The Cold War?

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Lucky13, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    How did it come about so quickly after WWII? Could it have been avoided?
    How would West have reacted, had it gone hot at the time of the Berlin Airlift?
    How well was the West prepared in '48-'49?
     
  2. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    What is your opinion is more interesting
     
  3. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    I think the Western Allies were way too trusting of their Soviet "friends" during WW2. Sometimes "the enemy of my enemy" means you get into bed with another monster and don't know it until the lights come on (kinda like Lucky on a Friday night). After the war, the allies were demobilizing their armies and shifting production back to a peacetime setting, I don't think they were ready after the war, and certainly not in '48/49 when most of the wartime troops were demobbed and back in civilian clothes. After all of the propaganda during the war that painted good ole Uncle Joe in a friendly, benevolent light, I doubt the nations' civilian population would be willing to allow their governments to stand up and say "oops, good ole Unca' Joe is actually dirty Uncle Touchy, my bad"...they were still weary from the last war. If the Cold War had started out warmer, I think that we would have been in for another very long fight that would have destroyed Europe and probably bankrupt several nations.
     
  4. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    That's a good analysis, RA. The Cold War was one of brinksmanship. It was like a couple of big guys watching each other with one flexing, then the other, knowing that if they ever decided to start duking it out, neither would win.

    After 4 years of war (for the Americans) and even longer for our European friends, I don't think anyone on the allied side was ready to start another one.
     
  5. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Churchill never trusted Stalin and relations were never easy between them. When the Russians attacked Finland in Winter 1939, the British actually sent aircraft and equipment into Norway in preparation for support for the Fins, it's even been suggested that Britain was going to send troops. It should also be remembered that the British sent troops to fight alongside the White Russians against the Bolsheviks in 1919. A naval task force of warships, including a seaplane tender was sent. After the Communists came to power in Russia, there was muted panic in many countries for fear that a similar communist uprising would take place, and for awhile it looked as if France would fall to communism after the end of the Great War. Its impact in Europe in between the wars was quite telling and contributed to the state of unrest in Germany, and we all know what happened there.

    Although the Molotov/Ribbentrop Pact came as a surprise to most, it was clear to the British government that both sides were using each other for personal gain and that it was a worthless arrangement. Hitler had already expressed his interest in 'lebensraum' in the east in Mein Kamf, so Barbarossa, although devastating, was no surprise to the British. Although they saw that with Stalin on their side, the end of the Nazis might come sooner than later, the previous pact with the Nazis reminded them of just how little they could trust the Soviet leader.

    During WW2 the British and US could do little except include their erstwhile ally. Toward the end, when Soviet troops were nearing Berlin, the Allies feared that Stalin would keep going, as he had made his intention to press on to Paris clear. I think that the Cold War was inevitable and that the underlying distrust and fear of the Bolsheviks that had been present in Europe since the Russian revolution, which horrified the remaining Royal households of Europe, particularly the brutal way in which the Romanovs had been dispatched (Remember, Tsar Nick was Queen Victoria's nephew and cousin of George V and Kaiser Wilhelm), manifested itself postwar into the stand-off.
     
  6. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the history lesson Nuuumannn!:thumbright:
     
  7. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    :oops: I get a bit carried away at times. This is a fascinating topic and I'm surprised so few have responded. I could go on, as I didn't really answer the question at the start of the thread...

    :)
     
  8. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    the US was...i cant figure out if we were woefully naive, playing along in hopes of getting something, or just out played. i dont think FDR was out played...but i think we didnt understand the new soviet way of negotiating. they gave into a lot of Stalin's demands too easily....gave him a new norden bombsite and the auto pilot that went with it. this is something we had not even shared with the brits! mind you he didnt have a long range heavy bomber. when us aircrews were in russia we taught them everything about our aircraft...even let them taxi them. but our personnel were practically shot trying to get close to a lend lease p39. after giving him what he wanted he still stalled when it came for him to reciprocate. THIS should have been the first indication that it was all a one way street and the soviets were really already planning for the next step after the defeat of germany. i dont think the cold war was avoidable. communist designs for expansion and mirrored what hitler had just tried to accomplish. but now the world was more sensitive to that ploy and the grid lock ensued...with each side jockying for position.
     
