Book Reviews: America, Russia and the Cold War (), Walter LaFeber. John Wiley, 61 /- cloth, 27/- paper-back. Abuse of Power, Theodore Draper. Get this from a library! America, Russia, and the Cold War, [Walter LaFeber]. America, Russia, and the Cold War, – by Walter. LaFeber (review). R. D. Accinelli. The Canadian Historical Review, Volume 49, Number 4, December.
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He does add,though, some newinformation to the storyaboutthe extraordinary fightoverthe civilrights’plank;andhas freshdetail concerning Truman’sbrillianttacticalmanoeuvre of callingthe EightiethCongress back to Washington to enactthe platformwhich the Republican convention hadiustendorsed.
The author’s description andanalysis of the actualcampaign is certainly the highpointof hisnarrative. He captures Trumancarrying theattack to Deweyin a tenacious and sometimes disingenuous manner.
Library Resource Finder: Table of Contents for: America, Russia, and the Cold War,
New Deal rhetoric,coupled withsupport forsuch newprogrammes asmedical insurance, wasgalvanizing the oldRoosevelt coalition. Onelection ametica victory confirmed thefactthat a majorityofvotingAmericans remained Democrats.
Was Truman’s electionreally in the best interestof the country? In a fascinating final chapter,Rosssuggests that ff Deweyhad won in the Republican partyandtheUnitedStates wouldprobably havebeenbetterserved. A Deweyadministration mighthaveprevented theriseof McCarthyism.
FurthermorewithDeweyin theWhiteHouse, theRepublicans wouldnothaveneeded General DwightEisenhower in ,thereby preventing the drift to the right which characterized Republican presidential politicsafter Rossalso contends thatDewey’s executive leadership wouldhaveguaranteed thepassage of reform legislation, since congressional Republicans wouldnothavedeliberately sabotaged thelegislative programme oftheirfirstpresident in twentyyears.
TheonepointwhichRoss failsto makeabouta Deweyvictory hasto dowith foreign affairs. Truman’s election frozeallpolicyoptions, especially withrespect to Europe. New York, London, Sydney: One of the byproducts of the crumbling of the Cold War consensus hasbeena questioning of traditional historical interpretations of American foreign policy in thepostwar period.
To whatextent wastheUnitedStates responsible forbeginning theColdWarpWhat kinds of goals andpressures haveshaped American policy? Whateffect hasthe policy hadonAmerican society andontherestoftheworld? These questions all seem torequire fresh answers-answers which make sense inlightofVietnam, the Bayof Pigs, Santo Domingo, andriots in smerica andonthecampuses.
Some of theanswers arebeingprovided by a group of whatcanloosely be called “newleft” diplomatic historians who are busilyrevising conventional notions about American foreign policy since theturnof thecentury. LaFeber isoneof themost prominent andtalented members ofthisgroup. In it he argued thatthe predominant motive forexpansionism wasthedesire onthepartofbusinessmen and politicians formarkets fortradeandinvestment.
Expansionism wasthusa conscious andrealistic attemptto cometo termswith industrial capitalism. It wason thisbasisthat America’s “new empire” as opposed to its alreadyestablished continental empire wasbuilt.
Williams, whose writings haveinspired andprovided theseminal lafeebr fortheworkof the newleft diplomatic historians. Williams’ ownwritings drawfroman intellectual tradition running fromMarxthrough Charles Beard. LaFeber’s latestbookcouldverywell havebeensubtitled The New Empire Revisited, foronefinds in it some ofthesame lineofanalysis ofhisearlier volume aswellasthe continuing influence of Williams andhissympathizers.
In hisfirst chapter appropriately titled “OpenDoors,Iron Curtains” he states that the Cold War “developed on a foundation of half anx centuryof Russian-American distrust andapprehension. Trumanandhisadvisers did not shrinkfromthisconfrontation, believing thattheyheldthe upperhand because ofAmerica’s economic mightanditsmonopoly oftheA-bomb.
ButStalin refused tobudge andby Marchof theColdWarwason. In theyears since America hasfought two’qimited” wars LaFeber rightlyquestions theimplications ofthisconceptpractised interventionism ona global scale, andbuilta mfiitaryindustrial complex athome-allin anattempt to contain communism andrevolutionaryinstability.
American policy, as heinterprets it,has athrust and direction otitsown, springing largely from forces generated within American societrather than from the presence of an externalthreat. It is the interaction between domestic forces andforeignpolicyandthe clashbetween American andSoviet ambitions in Europe andthe underdeveloped worldwhichprovide thebasic structure for his narrative If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click ‘Authenticate’.
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Table of Contents for: America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945-
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