Friday, November 21, 2014

मोहन भागवत म्लेच्छ पुराणं पठन्ति

Modi: Rewrite History

Coming soon from Modi sarkar: RSS takeover of top research, cultural bodies

by Kavitha Iyer  Jul 4, 2014 16:35 IST
The new chairperson of the Indian Council of Historical Research, Yellapragada Sudershan Rao, has an interesting blog post from 2013, about ‘Ayodhya and History‘.
“All thinking men — religious activists, intellectuals, politicians, professional historians and archaeologists- are divided into at least three groups; a) those who stand for the Hindu cause, b) those who stand for the Mosque and c) the majority of others who support an amicable settlement of the controversy. In influencing the public opinion in favour of Muslim community, the ‘secular’ historians and ‘progressive’ intelligentsia make concerted endeavor in support of the Muslim cause. They further condemn all those who sympathize the Hindu cause as Hindu fundamentalists and ‘saffron brigade’.”
Rao goes on to argue that modern history — which he claims has received disproportionate attention and legitimacy — will be unable to provide answers to the Ayodhya issue since “Ayodhya stood even before the modern genre of history was born.”
A retired history professor, Rao has penned several articles arguing that stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are truthful accounts of history. According to his blog page, he has interests in Indian mythology, Vedic literature, Sanatana Dharma, ‘Bharatiya Sanskriti’, among other subjects. Rao reportedly told The Telegraph that he hopes to push projects to rewrite ancient history to document the “continuous Indian civilisation”, including the period of the two epics.
The stories of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata cannot be termed a-historical just because there is not enough archaeological hard evidence,” Rao said, adding,“A lot of historical material has come through cultural, anthropological, archaeological and ethnographic studies in the last 60 years about the continuous Indian civilisation. The findings can be compiled by researchers. I think the ICHR should support historians interested in doing work on these aspects.”
Rao’s elevation is the first of the many NDA decisions that will determine who will lead India’s top research, educational and cultural institutions. Asked if he foresees a flood of RSS-sympathetic appointments to these institutions, former ICHR chairperson and historian S Settar retorts, “Do you doubt it? I don’t.”
Settar was ICHR chairman from 1996 to 1999, and was witness to a gradual Hindutva takeover of socio-cultural research organisations in the late 1990s. After the UPA assumed office in 2004, Settar was also on a review committee that examined NCERT books published by the BJP government. The committee discussed the safronisation of the texts at length and recommended replacing them.
Speaking to Firstpost, Settar says, “There are many rightist corners hungry to get into the ICHR. But in any case, it is such an incompetent organisation — the Leftists have used it as a platform for their ideology and friends, and now the rightists will want to use it for their ideology and friends.”
ICHR will hardly be the only institution to see top-level changes given the BJP’s track record in power. In 1999, not long after the NDA government was sworn in, a slew of appointments were made, including some on the very first day after then HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi assumed office.
The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) got a new chairman, Prof B R Grover who soon became notorious for punishing any historical research project or institution perceived as “hostile” to the ruling government or its saffron view of history.
The new Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) head at the time was M L Sondhi, a Rajya Sabha MP from the BJP who would later, ironically, be summarily replaced after he complained repeatedly and publicly of pressure from an RSS cabal within the ICSSR. Sondhi, considered close to then PM Atal Behari Vajpayee, famously complained that the RSS faction in the institution, led by Devendera Swaroop, a former editor of RSSmouthpiece Panchajanya, was hindering a proposed Indo-Pak social scientists’ meet ahead of the Vajpayee-Musharraf summit in Agra.
