World After the Second Global War was the beginning of a new era for all countries involved, defined by the decline of all European colonial empires and simultaneous rise of two superpowers: the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US). Allies during World War II, the US and the USSR became competitors on the world stage and engaged in the Cold War, so called because it never resulted in overt, declared total war between the two powers but was instead characterized by espionage, political subversion and proxy wars.
Big Powers and the Cold War:-
The United States of America, the Soviet Union, Britain, France, and China are regarded as the big powers since the end of the Second World War (1945). Among these the United States and the Soviet Union are the Super Powers. England became a second-rate power.
The Cold War:-
During the Second World War (1990-45) the United States of America, Britain and France, which were regarded as the Big. Three, fully co-operated with one another, and won the war. Without this whole-heated co-operation, the Axis Powers could not have been destroyed.
It was strange that while the war brought nations with different ideologies together in the same camp, victory in war and establishment of peace created a new set of problems. During the War, the USA (which believes in capitalism and democracy) worked hand in hand with the Soviet Union (which believes in communism and dictatorship).
In 1943 Stalin assured full help to the USA and Britain, and went to the extent of dissolving the Comintern, saying that Russia Was not interested in exporting revolutions. However, when hopes of victory arose, co-operation gradually decreased, and at last there was discord in the place of concord, The main couse which embittered the relations, between the Western Democratic and the Soviet Union, was the question of distribution of the spoil of war, In the early days, President F. D, Roosevelt went out of the way to please Stalin and gave undue concussions to the Soviet Union. Stalin extracted Shylock’s pound of flesh, as the Western Democracies World In a precarious position during the war. During 1940 and 1941 England was isolated, and Soviet Russia changing sides in the war after Hitler’s attack was a great blessing to the Allied Powers.
Not a Shooting War but a Cold war:
In the post-war period the differences of opinion between the USA and the USSR, the Super. Powers, were serious, an it seemed on certain occasions that they might coma to war. The Super Powers feared and suspected each other, and imputed motives to each other. They also used provocative language, But the terrible fear of a third World War and the use of the atomic bombs restrained both of them. At least for the sake of sheer survival, a shooting war had to be avoided. Instead of a shooting war, a cold war broke out. The cold war was a war of words, of ideologies and of nerves. This war created great international tension. The cold war was announced by Winston Churchill in his famous iron curtain speech at Fulton, Missourie, in 1946.
The cold War broke out into a hot war in Korea in 1950 and Vietnam in 1954.
The Western Powers and the Soviet Union never lost opportunities in indulging in mutual recrimination. Russia said that she was trying to liberate people of Eastern. Europe and of other countries, while the USA and England retorted that Russia was trampling democracy under foot. The communist leaders of Russia, China and other countries said that democracy of the West was not genuine. It was only a mask used for cruelly exploiting workers.
The USA as the champion of capitalism, democracy and dollar imperialism assumed a posture which was diametrically opposed to that of the USSR, the champion of communism, totalitarian dictatorship and red imperialism. The two countries presented an antithesis, Each Super Power took such a stand that it was difficult to bridge the gap between the two,
Two Power Blocs:
In the post-war period, the world was broadly divided into two camps or power blocs, one dominated by the USA and the other by the USSR. The USA, Britain and their satellites were in one bloc arid the USSR, Communist China and their satellites were in the other bloc. In 1962 there was a rift between Soviet Russia and Communist China.
Cold War Everywhere:
Everywhere in the world the cold war was waged either by the Super Powers themselves or by their satellites. The cold war was fought on the platforms of the United Nations General Assembly or the Security Council or through the various UN committees or specialized agencies or in different satellite countries.
America as Self-Appointed Saviour of Democracy:
The United States became the self-appointed saviour of democracy, and she spent millions of dollars to save the world from the canker of communism. She gave loans and aids to countries, which were prepared to be her camp followers. In certain cases the US dollars went down the drain; but the USA did not mind, as the communist bogey was haunting her everywhere.
Though the USA advocated the cause of democracy, she sometime supported the most reactionary monarchies or dictatorships containing communism or for some other reason. For instance she supported the military dictatorship of Pakistan and encouraged Pakistan to fight against India, though India is a democratic country.
In the United Nations Organization, the USA supported a country only if it suited her global strategy and imperialism. She did not feel bad to support countries which committed aggression on their neighbors. Though Pakistan attacked Kashmir in open day light and violated the United Nations Charter, the USA, Britain and several other countries condemned India, the victim of aggression and strongly supported Pakistan, the aggressor. The USA and her friends did much injustice to many countries inside and outside the United Nations Organization for winning the cold war.