  9. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Communism is not about the Russians. It just so happened that Russia was where the 'utopia' was hatched in 1917 - and so the Soviets carried the torch of international class warfare. I believe the American government made trade-offs with Stalin (the same way Churchill did) displacing American casualties with Soviet casualties. The war wasn't over for Stalin in May, 1945 .... and the world had never faced anything quite like the Soviets in Berlin before. (Russians in Paris after Waterloo is hardly the same :)).

    Hence - the cold war. Nuclear arm wrestling.

    MM
     
  10. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    I find the US isolationaist stance , as you say, Bobbysocks, naive. It was quite difficult to understand why America behaved the way it did at the time (in the 30s and early 40s). FDR definitely wanted a crack at the Germans, but Nazi sympathisers, and there were a few in the US at the beginning of the war made it difficult for the US to intervene in Europe directly. Ignorance of what was happening in the Soviet Union was something that was going on around the world, however; as so few realised the horrors that were taking place under Stalin - enforced collectivisation of farming, which resulted in the brutal treatment of the country's own agricultural industry, purges that robbed the nation's vital industries of talented and skilled work force - all of this was only to the detriment of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, everyone knew that Stalin was a man to be wary of. Despite this there was much pandering to him, shamefully so - even after the war. Witness the gifting of British Rolls Royce gas turbines to the Soviets by Clement Attlee in 1946; one of the most bizarre turns carried out by the British post war. He was a paranoid, fiercely private and guarded individual; this explains his reign of terror to a certain degree, however illogical it was.
     
  11. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    ".... Ignorance of what was happening in the Soviet Union was something that was going on around the world ...."

    'Ignorance' - misrepresentation might be a more accurate word - and the leftist media of the time were active parters with the Soviets in portraying the "vision" of the workers paradise. And things are no different now, the media simply moved on to other false prophets - equally destructive to humankind and progress.

    MM
     
  12. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Yes and no.
    We were bankrupt and it was era of 'export or die'.
    We also missed 'opportunities' from the Germans...who in their right mind would refuse the VW Beetle but, accept the little 2 stoke engine that Villiers used in umpteen forgettable 1950's motorcycles?
    The USA gained the most with the German rocket technology that formed the basis of NASA and ICBM's.

    'Bizarre turns?' Its our national speciality ! I'm English and some of the decisions made leave me open mouthed in amazement :lol:

    John
     
  13. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    ".... I'm English and some of the decisions made leave me open mouthed in amazement "

    And some don't - like not buying into the Euro .... :)

    MM
     
  14. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Er yes....thank god we avoided the wretched Euro Zone. :rolleyes:
    I voted 'no' in the original referendum when Heath took into the then EEC. I have reservations about 'Federal Europe'. But, that is another topic:lol:

    John
     
  15. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    #15 bobbysocks, Nov 15, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
    i whole heartedly agree. it was naive. just as i believe the cold war was unavoidable..i believe our involvement in ww2 was as well. but it was a cross between wishful thinking and selfishness that i feel lead the sentiments in the US at that time. i have not read a whole lot on this so i am far from an expert. but its like the old saying " what happens in Rome stays in Rome"... america still had the horiffic visions of the trench war of ww1 and ( because it was woefully unprepared for that war as well ) was not interested in a repeat perfromance. europe was far away ( out of sight out of mind ) and germany had done nothing to us ( YET ) so why throw our hat in the ring? also i believe many americans hoped that it would ( by some miracle ) resolve itself with out any further implications and everyone would be happy again. FDR could see the writing on the wall even if the rest of the country couldnt and did a lot of jockeying to give support to england. from what i understand the whole concept of "lend-lease" came about because US law prohibited us from sending arms and supplies to countries who were at war or involved in a war. US ships were sold as "scrap" and other tricks were used. these were semi underhanded bendings of laws that probably would have gotten FDR in trouble had we never entered the war. but because we did they were "ingenous ideas".
     