Also among MM Joshi’s early appointees was RSS sympathiser G C Pande, a Sanskrit scholar and ancient India historian, who became head of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) in Shimla . The University Grants Commission (UGC) top job was handed to Dr Hari Gautam, who soon after introduced courses in Jyotir Vigyan or ‘Vedic astrology’ and Hindu karmakand or rituals. The move raked up a debate on whether the UGC, the institution that controls higher education institutes across the country, was legitimising superstition.
And it is these institutions and their impending appointments that will be closely tracked by activists and academicians who will be keeping a close eye on the research projects they undertake, and changes they institute in curriculum and historiography.
One of the many who has long opposed political intervention in historiography is Fr Cedric Prakash of NGO Prashant in Ahmedabad. Prakash and fellow activists in Gujarat have for some years now campaigned against communalisation of textbooks, including approaching the courts against a slanted view of history.
“Fascist and fundamentalist forces have consistently tampered with the educational system of their country when in power; propagating a particular ideology through school text books is a very easy way to manipulate receptive minds.The Gujarat Government led by the BJP has done this systematically during the past many years: minorities have been demonised, patriarchy is eulogized and history is conveniently tampered with. Hindu mythology is called history,” says Fr Prakash who says He says there are several instances of inaccuracies and omission of important events. The saffron takeover of major institutions is part of the RSS-BJP design, says Prakash.
How exactly does it matter who heads the ICHR, ICSSR, UGC or other government bodies involved in research and advanced studies?
Settar says much of the research work emerging from the ICHR lacks interpretation. It is merely an exercise of judgment in selecting documents — those averse to Gandhi could suppress documents about the father of the nation or those averse to Ambedkar could suppress critical documentation about that leader, Settar offers as an example. What is selected, prioritised for publication, what is omitted, all of this impacts the setting of the agenda and socio-political discourse that follows. Some projects in ICHR have been dragging for nearly 25 years.
In other institutions, as well,, from priority funding for projects, granting of fellowships, getting publications out on time, aiding other institutions’ and universities’ research work, the decisions taken by the chairpersons of these organisations have wide-ranging impact.
One example to cite would be the scuttling of two volumes of the ‘Towards Freedom’ project of ICHR in 1999, following insistence by the RSS caucus within the committee that the texts, both by renowned historians, KN Panikkar and Sumit Sarkar, be reviewed.
Activist Teesta Setalvad, who founded Communalism Combat, which has also taken up cudgels against intellectual fascism and politically-motivated historiography, says the fear is of a vision of history that is narrow and exclusivist. “We could see a repeat of the first NDA government-led RSS assault on independent historical research,” she says. “This is part of an intractable political project, lacking rigour of historical research, that wants to decide how we view India.”
The appointment of Y Sudershan Rao to the ICHR is only the first of more appointments to follow. Apart from the ICHR, ICSSR, the NIAS in Shimla, the UGC, here are other institutions to watch closely in coming months: The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), the National Book Trust, NCERT, Films Development Corporation, Censor Board, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Lalit Kala Akademi, to name a few. Also to watch: Likely expansion plans for the network of Shishu Mandir schools and Vidya Bharati schools, and funding patterns for other schools including those run by the VHP.
In his blog post about Ayodhya, Rao bemoans the politicisation of history, writing “Revisiting the past with preconceived notions and vested interests leads to misinterpretation of historical facts. Since independence, volumes are written by the teams of scholars owing allegiance to either side of the issue. In this milieu, the worst sufferer could be history as a scientific discipline and historiography as a technical craft.
If history is any indication, these words may soon prove to be ironic, indeed.
Source: First Post