American Aid to Free Peoples:
American aid was given to free peoples under the Truman Doctrine (1947 ), the Marshall Plan (1947) and Truman’s Point Four Programme (1949). Russia conducted propaganda against this, and regarded it as an instrument of dollar imperialism. The aid intensified the cold war.
John Foster Dulles (1888-1959) who was US Secretary of State (1953-58) showed extreme intransigence to Soviet Russia and China. He proclaimed the doctrine of Containment and Massive Retaliation. But the USA did nothing, when the USSR invaded Hungary in 1956. In his time American foreign policy became unpopular in many countries.
Role of Soviet Russia:
The activities of Soviet Russia all over the world were as bad as those of the USA. Russia had a large number of friends and satellites in the communist world and she waged the cold war with their help Like the USA, Soviet Russia took the cold-war to the UNO. She helped countries, which were prepared to follow her lead by sacrificing their sovereignty. In certain countries Russia used military force to cow down countries and made them her satellites. Like the USA, she too interfered in the internal affairs of other countries. In the UNO, she supported communist countries which committed aggression on their neighbors.
In 1956 Russia interfered in Hungary and 30, 000 Hungarians were butchered by the Russian army. In 1968 the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact Powers invaded Czechoslovakia,
After Stalin, there was a process of de-Stalinization in Russia. But under the Brezhnev Doctrine, in spite of de Btalinization, communist countries were forced to follow the Russian line, Leonid Brezhnev (Party Chief) and Alexei Kosygin (Premier) justified the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 on the basis of this doctrine.
In 1948 Stalin dissolved the Comintern (the Communist International Movement). But as a counterblast to the Truman Doctrine (1947), at & conference the communist parties of Russia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy and France decided to revive the Comintern. Old wine was put in new bottles, and the new international communist organization ) was called Cominform (September 1947) or Communist Information Bureau.
Stalin made Russia a Super Power, but he ruled with a high-handiness, which was terrible even according to communist standards. He did not miss any opportunity to attack the USA directly or through his satellites in the cold war. He raised an iron curtain around Russia, and the outside world found it difficult to pierce through this curtain. But after Stalin, under Bulganin and Khrushchev, the curtain was lifted, and outside dignitaries were invited to Russia. The Russian leaders showed the spirit of reciprocity and visited foreign countries. The visit of Bulganin and Khrushchev to India and particularly Khrushchev’s visit to the USA were unusual events.
Stalin died in 1953. In the post-Stalin period the suspicion and fear between Russia and the USA were reduced. The language chosen by the leaders of both the countries was less sharp, if not friendly. An important factor, which made Russia change her stand, was the out-break of tension between her and Communist. China particularly after China attacked India in October 1962. Russia was prepared to be friendly with the USA, if this could weaken China. For several years, there was greater tension between Soviet Russia and Communist China than between the two Super Powers.
Efforts to End Cold War:
In recent years the USA changed her attitude towards communist countries, After spending billions of dollars, she thought that it was futile to have permanent enmity with Russia, China and their satellites. The most surprising event was the visit of President Richard Nixon to Red China in 1972 and the efforts made by the USA to get Red China admitted to the United Nations Organization in 1971.
Nixon and Brezhnev:
The USA became friendly with Soviet Russia. In June 1973 in response to President Nixon’s invitation. Leonid Brezhnev, the leader of the Soviet Communist Party, paid a visit to the USA. This visit was of great significance to Nixon, particularly because his stock and morale had gone depressingly low in 1973 in the light of the Watergate Scandal. The cold war has not gone fully, but much of its intensity has gone. Nixon and Brezhnev signed an agreement on the prevention of nuclear war on June 22, 1973 at Washington. They finally signaled that the cold war is dead. After 27 years of continuous feud between the two super powers, the cold war was given a neat, if wordy, burial in an avalanche of agreements and to innumerable toasts in choice French champagne. Newspapers reported that Pandit Nehru would have been happy to know about the end of the cold war. He had made great efforts to end it; but cold warriors of America had made mean remarks on them.
Fear of Nuclear Weapons:
The terrible fear of the possible use of nuclear weapons has compelled the Big Powers to reduce international tension. The USA, the USSR, China and France have nuclear weapons.
The USA Stands Unmasked:
For many years after the Second World War the USA gave aid to certain foreign countries in astronomical figures, and won the goodwill and gratitude of several nations. But even in the early stages, certain quarters had seriously suspected the true intentions of the USA. Unfortunately the role of the USA in the Vietnam War, her efforts to arm the military dictatorship of Pakistan with the latest and the most sophisticated weapons against India, her aid to Israel against the Arab States and her interference in the political: affairs of different countries have unmasked the USA. It is a sad irony of fate that the country which produced the great and noble statesmen George Washington and Abraham Lincoln should have Presidents like Tyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, who fomented trouble many parts of the world and sowed the seeds of wars which are like incurable cancer. Nixon has made the USA bloodstained. Under his stewardship the USA wants to have continuous wars in some parts of the world so that American arms can always have a ready market.
