
15. Compare and contrast the treatment of postwar Japan with that of Germany.
16. What was the first big crisis in Asia in the early postwar years? Explain who the main persons and groups involved were. How did this situation end up being used by the Republican party for political purposes?
17. Describe the various crises regarding domestic subversion and disloyalty during the early Cold War. How were both the House and the Senate involved? How did Truman attempt to respond to fears of Communist subversion within government?
18. What was the McCarran Act, and what did Truman think of it? What did the National Security Act do?
19. How did Senator Joe McCarthy’s “witch hunt” create hysteria in the US? What eventually unmasked him as a fraud? What happened to him in the end?
20. Why did the Democratic party split before the 1948 election? Describe the positions of the four candidates for president in 1948. Why was Thomas Dewey expected to win, and why didn’t he?
21. What did Truman name his domestic program, and what were its main features? Which of these were actually accomplished?
22. Explain the main features and impact of NSC-68. What assumptions did it make about US industrial capacity?
23. How and why did the US (and the UN) get involved in the Korean civil war?
24. Why did General Douglas MacArthur become frustrated about the tactics used in fighting the Korean War? What was the main source of disagreement with President Truman? What eventually happened to MacArthur? What effect did this have on Truman?

Survivor of Hiroshima… and Nagasaki

Tsutomu Yamaguchi: Was he the luckiest or the unluckiest man in Japan in August of 1945? Here’s the whole story, not just the blurb in the local paper, and you can go to the website to see a picture of Mr. Yamaguchi, alive and kicking at age 94:

It seems almost improper to suggest that fortune was smiling on Tsutomu Yamaguchi in the dying days of the second world war.

On 6 August 1945, he was in Hiroshima, preparing to return home from a business trip when the American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, dropped an atomic bomb on the city. Yamaguchi lived, while 140,000 other people who were in the city that morning died, some in an agonising instant, others many months later.

Burned and barely able to comprehend what had happened – only that he had witnessed a bomb unlike any used before – Yamaguchi spent a fitful night in an air raid shelter before returning home the following day.

That home, 180 miles to the west, was Nagasaki. His arrival came the day before it was devastated by a second US atomic bomb on 9 August.

In a barely conceivable course of events, he had twice been perilously close to nuclear ground zero; and both times he had lived. More than 70,000 other residents of Nagasaki were not so lucky.

More than 60 years later, the 93-year-old became the first and only known survivor of both attacks yesterday to win official recognition from Japanese authorities.

While other survivors died prematurely from cancer and liver disease caused by their exposure to radiation, Yamaguchi remains in relatively good health apart from near-deafness in one ear and complaints that his legs are “growing weak”.

Japanese records show dozens of people experienced the blast in Hiroshima only to be exposed to “residual radiation” in Nagasaki three days later. But Yamaguchi is the first to have been at ground zero when both explosions occurred.

According to a newspaper interview Yamaguchi gave on the 60th anniversary of the end of the Pacific war, he had spent the conflict designing oil tankers for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a wartime zaibatsu, or conglomerate, whose shipyards dominated the Nagasaki skyline.

After a three-month stint at the firm’s yards in Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and two colleagues, Akira Iwanaga and Kuniyoshi Sato, prepared to return to Nagasaki on 7 August, 1945. The day before, they woke early, collected their belongings and prepared for the train journey west.

On the way to the station they became separated after Yamaguchi realised he had left his personal seal in the office.

He remembers hearing the Enola Gay circling above, but thought nothing of it: Hiroshima was an important wartime industrial base, and the sound of circling planes had become a fact of life.

Within seconds he had been knocked to his feet by the force of the blast as “Little Boy” detonated 580 metres above central Hiroshima just after 8.15 am, announcing its arrival with a blinding flash followed by a deafening boom. As he stumbled to the train station the next day, Yamaguchi witnessed the destruction and carnage left by the bomber’s 13-kiloton payload.

The following day, his burns swathed in bandages, Yamaguchi reported for work in Nagasaki, like Hiroshima an important industrial and military base.

At 11.02 on 9 August, as his boss reportedly questioned his sanity for believing that a single bomb could destroy a city the size of Hiroshima, a 25-kiloton plutonium bomb exploded above Nagasaki, throwing Yamaguchi to the ground.

He, his wife and baby son survived and spent the following week in a shelter near what was left of their home. His son has since died of cancer aged 59.

After the war Yamaguchi worked for the US occupation authorities, became a teacher and eventually returned to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Yamaguchi was quoted yesterday by the Mainichi newspaper. “My double radiation exposure is now an official government record. It can tell the younger generation the horrifying history of the atomic bombings even after I die,” he said.

As a registered survivor of the Nagasaki bombing, Yamaguchi has owned a pale violet copy of the Atomic Bomb Victim Health Handbook since 1957, entitling him to monthly allowances, free medical checkups and funeral costs. More than 260,000 others are similarly covered.

Yamaguchi’s handbook confirmed he was within a three-kilometre radius of ground zero in both cities, but the reference to Hiroshima was deleted when he renewed it at Nagasaki city hall in 1960.