Milestones: 1945–1952

1945–1952: The Early Cold War

The United States emerged from World War II as one of the foremost economic, political, and military powers in the world. Wartime production pulled the economy out of depression and propelled it to great profits. In the interest of avoiding another global war, for the first time the United States began to use economic assistance as a strategic element of its foreign policy and offered significant assistance to countries in Europe and Asia struggling to rebuild their shattered economies.
British Premier Winston Churchill and President Harry Truman at the famous “Iron Curtain” SpeechBritish Premier Winston Churchill and President Harry Truman at the famous “Iron Curtain” Speech
In contrast to American unwillingness to politically or militarily entangle itself in the League of Nations, the United States became one of the first members of the international organization designed to promote international security, commerce, and law, the United Nations. The United States also took an active interest in the fate of the colonies the European powers were having difficulty maintaining. In addition to these challenges, the United States faced increasing resistance from the Soviet Union which had rescinded on a number of wartime promises. As the Soviets demonstrated a keen interest in dominating Eastern Europe, the United States took the lead in forming a Western alliance to counterbalance the communist superpower to contain the spread of communism. At the same time, the United States restructured its military and intelligence forces, both of which would have a significant influence in U.S. Cold War policy.

Milestones: 1945–1952

Atomic Diplomacy

Atomic diplomacy refers to attempts to use the threat of nuclear warfare to achieve diplomatic goals. After the first successful test of the atomic bomb in 1945, U.S. officials immediately considered the potential non-military benefits that could be derived from the American nuclear monopoly. In the years that followed, there were several occasions in which government officials used or considered atomic diplomacy.
Atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945Atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945
During the Second World War, the United States, Britain, Germany and the U.S.S.R. were all engaged in scientific research to develop the atomic bomb. By mid-1945, however, only the United States had succeeded, and it used two atomic weapons on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to bring a rapid and conclusive end to the war with Japan. U.S. officials did not debate at length whether to use the atomic bomb against Japan, but argued that it was a means to a faster end to the Pacific conflict that would ensure fewer conventional war casualties. They did, however, consider the role that the bomb’s impressive power could play in postwar U.S. relations with the Soviet Union.
While presiding over the U.S. development of nuclear weapons, President Franklin Roosevelt made the decision not to inform the Soviet Union of the technological developments. After Roosevelt’s death, President Harry Truman had to decide whether to continue this policy of guarding nuclear information. Ultimately, Truman mentioned the existence of a particularly destructive bomb to Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin at the Allied meeting at Postdam, but he did not provide specifics about the weapon or its uses. By mid-1945, it was clear the Soviet Union would enter into the war in the Pacific and thereby be in a position to influence the postwar balance of power in the region. U.S. officials recognized there was little chance of preventing this, although they preferred a U.S.-led occupation of Japan rather than a co-occupation as had been arranged for Germany. Some U.S. policymakers hoped that the U.S. monopoly on nuclear technology and the demonstration of its destructive power in Japan might influence the Soviets to make concessions, either in Asia or in Europe. Truman did not threaten Stalin with the bomb, recognizing instead that its existence alone would limit Soviet options and be considered a threat to Soviet security.
The Potsdam ConferenceThe Potsdam Conference
Scholars debate the extent to which Truman’s mention of the bomb at Potsdam and his use of the weapon in Japan represent atomic diplomacy. In 1965, historian Gar Alperovitz published a book which argued that the use of nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was intended to gain a stronger position for postwar diplomatic bargaining with the Soviet Union, as the weapons themselves were not needed to force the Japanese surrender. Other scholars disagree, and suggest that Truman thought the bomb necessary to achieve the unconditional surrender of recalcitrant Japanese military leaders determined to fight to the death. Even if Truman did not intend to use the implied threat of the weapon to gain the upper hand over Stalin, the fact of the U.S. atomic monopoly following the successful atomic test at Alamogordo, New Mexico in July of 1945 seemed to have bolstered his confidence at subsequent meetings, making him more determined to obtain compromises from the Soviet government. Even so, if U.S. officials hoped that the threat of the bomb would soften Soviet resistance to American proposals for free elections in Eastern Europe or reduced Soviet control over the Balkans, they were disappointed, as the security issues raised by the dawn of the atomic age likely made the Soviet Union even more anxious to protect its borders with a controlled buffer zone.
In the years that immediately followed the Second World War, the U.S. confidence in its nuclear monopoly had ramifications for its diplomatic agenda. The fact of the bomb was useful in ensuring that Western Europe would rely on the United States to guarantee its security rather than seeking an outside accommodation with the Soviet Union, because even if the United States did not station large numbers of troops on the continent, it could protect the region by placing it under the American “nuclear umbrella” of areas that the United States professed to be willing to use the bomb to defend. The U.S. insistence on hegemony in the occupation and rehabilitation of Japan stemmed in part from the confidence of being the sole nuclear power and in part from what that nuclear power had gained: Japan’s total surrender to U.S. forces. Though it inspired greater confidence in the immediate postwar years, the U.S. nuclear monopoly was not of long duration; the Soviet Union successfully exploded its first atomic bomb in 1949, the United Kingdom in 1952, France in 1960 and the People’s Republic of China in 1964.
B-29 BomberB-29 Bomber
In the first two decades of the Cold War, there were a number of occasions during which a form of atomic diplomacy was employed by either side of the conflict. During the Berlin Blockade of 1948–49, President Truman transferred several B-29 bombers capable of delivering nuclear bombs to the region to signal to the Soviet Union that the United States was both capable of implementing a nuclear attack and willing to execute it if it became necessary. During the Korean War, President Truman once again deployed the B-29s to signal U.S. resolve. In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower considered, but ultimately rejected the idea of using nuclear coercion to further negotiations on the cease fire agreement that ended the war in Korea. In an about face, in 1962, the Soviet deployment of nuclear missiles to Cuba in order to try to force U.S. concessions on Europe became another example of atomic diplomacy.
By the time the United States was attempting to disengage from the war in Vietnam, however, the idea of atomic diplomacy had lost credibility. By the mid-1960s, the United States and the Soviet Union had achieved approximate parity, and their security was based on the principle of mutually assured destruction. Because neither could make the first strike without the threat of a counterstrike, the benefits of using nuclear weapons in a conflict—even in a proxy war—were greatly diminished. So although President Nixon briefly considered using the threat of the bomb to help bring about an end to the war in Vietnam, he realized that that there remained the threat that the Soviet Union would retaliate against the United States on behalf of North Vietnam and that both international and domestic public opinion would never accept the use of the bomb.
In spite of the many threats made over the course of the Cold War, atomic weapons were not used in any conflict after the Second World War. Although the existence of nuclear weapons could continue to act as a deterrent, their diplomatic utility had its limits.