The USA discouraged India under the leadership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Mrs. Indira Gandhi. While it is true that the USA gave generous aid to India, she did not like India to follow the policy of non-alignment. She expected India to take part in the cold war and be an American camp follower. The USA ran-down India, when she upheld the principles of the Panchasheela in Nehru’s time.
Group of Non-Aligned Nations:
All nations in the world aid not take part in the cold war. They wished to steer clear of the two Power Blocs, and did not become the satellites of any great power. India belonged to the group of non-aligned nations. Unfortunately the non-aligned nations are weak, and many a time heir call for world peace and sanity is a cry in the wilderness.
Need of Peaceful Co-existence:
The cold war could not be avoided, as the USA and the USSR represented two diametrically opposed systems, which could not co-exist. For about 27 years they fought a cold war, and ultimately, as stated by Brezhnev on June 22, 1973 in the USA, the alternative to co-existence is destruction. The efforts made by Nixon and Brezhnev to end the cold war are warmly welcomed, as they can save the world from complete annihilation by nuclear weapons. The brink of war policy of John Foster Dulles stands discredited. The world is indebted to Pandit Nehru for warning repeatedly that peaceful co-existence alone can save civilization.
If the 19th century was the century of European countries, the 20th century is the century of Afro-Asian countries. As far as the Afro-Asian countries are concerned, the Second World War (1939-45) became a blessing in disguise.
In the 20th century, the wave of nationalism and democracy swept over the Afro-Asian countries, most of which succeeded in overthrowing Western imperialism. It was not altruism but compulsion that made Britain, France, Holland, Belgium and. Other imperialist powers grant independence to the subject peoples, While there wag colonization and imperialism in the 19th Century, the reverse process began in the present century. The Proudest imperialist power had to leave the colonies and empires lock, stock and barrel.
Causes of Decolonization:
Certain causes were responsible for decolonization.
Imperialist Powers Rudely Shaken:
The Second World War rudely shook the great imperialist powers. They had to face many post-war problems in their own countries, and were not in a position to exercise effective imperialist control over subject peoples.
The subject peoples of the Afro Asian countries felt the full impact of nationalism and democracy, and imperialism was repugnant to them. The imperialists, who had exploited subject peoples, were thoroughly exposed and discredited, and they were not able to have the loyalty and obedience of the exploited peoples.
Experience of Subject Peoples:
In India and several other i countries, subject peoples had gained much experience in the political and constitutional fields. They thought that they no more required the guidance and tutelage of imperialist powers.
The atmosphere erected by the Second. World War was unfavorable for the continuation of imperialism. War brought great sufferings to subject peoples. They did not understand why they should be made to fight in the imperialist wars, in which they had no concern. India was forced to join the war in 1939 as soon as Britain declared war on Germany. India had no choice, as then she was tied to the apron strings of imperialist England. In 1942, when Britain was in the thick of the war, Mahatma Gandhi asked the British to quit. India War definitely created a new mood, which was highly favorable to freedom, but much harmful to imperialist interests.
Japan committed aggression on China and other countries, and she was no better than Germany and Italy, But to mislead the people, she raised the war slogan Asia for-Asians. This slogan had a tremendous impact on the minds of the people of Asia, who were spurred to fight against European imperialists or rise in revolt against them.
Rise of Independent Nations:-
In the present century, factors were quite favorable for independence movements. The imperialist powers were completely exhausted during the Second World War, and subject peoples were able to overthrow them. Revolts, national movements and other factors saw the emergence of many independent states.
India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon secured their independence in 1947.
In 1948, the independent state of Israel was born.
Malaya was granted independence by Britain in 1951, and a federation known as Malaysia was formed. The city of Singapore became a separate independent state in 1959.
In Indonesia Dutch imperialism was completely overthrown, and the independent Republic of Indonesia was born in 1949.
In 1960 Britain granted complete independence to Cyprus in the Mediterranean.
In 1955 Sudan became fully independent.
In 1945 Italy had to surrender her African Possessions, and Libya became independent.
Tunisia, a French protectorate, secured independence and became a republic in 1956.
Basutoland (1966), Bacchanalian (1966), Gambia (1966) and several other African countries under British imperialism became independent.
Ivory Coast (1960), Chad (1960), French Guinea (1960) and several other African countries, which were under French imperialism, became independent.
Congo (1960) and Rwanda Burundi 962 became completely free from Belgian imperialism.
Spanish Equatorial Africa became free from Spanish imperialism in 1968.