Officials refused to recognise Yamaguchi’s special status because, they said, it would not affect his medical and welfare entitlements, but relented after he filed another request earlier this year.

“As far as we know, he is the first one to be officially recognised as a survivor of atomic bombings,” Toshiro Miyamoto, a Nagasaki city official, told the Associated Press. “It’s such an unfortunate case, but it is possible there are more like him.”

And here is his first-hand account of what he experienced:

How I survived Hiroshima – and then Nagasaki

Tsutomu Yamaguchi must be one of the luckiest people on the planet. In his only interview with a British newspaper, he tells David McNeill about the moment when the same white light filled the room again

Thursday, 26 March 2009


Aerial view showing atom bomb damage at Hiroshima, 6 August 1945

It will go down as one of the most inspiring survival stories ever to emerge from a horrific war. Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in his twenties when he found himself in Hiroshima on the morning of 6 August 1945, as a single B-29 US bomber droned overhead. The “Little Boy” bomb that it dropped from its payload would kill or injure 160,000 people by the day’s end.

Among them was the young engineer – who was in town on a business trip for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – who stepped off a tram as the bomb exploded.

Despite being 3km (just under two miles) from Ground Zero, the blast temporarily blinded him, destroyed his left eardrum and inflicted horrific burns over much of the top half of his body. The following morning, he braved another dose of radiation as he ventured into Hiroshima city centre, determined to catch a train home, away from the nightmare.

But home for Mr Yamaguchi was Nagasaki, where two days later the “Fat Man” bomb was dropped, killing 70,000 people and creating a city where, in the words of its mayor, “not even the sound of insects could be heard”. In a bitter twist of fate, Yamaguchi was again 3km from the centre of the second explosion. In fact, he was in the office explaining to his boss how he had almost been killed days before, when suddenly the same white light filled the room. “I thought the mushroom cloud had followed me from Hiroshima,” Mr Yamaguchi said.

His is a truly remarkable story, all the more so because, for years, its protagonist was determined to play it down. But now, at the age of 93 and dying from cancer – probably caused by the atomic bombs that almost killed him, twice – Mr Yamaguchi has finally been awarded the recognition his life deserves. This week, the Nagasaki and Hiroshima governments recorded Mr Yamaguchi as a double-hibakusha, acknowledging that he was exposed to both blasts that incinerated the cities in 1945. “As far as we know, it is the first time that a dual exposure to atomic bombings has been entered into an A-bomb survivor’s ID,” officials said.

Living out his final days in the rebuilt Nagasaki, where he resides with his daughter, Toshiko, the old man is happy his tale is reaching people around the world. “After I die, I want the next generation of hibakusha and the children after that to know what happened to us,” he told The Independent in a telephone interview.

Like many of the roughly 260,000 survivors of the atomic explosions, Mr Yamaguchi suffered agony for much of his life, as his daughter explains. “Until I was about 12, he was wrapped in bandages for his skin wounds, and he went completely bald,” says Toshiko, now 60. “My mother was also soaked in black rain [the famously radioactive rain that fell after both bombings] and was poisoned. We think she passed on that poison to us.”

Yamaguchi’s children, like many second-generation hibakusha, have also been plagued by health problems. His son, Katsutoshi, died of cancer in 2005 aged 59. His daughter Naoko has, in Toshiko’s words, been “sickly” all her life. His wife died last year, aged 88, of kidney and liver cancer after a lifetime of illness. “I suffer too from a terribly low white blood cell count, so I worry about what will happen to me,” Toshiko adds.

But his children’s illnesses aside, Mr Yamaguchi seemed determined to live his life as normally as possible. After recovering from his burns and radiation sickness, he returned to work as a ship engineer in the local port, and rarely discussed what happened to him. “Afterwards he was fine – we hardly noticed he was a survivor,” recalls Toshiko. Her father raised his family and declined to play any part in the anti-bomb activities that fill the lives of some survivors because “he was so healthy, he thought it would have been unfair to people who were really sick”.

Mr Yamaguchi must have watched the world outside his city with alarm. Six decades after his horrific experiences, the US alone has 8,000 active or operational warheads, each carrying on average about 20 times the destructive power of Hiroshima. The once-select nuclear club of America, Russia, China, France and Britain has been swelled by new recruits Israel, Pakistan, India and probably North Korea. Even conservative Japanese politicians hint that they might one day need the bomb.

“I can’t understand why the world cannot understand the agony of the nuclear bombs,” he says, speaking through his daughter. “How can they keep developing these weapons?”

Along with thousands of others, Mr Yamaguchi applied for hibakusha status with Nagasaki when the government finally began to provide health assistance (and later other benefits) in 1957. His government-issued ID stated he was exposed to radiation only in Nagasaki, thereby neglecting his unique status as a double survivor. And he saw no need to draw attention to it.