Milestones: 1945–1952

The Nuremberg Trial and the Tokyo War Crimes Trials (1945–1948)

Following World War II, the victorious Allied governments established the first international criminal tribunals to prosecute high-level political officials and military authorities for war crimes and other wartime atrocities. The four major Allied powers—France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States—set up the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in Nuremberg, Germany, to prosecute and punish “the major war criminals of the European Axis.” The IMT presided over a combined trial of senior Nazi political and military leaders, as well as several Nazi organizations. The lesser-known International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) was created in Tokyo, Japan, pursuant to a 1946 proclamation by U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in occupied Japan. The IMTFE presided over a series of trials of senior Japanese political and military leaders pursuant to its authority “to try and punish Far Eastern war criminals.”
The origins, composition, and jurisdiction of the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals differed in several important respects beyond their geographical differences and personalities. Plans to prosecute German political and military leaders were announced in the 1942 St. James Declaration. In the declaration, the United States joined Australia, Canada, China, India, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, the Soviet Union, and nine exiled governments of German-occupied countries to condemn Germany’s “policy of aggression.” The Declaration stated that these governments “placed among their principal war aims the punishment, through the channel of organized justice, of those guilty of or responsible for these crimes, whether they have ordered them, perpetrated them or participated in them.”
In August 1945, the four major Allied powers therefore signed the 1945 London Agreement, which established the IMT. The following additional countries subsequently “adhered” to the agreement to show their support: Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, India, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Uruguay, and Yugoslavia.
The Charter of the International Military Tribunal (or Nuremberg Charter) was annexed to the 1945 London Agreement and outlined the tribunal’s constitution, functions, and jurisdiction. The Nuremberg tribunal consisted of one judge from each of the Allied powers, which each also supplied a prosecution team. The Nuremberg Charter also provided that the IMT had the authority to try and punish persons who “committed any of the following crimes:”
  • (a) Crimes Against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a Common Plan or Conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;
  • (b) War Crimes: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity;
  • (c) Crimes Against Humanity: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of domestic law of the country where perpetrated.
The IMT prosecutors indicted twenty-two senior German political and military leaders, including Hermann Goering, Rudolph Hess, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Alfred Rosenberg, and Albert Speer. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was not indicted because he had committed suicide in April 1945, in the final days before Germany’s surrender. Seven Nazi organizations also were indicted. The prosecutors sought to have the tribunal declare that these organizations were “criminal organizations” in order to facilitate the later prosecution of their members by other tribunals or courts.
The Nuremberg Trial lasted from November 1945 to October 1946. The tribunal found nineteen individual defendants guilty and sentenced them to punishments that ranged from death by hanging to fifteen years’ imprisonment. Three defendants were found not guilty, one committed suicide prior to trial, and one did not stand trial due to physical or mental illness. The Nuremberg Tribunal also concluded that three of the seven indicted Nazi organizations were “criminal organizations” under the terms of the Charter: the Leadership Corps of the Nazi party; the elite “SS” unit, which carried out the forced transfer, enslavement, and extermination of millions of persons in concentration camps; and the Nazi security police and the Nazi secret police, commonly known as the ‘SD’ and ‘Gestapo,’ respectively, which had instituted slave labor programs and deported Jews, political opponents, and other civilians to concentration camps.
Unlike the IMT, the IMTFE was not created by an international agreement, but it nonetheless emerged from international agreements to try Japanese war criminals. In July 1945, China, the United Kingdom, and the United States signed the Potsdam Declaration, in which they demanded Japan’s “unconditional surrender” and stated that “stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals.” At the time that the Potsdam Declaration was signed, the war in Europe had ended but the war with Japan was continuing. The Soviet Union did not sign the declaration because it did not declare war on Japan until weeks later, on the same day that the United States dropped the second atomic bomb at Nagasaki. Japan surrendered six days later, on August 14, 1945.
At the subsequent Moscow Conference, held in December 1945, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States (with concurrence from China) agreed to a basic structure for the occupation of Japan. General MacArthur, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, was granted authority to “issue all orders for the implementation of the Terms of Surrender, the occupation and control of Japan, and all directives supplementary thereto.”
In January 1946, acting pursuant to this authority, General MacArthur issued a special proclamation that established the IMTFE. The Charter for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East was annexed to the proclamation. Like the Nuremberg Charter, it laid out the composition, jurisdiction, and functions of the tribunal.
The Charter provided for MacArthur to appoint judges to the IMTFE from the countries that had signed Japan’s instrument of surrender: Australia, Canada, China, France, India, the Netherlands, Philippines, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each of these countries also had a prosecution team.
As with the IMT, the IMTFE had jurisdiction to try individuals for Crimes Against Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity, and the definitions were nearly verbatim to those contained in the Nuremberg Charter. The IMTFE nonetheless had jurisdiction over crimes that occurred over a greater period of time, from the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria to Japan’s 1945 surrender.
The IMTFE presided over the prosecution of nine senior Japanese political leaders and eighteen military leaders. A Japanese scholar also was indicted, but charges against him were dropped during the trial because he was declared unfit due to mental illness. Japanese Emperor Hirohito and other members of the imperial family were not indicted. In fact, the Allied powers permitted Hirohito to retain his position on the throne, albeit with diminished status.
The Tokyo War Crimes Trials took place from May 1946 to November 1948. The IMTFE found all remaining defendants guilty and sentenced them to punishments ranging from death to seven years’ imprisonment; two defendants died during the trial.
After the Nuremberg and Tokyo War Crimes trials, additional trials were held to try “minor” war criminals. These subsequent trials, however, were not held by international tribunals but instead by domestic courts or by tribunals operated by a single Allied power, such as military commissions. In Germany, for example, each of the Allied powers held trials for alleged war criminals found within their respective zones of occupation. The United States held twelve such trials from 1945 to 1949, each of which combined defendants who were accused of similar acts or had participated in related events. These trials also were held in Nuremberg and thus became known informally as the “subsequent Nuremberg trials.” In Japan, several additional trials were held in cities outside Tokyo.
The Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals contributed significantly to the development of international criminal law, then in its infancy. For several decades, these tribunals stood as the only examples of international war crimes tribunals, but they ultimately served as models for a new series of international criminal tribunals that were established beginning in the 1990s. In addition, the Nuremberg Charter’s reference to “crimes against peace,” “war crimes,” and “crimes against humanity” represented the first time these terms were used and defined in an adopted international instrument. These terms and definitions were adopted nearly verbatim in the Charter of the IMTFE, but have been replicated and expanded in a succession of international legal instruments since that time.