Rapid Spread of Communism:-
As we observed in the preceding Chapter, communism could have a golden age us a result of the Second World War. When Germany surrendered and was divided into four zones in 1945, one zone came under Russian military control. Almost the whole of Eastern Europe till Berlin, came under Russian occupation, Thin was an excellent opportunity for spreading communism in Europe, Soviet Russia gave men and material to spread communism, It was with Soviet help that the successful Communist Revolution of China was engineered, and China became a communist state in 1949.
Imperialist exploitation, poverty, illiteracy, ignorance and political and military weakness of many countries enabled Soviet. Russia and China to spread their communist tentacles. These big communist powers have been fomenting internal troubles and disruption in many countries. At present more than one-third of the world has come under the octopus grip of communism.
In communist countries elections are held. But it should demoted that only the communist, party is allowed to contest and the other parties are suppressed. Elections in communist countries have no meaning, and they are like a farce.
Russia and China have been training communists to plan subversion and sabotage and to crush democracy and democratic movements. Friendship, persuasion, military aid,financial help, propaganda, gifts and bribes are used to spread communism. When all tactics fail, actual physical force is used. The communists say that democracy as found in India and the Western countries is not democracy at all. They say people’s democracy is found only in communist countries. Democratic leaders are called agents of the capitalists and the bourgeoisie; and the lackeys and running dogs of imperialism.
In Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia communist governments were set up. Most of these are in Russia’s iron grip. Only Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia refused to toe the Russian Tine.
In Asia, communism spread rapidly. Communists got inspiration from the two main communist springs of Russia and China. In 1951 the Chinese army invaded Tibet and the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans left the country.
In North Korea, which was under Russian control at the end of the Second World War, a communist government was established.
By 1954 the French withdrew from Vietnam. According to the Geneva agreement of July 21, 1954 Vietnam was divided. North Vietnam went under communist control and the South Vietnam became a republic. Russia and China brought North Vietnam under their influence and gave help, and the USA went to help and to interfere in the affairs of the South Vietnam. In Vietnam the cold war suddenly became a hot war. The hot war in Vietnam took a very heavy toll and even the USA, the richest country in the world, has been severely hit. The USA has paid a very heavy price in Vietnam for indulging in her discredited gunboat diplomacy and active interference.
Many countries of the world were torn to pieces by the ravages of the Second World War. The finest men died on the battle-field, and civilians died in the bombing raids and in famine, plague and pestilence. Many cities were either partially damaged or almost totally wiped out. Millions lost their homes, and the refugees had to be rehabilitated.
The problems of peace appeared to be not less serious than those of war. The great leaders of the world had to draft comprehensive plans to rebuild war-shattered countries and rehabilitate people.
The United States, which cornered much of the wealth of the world during the two world wars, generously gave loans or free aid to many countries under the different schemes prepared by the US Government. Human nature being what it is, aid may not always be without strings. As the USA developed global interests and strategy, she did not give aid indiscriminately. The aid was tied to certain ideologies and interests. However, it would be bad and cynical to say that all aid was given with motives. The USA loosened her purse strings generously on many occasions to help nations struck by war, earthquakes, flood and famine. It is how ever true that the principle of philanthropy has been mixed with political, commercial and other unwholesome motives.
In May 1947 President Harry S Truman warned Soviet Russia that the USA would not sit idle, if any power encroached on the freedom of the people of any country. He made it clear that whatever direct or indirect aggression took place, the security of the USA would be jeopardized. He further said that the USA would support the free peoples of the world to fight against any aggression or outside pressure. On March 12, 1947, Truman called for an appropriation of four hundred million dollars to help Greece and Turkey under the Truman Doctrine. Countries threatened by “aggressive Soviet Communism would receive military and economies aid from the USA. The Truman Doctrine spelt out the heavy responsibilities of the USA in the war torn world.
The Truman Doctrine clearly shows intentions of the USA to help people economically and militarily, when they are threatened by communist imperialism. It also brings into bold relief the fact that the USA is against the policy of remaining aloof in the world. As she has interests all over the world, she would like to contain communism while helping needy free peoples.
George Catlett Marshall (1880-1959), the Secretary of the State (1947-49), proposed his plan known as the Marshall Plan (1947), or European Recovery Programme. In a speech at the Harvard University on June 5, 1947 he called upon the European nations to outline their economic needs so that the. United States could plan on a large scale to give co-ordinates aid in July 1947 at the Paris Economic Conference, European countries (except Soviet Russia) including Britain and France accepted the Plan. Soviet Russia ridiculed this Plan as a device to boost American imperialism.
Aid to Non-European Countries:
Under Truman’s Point Four Programme (1949) the US aid was extended to non-European countries.