But as he got older, things changed. In his eighties, he finally wrote a book about his experiences, and was invited to take part in a documentary called Nijuuhibaku (Twice Bombed, Twice Survived), about the handful of double A-bomb victims. The film shows him weeping bitterly as he describes watching bloated corpses floating in the city’s rivers and encountering the walking dead of Hiroshima, whose melting flesh hung like “giant gloves”.

Three years ago, the film was screened at the UN in New York, where Mr Yamaguchi, by then wheelchair-bound, pleaded with the audience to fight for the abolition of nuclear weapons. “As a double atomic bomb survivor I experienced the bomb twice, and I sincerely hope that there will not be a third,” he said.

His friends, including local journalist Masami Miyashita, told him he should make his status official. “I’ve never met anyone like him,” says Mr Miyashita. “There are other people who suffered in both bombings, but nobody I know who was so close to the blasts. To survive once is agony; twice is a miracle. But he has never made a big deal about it.”

Today, Mr Yamaguchi believes that God “planted a path” for him. “It was my destiny that I experienced this twice and I am still alive to convey what happened,” he said. So in January this year, he filed a request for double recognition.

Very late in life then, and much to his surprise, the retired engineer finds himself making a small piece of history, and seeing his face in newspapers and on TV across the world. Some have called Mr Yamaguchi the luckiest man alive, but his daughter says he rarely considers such things. “He laughs when asked why he was so lucky,” says Toshiko. “He just doesn’t know.”

50th Anniversary of Jackson, Mississippi sit-in

Today marks the 50th anniversary of a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Jackson, MS, which was the subject of a famous photograph. Notice that the protesters are both white and African American (otherwise it wouldn’t be as obvious an attempt to integrate):

Tougaloo College students and faculty attempt to integrate a lunch counter in Jackson, MS.

Tougaloo College students and faculty attempt to integrate a lunch counter in Jackson, MS.

Here is the article:


JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi will inaugurate a marker Tuesday recalling a civil rights protest 50 years ago when a white mob attacked a racially mixed group seated at a whites-only lunch counter.

On May 28, 1963, the mob attacked some Tougaloo College students and faculty members who opposed segregation by sitting at the whites-only counter at a Woolworth’s five-and-dime store in Jackson. Some of the peaceful demonstrators were beaten. Others were doused with ketchup, mustard and sugar.

The marker is part of the Mississippi Freedom Trail, a series of signs honoring those who challenged segregation. The sit-in was similar to other protests around the South and occurred two weeks before Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers was assassinated in Jackson.

The Woolworth’s, which was located on a downtown Jackson street, closed decades ago.

Here is a link to a first-person account of one of the protesters who took part in the sit-ins in a different town in Mississippi. I have included an excerpt, but please read the whole account here:

Mississippi Lunch Counter Sit-ins, 1963
From Anne Moody. Coming of Age in Mississippi.
“At exactly 11 a.m., Pearlena, Memphis, and I entered Woolworth’s from the rear entrance….before 11:15 we were occupying three seats at the previously segregated Woolworths lunch counter. In the beginning the waitresses seemed to ignore us, as if they really didn’t know what was going on. Our waitress walked past us a couple of times before she noticed we had stared to write our own orders down and realized we wanted service. She asked us what we wanted. We began to read to her from our order slips. She told us that we would be served at the back counter which was for Negroes…
‘”‘We would like to be served here,’ I said.
 “The waitress started to repeat what she had said, then stopped in the middle of the sentence.
“She turned the lights out behind the counter, and she and the other waitresses almost ran to the back of the store, deserting all their white customers. I guess they thought that violence would start immediately after the whites at the counter realized what was going on.
 “At noon, students from a nearby white high school started pouring in to Woolworth’s. When they first saw us they were sort of surprised. They didn’t know exactly how to react. A few started to heckle and the news men [by now this sit-in had attracted the attention of the local press] became interested again. Then the white students started chanting all kinds of anti-Negro slogans. We were called a little bit of everything. The rest of the seats except the three we were occupying had been roped off to prevent others from sitting down. A couple of boys took one end of the rope and made it into a hangman’s noose. Several attempts were made to put it around our necks. The crowd grew as more students and adults came in for lunch.
“We kept our eyes straight forward and did not look at the crowd except for occasional glances to see what was going on… Memphis suggested that we pray. We bowed our heads, and all hell broke loose. A man rushed forward, threw Memphis from his seat, and slapped my face. Then another man who worked in the store threw me against the adjoining counter…
“Down on my knees on the floor, I saw Memphis lying near the lunch counter with blood running out of the corners of his mouth. As he tried to protect his face, the man who’d thrown him down kept kicking him in the head…”

Video: The Cold War, parts I-V

Good review for your test….

A nice review of the Cold War’s beginnings.

About the containment policy.

On the spread of Communism outside of Europe.

On McCarthyism.

On Khrushchev and his relationship with Eisenhower and Kennedy, and the attempts for “peaceful coexistence.”

Animated map of nuclear explosions worldwide

Note how many different countries have detonated nuclear weapons at least in testing, and where those explosion have taken place.