Milestones: 1945–1952

Occupation and Reconstruction of Japan, 1945–52

After the defeat of Japan in World War II, the United States led the Allies in the occupation and rehabilitation of the Japanese state. Between 1945 and 1952, the U.S. occupying forces, led by General Douglas A. MacArthur, enacted widespread military, political, economic, and social reforms.
Allied Occupation in Japan after WWIIAllied Occupation in Japan after WWII
The groundwork for the Allied occupation of a defeated Japan was laid during the war. In a series of wartime conferences, the leaders of the Allied powers of Great Britain, the Soviet Union, the Republic of China, and the United States discussed how to disarm Japan, deal with its colonies (especially Korea and Taiwan), stabilize the Japanese economy, and prevent the remilitarization of the state in the future. In the Potsdam Declaration, they called for Japan’s unconditional surrender; by August of 1945, that objective had been achieved.
In September, 1945, General Douglas MacArthur took charge of the Supreme Command of Allied Powers (SCAP) and began the work of rebuilding Japan. Although Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the Republic of China had an advisory role as part of an “Allied Council,” MacArthur had the final authority to make all decisions. The occupation of Japan can be divided into three phases: the initial effort to punish and reform Japan, the work to revive the Japanese economy, and the conclusion of a formal peace treaty and alliance.
The first phase, roughly from the end of the war in 1945 through 1947, involved the most fundamental changes for the Japanese Government and society. The Allies punished Japan for its past militarism and expansion by convening war crimes trials in Tokyo. At the same time, SCAP dismantled the Japanese army and banned former military officers from taking roles of political leadership in the new government. In the economic field, SCAP introduced land reform, designed to benefit the majority tenant farmers and reduce the power of rich landowners, many of whom had advocated for war and supported Japanese expansionism in the 1930s. MacArthur also tried to break up the large Japanese business conglomerates, or zaibatsu, as part of the effort to transform the economy into a free market capitalist system. In 1947, Allied advisors essentially dictated a new constitution to Japan’s leaders. Some of the most profound changes in the document included downgrading the emperor’s status to that of a figurehead without political control and placing more power in the parliamentary system, promoting greater rights and privileges for women, and renouncing the right to wage war, which involved eliminating all non-defensive armed forces.
General MacArthur and Japanese Emperor HirohitoGeneral MacArthur and Japanese Emperor Hirohito
By late 1947 and early 1948, the emergence of an economic crisis in Japan alongside concerns about the spread of communism sparked a reconsideration of occupation policies. This period is sometimes called the “reverse course.” In this stage of the occupation, which lasted until 1950, the economic rehabilitation of Japan took center stage. SCAP became concerned that a weak Japanese economy would increase the influence of the domestic communist movement, and with a communist victory in China’s civil war increasingly likely, the future of East Asia appeared to be at stake. Occupation policies to address the weakening economy ranged from tax reforms to measures aimed at controlling inflation. However the most serious problem was the shortage of raw materials required to feed Japanese industries and markets for finished goods. The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 provided SCAP with just the opportunity it needed to address this problem, prompting some occupation officials to suggest that, “Korea came along and saved us.” After the UN entered the Korean War, Japan became the principal supply depot for UN forces. The conflict also placed Japan firmly within the confines of the U.S. defense perimeter in Asia, assuring the Japanese leadership that whatever the state of its military, no real threat would be made against Japanese soil.
In the third phase of the occupation, beginning in 1950, SCAP deemed the political and economic future of Japan firmly established and set about securing a formal peace treaty to end both the war and the occupation. The U.S. perception of international threats had changed so profoundly in the years between 1945 and 1950 that the idea of a re-armed and militant Japan no longer alarmed U.S. officials; instead, the real threat appeared to be the creep of communism, particularly in Asia. The final agreement allowed the United States to maintain its bases in Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan, and the U.S. Government promised Japan a bilateral security pact. In September of 1951, fifty-two nations met in San Francisco to discuss the treaty, and ultimately, forty-nine of them signed it. Notable holdouts included the USSR, Poland and Czechoslovakia, all of which objected to the promise to support the Republic of China and not do business with the People’s Republic of China that was forced on Japan by U.S. politicians.

