Critical Reflections on the Cold War: Linking Rhetoric and by Martin J. Medhurst, H. W. Brands

By Martin J. Medhurst, H. W. Brands

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S. officials defined the Soviet danger not in terms of specific and limited national objectives, but with rhetorical, anti-Communist per- < previous page page_24 next page > < previous page page_25 next page > Page 25 ceptions of the Kremlin's limitless power to expand without reference to any historic restraints. With no clear evidence of Soviet designs on Greece, President Truman presented his case to Congress and the nation: “It is necessary only to glance at a map to realize that the survival and integrity of the Greek nation are of grave importance in a much wider situation.

9 Others quickly embellished the requirement that the country take a stand on Greece and Turkey. Will Clayton, undersecretary of state for economic affairs, repeated the warning: “If Greece and then Turkey succumbs, the whole Middle East will be lost. France may then capitulate to the Communists. ”10 Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan accepted the administrations prescription uncritically. He warned in a letter dated March 12: “Greece must be helped or Greece sinks permanently into the Communist order.

9 One did not have to denounce capitalism, however, to believe that Germany in World War I and Germany, Japan, < previous page page_39 next page > < previous page page_40 next page > Page 40 and Italy in World War II had gone to war to gain a larger share of global wealth, territory, and markets. After Stalin asserted in his speech that World War II had been “the inevitable result” of economic competition under world capitalism, he qualified that claim of inevitability by stating that the dissatisfied capitalist nations “usually” resorted to force.

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