1945-1947, Emerging Conflict among Allies • How should Europe be reconstructed? • Soviets wanted: • friendly regimes on their borders, • to prevent Germany from becoming a threat again, • to advance communism • US and Britain wanted: • friendly regimes in Europe, • to prevent Germany from becoming a threat again. • to restore the existing economic and colonial relationships from before the war
Points of Conflict: 1945-47 • Understanding each other’s motives: see Kennan and Novikov’s analyses • Nuclear technology: America’s A Bomb • Escalating Rhetoric: Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech; and Stalin’s statements • Hot spots: Greece, Turkey, Iran, Berlin • Crises: dislocated peoples; famine; abuse by occupying powers
American Initiatives, 1947-1950 • Truman Doctrine • Marshall Plan • Rearmament, peacetime draft and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) • National Security State: new CIA, strengthened FBI
The Domestic Cold War • Support for emerging Cold War policies was not universal • The US had a small Communist Party since the Russian Revolution (1917). There were also Socialist (here in Milwaukee) or Labor Parties (Farm Labor in Minnesota). • During World War II, the US was allied with the Soviet Union and “left wing” radical politics became, if not mainstream, quite common: • within the labor movement, • in the entertainment industry, • among intellectuals.
Emerging Domestic Cold War: local and national… • Communist control of media and intellectual life? • Communist control of Labor Movement and Strike wave in 1946-47 (Examples only): • General Motors: nationwide test for United Auto Workers (UAW-CIO) and Walter Reuther • Here in Milwaukee: Allis Chalmers, conflict between largest employer in Wisconsin, and the most militant union in Wisconsin, Local 248 of UAW-CIO • Went on strike in April 1946 • Strike lasted until March 1947.
Cold War in Milwaukee: The Allis Chalmers union…. • Was successful, militant, and had left wing leadership…. • Challenged and limited management rights and prerogatives on the shop floor. • The precipitating event of the strike – the dismissal of the impartial referee of the grievance procedure. • Two grievance rulings– the one expanded the authority of committeemen and shop stewards; the other attached wages to workers and not jobs
The Issue of Communism • When the 11-month strike started– Communist leaders were not the issue. • In the late summer of 1946, the union successfully moved into Wisconsin politics. • One CIO unionist, Edmund Bobrowicz, managed to unseat a Milwaukee Democratic congressman in Democratic primary. • In response, the company and the local media attacked the union leadership as “communists.”
Why did the Milwaukee Sentinel publish this political cartoon in the Fall of 1946?
The Strike Broken…. • In March 1947, the AC strikers recognized defeat and returned to work. • A-C officials– dismissed 97 strikers– many union leaders, bargaining committee members, and shop stewards and committeemen. • Union leader Harold Christoffel went on trial for perjury for denying he was a communist– and after a long court fight was sentenced to 2 to 6 year jail term.
The Strike Broken…. • A-C officials– played a major role in the drafting of the Taft-Hartley Act which limited political activity of unions, It remains an albatross around labor’s neck today, restricting labor organizing. • After Taft-Hartley– the CIO expelled 11 CIO unions whose leaders refused to sign affidavits that they were not Communists. • The domestic Cold War weakened the aggressiveness and militancy of American labor.
The Cold War continued…late 1940s and early 1950s • Soviets blocked ground transport access to Berlin and Britain and US responded with an Airlift of supplies • China became Communist • Soviets developed an atom bomb • War broke out in Korea • ……A fearful time……