Milestones: 1945–1952

The Acheson-Lilienthal & Baruch Plans, 1946

On June 14, 1946, before a session of the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC), U.S. representative Bernard Baruch, presented a proposal for the creation of an international Atomic Development Authority. The presentation of the Baruch Plan marked the culmination of an effort to establish international oversight of the use of atomic energy in the hopes of avoiding unchecked proliferation of nuclear power in the post World War II period.
Winston Churchill and Bernard Baruch talk in car in front of Baruch’s home, 14 April 1961 Winston Churchill and Bernard Baruch talk in car in front of Baruch’s home, 14 April 1961
The immediate origins of this effort can be traced to the Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Moscow between December 16 and 26, 1945. There representatives from the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union created a United Nations commission to advise on the destruction of all existing atomic weapons and to work toward using atomic energy for peaceful purposes. The resulting body, the UNAEC, was created on January 24, 1946, with six permanent members (the United States, Britain, France, the Soviet Union, China, and Canada) and six rotating members.
That same month, U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes created a special advisory committee, whose members included Under-Secretary of State Dean Acheson and the Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority David Lilienthal, to compose a report that the U.S. Government would present to the UNAEC. The committee presented their report to Secretary Byrnes in March.
The so-called Acheson-Lilienthal report, written in large part by the committee’s chief scientific consult, Robert Oppenheimer, called for the creation of the Atomic Development Authority to oversee the mining and use of fissile materials, the operation of all nuclear facilities that could produce weaponry, and the right to dispense licenses to those countries wishing to pursue peaceful nuclear research. The plan relied on Soviet-American cooperation, since its authors recognized that the Soviet Union was unlikely to cede its veto power in the United Nations Security Council over any matter. Moreover, it made no mention of when the United States should destroy its nuclear arsenal, though it did acknowledge that doing so was a necessity.
Secretary of State Dean AchesonSecretary of State Dean Acheson
The day before the United States submitted the Acheson-Lilienthal report to the United Nations, President Truman appointed Bernard Baruch as the American delegate to the UNAEC. Truman considered Baruch to be a capable negotiator who would vigorously defend the interests of the United States. Given the cooling relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States, President Truman did not want to accept any international agreement that might force the United States to abolish its nuclear weapons program without assurances that the Soviet Union would be unable to produce its own atomic bomb.
Baruch presented a slightly different plan to the UNEAC. Under the Baruch Plan the Atomic Development Authority would oversee the development and use of atomic energy, manage any nuclear installation with the ability to produce nuclear weapons, and inspect any nuclear facility conducting research for peaceful purposes. The plan also prohibited the illegal possession of an atomic bomb, the seizure of facilities administered by the Atomic Development Authority, and punished violators who interfered with inspections. The Atomic Development Authority would answer only to the Security Council, which was charged with punishing those nations that violated the terms of the plan by imposing sanctions. Most importantly, the Baruch Plan would have stripped all members of the United Nations Security Council of their veto power concerning the issue of United Nations sanctions against nations that engaged in prohibited activities. Once the plan was fully implemented, the United States was to begin the process of destroying its nuclear arsenal.
The Soviets strongly opposed any plan that allowed the United States to retain its nuclear monopoly, not to mention international inspections of Soviet domestic nuclear facilities. The Soviets also rejected the idea of surrendering their Security Council veto over any issue as they argued that the council was already stacked in favor the United States.
By September 17, Baruch confessed to President Truman that he feared there was no possibility of reaching an agreement before the end of the year, at which point there would be a rotation of the non-permanent members of the UNAEC. Nevertheless, Baruch worried that delaying a vote until after the rotation of the members would destroy any chance of passing a resolution to create an Atomic Development Authority. As such, Baruch pushed for a formal vote before the end of the year in the hopes that, even if it did not pass, it would demonstrate the unreasonableness of the Soviet Union’s objections to a proposal that would spare the world a nuclear arms race. The vote was held on December 30, with 10 of the UNAEC’s 12 members in favor, while the other two members (the Soviet Union and Poland) abstained. The vote required unanimity to pass. As such, the Polish and Soviet abstentions thwarted the adoption of the Baruch Plan.