  16. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    I agree BS, but you have to consider the cultural links between the USA and Britain at the time. I have referred to the 'English speaking world' before on forum and I think that this is the nub of it.
    60+ years later our countries find ourselves as the main protagonists in the 'war on terror' while others sit on the sidelines and watch the results roll in.
    John
     
  17. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    agreed 100%. and i think the result of the that war the relationship between our 2 countries was diffferent. where the US was fairly isolationist before...after ww1. after ww2 it was one of mutual respect, confidence, and parntership for the most part.
     
  18. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #18 nuuumannn, Nov 16, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
    The 'Special Relationship' between Britain and the USA hasn't always been as rosy as what we might have been led to believe by the likes of Mr Blair et al - as you probably know. Post WW2 the US jealously guarded from its allies its secrets learned in the Manhattan project and the British were effectively told that they were on their own. American rocketry experiments were also a forbidden zone for the British; there was even tales of a bunch of V2 components that the Americans 'stole' from the British in Germany, but because the Brits sent a destroyer after the carrier escaping with the equipment, which included a complete rocket, the loot was returned. In the early years of US rocketry, teams working for both branches of the armed forces (prior to 1947 there was no USAF) refused to co-operate with each other - von Braun was employed by the US Army, who funded his laboratories at Huntsville, Alabama - so there was no dissemination of information within the US, let alone with a foreign power.

    Britain's rocketry went in a completely different direction, being led by a single non forces orientated government department whose research was based on the findings at Kiel from the Helmuth Walther works. Virtually all of Britain's early rocket motors had HTP (hydrogen peroxide) as an oxidiser. Its initial rockets were not plagued with as many failures as the American programs, although the Brits were overshadowed somewhat in scale by the Americans, they had the biggest rocket range in the world in Australia.

    Anyhoo, an area in which the US were jealous of the British was that of intelligence. By the end of WW2, the British Government Code and Cypher School (later GCHQ) was the biggest intelligence organisation in the world and the Americans were secretly intimidated by the fact that Britain's intel network spanned the globe. This led directly to the creation of the CIA, the NSA and other intelligence agencies - some based on British models in the USA from 1947.

    I dunno, Mike, very few people outside of the Soviet Union were aware of the horrors that ordinary people were enduring over there under Stalin. There was a great deal of ignorance of what was actually going on in the Soviet Union; Stalin's secretive nature took care of that. Propaganda reports of the 'Socialist Utopia' were largely lies perpetuated by communist parties around the world. One of the farcical aspects of this utopia was the fact that virtually every attempt at overhauling and collectivising Soviet agriculture failed.

    From Stalin to Krushchev, their plans were fruitless (literally) and the Soviet Union relied on imported grain and produce throughout much of its existence. Oddly enough, the biggest importer of grain to the Soviet Union in the '60s was - The USA! In the 1970s, threats of technological escalation by the Soviets forced the US government to threaten the end of and eventually cease the supply of grain to its political opponent, but until then, the Soviet people suffered from famine and hardship because of their leaders' bungled attempts at reform.
     
  19. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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  20. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Indeed not. Mr Blair brought us national shame by snivelling around Mr Bush 'Yo Blair'..very annoying. I don't blame Bush in the slightest...Blair annoyed us too with his incessant grin. Give me a miserable PM any day.
    But, whatever the squabbling and general unpleasantness as been about it always blows over....bit like a family really.
    The simple fact that many non English speaking countries cannot accept is not being part of the USA-Commonwealth-British club.
    We have been through too much together and the way sabres are being rattled in Europe and other volatile areas I rather suspect that we'll be in it all again.
    Funny old game eh...
    John
     
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