George Kennan, one of the architects of containment and believer in “realpolitik”
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George Kennan, one of the architects of containment and believer in “realpolitik”. Soviet domination of Eastern Europe: Inevitable “realpolitik” or a cowardly failure of western resolve?.

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George Kennan, one of the architects of containment and believer in “realpolitik”

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George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

George Kennan, one of the architects of containment and believer in “realpolitik”


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

Soviet domination of Eastern Europe: Inevitable “realpolitik” or a cowardly failure of western resolve?


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

The Big Three plan the shape of post-war Europe at the Yalta Conference, a resort on the Crimean Sea, February 1945


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

Truman after his upset victory in 1948


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

“Dangerous period” created by the atomic bomb, editorial cartoon from 1948


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

Soldiers in Greek Civil War, c. 1947


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

Text of speech laying out the “Truman Doctrine,” March 12, 1947


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

Divided Germany and Berlin


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

Berlin Airlift (June ‘48-May ’49)


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949)

  • Means to militarily resist the numerically superior Red Army

  • Great Britain, Canada, Iceland, Finland, Norway, France, Italy, Portulgal, Netherlands, and later West Germany and Turkey

  • Russians understandably viewed as provocatively aggressive

NATO as a symbol of a recovering world


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

  • Walter Lippmann on the cover of Time magazine

  • Argued Stalin/USSR primarily protective rather than expansionist

  • Warned America’s blind support of anti-communist regimes would result in alliances with anti-democratic dictators


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

The Cold War Mentality:At least in part because of Truman’s fear mongering, many Americans mistakenly believed:

  • Soviet Union was absolutely bent on world domination, not internal security from a hostile and largely capitalist world

  • All communist revolutions around the globe could ultimately be traced back to Soviet agitators and Soviet support

  • All communist revolutions were identically anti-democratic and repressive, and thus by definition could never be a reflection of the democratic will of the indigenous people


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

Mao Tse-tung and his Little Red Book


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

The Chinese nationalist, Chiang Kai-shek


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

  • Important Point: To the dispassionate, non-ideological observer, it became clear by late 1940s that there was no monolithic world communism

  • Variety of nationalist leaders borrowed parts of communist doctrines they found useful, or invented their own versions such as “Maoism”

  • To the narrow-minded ideologue, though, all communism was the same and ultimately linked back to Moscow

Mao and Stalin deeply distrusted each other and had very different ideas of the meaning and global future of Communism


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

  • Korea Divided:

    • Soviets create a pro-Communist regime in the North under Kim Il Sung

    • The Americans create a pro-western, capitalist regime in the South under Syngman Rhee


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

Propaganda poster of Kim Il Sung in a worshipful North Korea


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

  • Syngman Rhee, the American-backed leader of South Korea

  • Notoriously right wing and resistant to democratic elections


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

Map of the Korean War in 1950


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

General Douglas MacArthur with his iconic corn-cob pipe


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

Map of the Korean War in 1950


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

American soldiers in Korea; one of the first integrated U.S. armies


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

China


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

MacArthur and Truman meet in person for the first time, October, 1950


George kennan one of the architects of containment and believer in realpolitik

The Second Red Scare

Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy who calls Truman “a son of bitch” and suggests the President is soft on communism


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