Milestones: 1945–1952

The Truman Doctrine, 1947

With the Truman Doctrine, President Harry S. Truman established that the United States would provide political, military and economic assistance to all democratic nations under threat from external or internal authoritarian forces. The Truman Doctrine effectively reoriented U.S. foreign policy, away from its usual stance of withdrawal from regional conflicts not directly involving the United States, to one of possible intervention in far away conflicts.
President Harry TrumanPresident Harry Truman
The Truman Doctrine arose from a speech delivered by President Truman before a joint session of Congress on March 12, 1947. The immediate cause for the speech was a recent announcement by the British Government that, as of March 31, it would no longer provide military and economic assistance to the Greek Government in its civil war against the Greek Communist Party. Truman asked Congress to support the Greek Government against the Communists. He also asked Congress to provide assistance for Turkey, since that nation, too, had previously been dependent on British aid.
At the time, the U.S. Government believed that the Soviet Union supported the Greek Communist war effort and worried that if the Communists prevailed in the Greek civil war, the Soviets would ultimately influence Greek policy. In fact, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had deliberately refrained from providing any support to the Greek Communists and had forced Yugoslav Prime Minister Josip Tito to follow suit, much to the detriment of Soviet-Yugoslav relations. However, a number of other foreign policy problems also influenced President Truman’s decision to actively aid Greece and Turkey. In 1946, four setbacks, in particular, had served to effectively torpedo any chance of achieving a durable post-war rapprochement with the Soviet Union: the Soviets’ failure to withdraw their troops from northern Iran in early 1946 (as per the terms of the Tehran Declaration of 1943); Soviet attempts to pressure the Iranian Government into granting them oil concessions while supposedly fomenting irredentism by Azerbaijani separatists in northern Iran; Soviet efforts to force the Turkish Government into granting them base and transit rights through the Turkish Straits; and, the Soviet Government’s rejection of the Baruch plan for international control over nuclear energy and weapons in June 1946.
In light of the deteriorating relationship with the Soviet Union and the appearance of Soviet meddling in Greek and Turkish affairs, the withdrawal of British assistance to Greece provided the necessary catalyst for the Truman Administration to reorient American foreign policy. Accordingly, in his speech, President Truman requested that Congress provide $400,000,000 worth of aid to both the Greek and Turkish Governments and support the dispatch of American civilian and military personnel and equipment to the region.
Truman justified his request on two grounds. He argued that a Communist victory in the Greek Civil War would endanger the political stability of Turkey, which would undermine the political stability of the Middle East. This could not be allowed in light of the region’s immense strategic importance to U.S. national security. Truman also argued that the United States was compelled to assist “free peoples” in their struggles against “totalitarian regimes,” because the spread of authoritarianism would “undermine the foundations of international peace and hence the security of the United States.” In the words of the Truman Doctrine, it became “the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”
Truman argued that the United States could no longer stand by and allow the forcible expansion of Soviet totalitarianism into free, independent nations, because American national security now depended upon more than just the physical security of American territory. Rather, in a sharp break with its traditional avoidance of extensive foreign commitments beyond the Western Hemisphere during peacetime, the Truman Doctrine committed the United States to actively offering assistance to preserve the political integrity of democratic nations when such an offer was deemed to be in the best interest of the United States.

Milestones: 1945–1952

National Security Act of 1947

The National Security Act of 1947 mandated a major reorganization of the foreign policy and military establishments of the U.S. Government. The act created many of the institutions that Presidents found useful when formulating and implementing foreign policy, including the National Security Council (NSC).
President signing the National Security Act into LawPresident signing the National Security Act into Law
The Council itself included the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and other members (such as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency), who met at the White House to discuss both long-term problems and more immediate national security crises. A small NSC staff was hired to coordinate foreign policy materials from other agencies for the President. Beginning in 1953 the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs directed this staff. Each President has accorded the NSC with different degrees of importance and has given the NSC staff varying levels of autonomy and influence over other agencies such as the Departments of State and Defense. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, for example, used the NSC meetings to make key foreign policy decisions, while John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson preferred to work more informally through trusted associates. Under President Richard M. Nixon, the NSC staff, then headed by Henry A. Kissinger, was transformed from a coordinating body into an organization that actively engaged in negotiations with foreign leaders and implementing the President’s decisions. The NSC meetings themselves, however, were infrequent and merely confirmed decisions already agreed upon by Nixon and Kissinger.
The act also established the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which grew out of World War II era Office of Strategic Services and small post-war intelligence organizations. The CIA served as the primary civilian intelligence-gathering organization in the government. Later, the Defense Intelligence Agency became the main military intelligence body. The 1947 law also caused far-reaching changes in the military establishment. The War Department and Navy Department merged into a single Department of Defense under the Secretary of Defense, who also directed the newly created Department of the Air Force. However, each of the three branches maintained their own service secretaries. In 1949 the act was amended to give the Secretary of Defense more power over the individual services and their secretaries.

Milestones: 1945–1952

Kennan and Containment, 1947

George F. Kennan, a career Foreign Service Officer, formulated the policy of “containment,” the basic United States strategy for fighting the cold war (1947–1989) with the Soviet Union.
Kennan’s ideas, which became the basis of the Truman administration’s foreign policy, first came to public attention in 1947 in the form of an anonymous contribution to the journal Foreign Affairs, the so-called “X-Article.” “The main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union,” Kennan wrote, “must be that of a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies.” To that end, he called for countering “Soviet pressure against the free institutions of the Western world” through the “adroit and vigilant application of counter-force at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points, corresponding to the shifts and maneuvers of Soviet policy.” Such a policy, Kennan predicted, would “promote tendencies which must eventually find their outlet in either the break-up or the gradual mellowing of Soviet power.”
Kennan’s policy was controversial from the very beginning. Columnist Walter Lippmann attacked the X-Article for failing to differentiate between vital and peripheral interests. The United States, Kennan’s article implied, should face down the Soviet Union and its Communist allies whenever and wherever they posed a risk of gaining influence. In fact, Kennan advocated defending above all else the world’s major centers of industrial power against Soviet expansion: Western Europe, Japan, and the United States. Others criticized Kennan’s policy for being too defensive. Most notably, John Foster Dulles declared during the 1952 election campaign that the United States’ policy should not be containment, but the “rollback” of Soviet power and the eventual “liberation” of Eastern Europe. Even within the Truman administration there was a rift over containment between Kennan and Paul Nitze, Kennan’s successor as director of the Policy Planning Staff. Nitze, who saw the Soviet threat primarily in military terms, interpreted Kennan’s call for “the adroit and vigilant application of counter-force” to mean the use of military power. In contrast, Kennan, who considered the Soviet threat to be primarily political, advocated above all else economic assistance (e.g., the Marshall Plan) and “psychological warfare” (overt propaganda and covert operations) to counter the spread of Soviet influence. In 1950, Nitze’s conception of containment won out over Kennan’s. NSC 68, a policy document prepared by the National Security Council and signed by Truman, called for a drastic expansion of the U.S. military budget. The paper also expanded containment’s scope beyond the defense of major centers of industrial power to encompass the entire world. “In the context of the present polarization of power,” it read, “a defeat of free institutions anywhere is a defeat everywhere.”
Despite all the criticisms and the various policy defeats that Kennan suffered in the early 1950’s, containment in the more general sense of blocking the expansion of Soviet influence remained the basic strategy of the United States throughout the cold war. On the one hand, the United States did not withdraw into isolationism; on the other, it did not move to “roll back” Soviet power, as John Foster Dulles briefly advocated. It is possible to say that each succeeding administration after Truman’s, until the collapse of communism in 1989, adopted a variation of Kennan’s containment policy and made it their own.
Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, United States Department of State
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