Posted: August 4th, 2022

18 Hours

HarryTruman, Joint Address Before Congress (Truman Doctrine), March 1

2

, 1

9

4

7

The gravity of the situation which confronts the world today necessitates my
appearance before a joint session of the Congress. The foreign policy and the national
security of this country are involved.

One aspect of the present situation, which I wish to present to you at this time for
your consideration and decision, concerns Greece and Turkey.

The United States has received from the Greek Government an urgent appeal for
financial and economic assistance. Preliminary reports from the American Economic
Mission now in Greece and reports from the American Ambassador in Greece corroborate
the statement of the Greek Government that assistance is imperative if Greece is to survive
as a free nation.

I do not believe that the American people and the Congress wish to turn a deaf ear
to the appeal of the Greek Government.

Greece is not a rich country. Lack of sufficient natural resources has always forced
the Greek people to work hard to make both ends meet. Since

19

40

, this industrious and
peace-loving country has suffered invasion, four years of cruel enemy occupation, and bitter
internal strife.

When forces of liberation entered Greece they found that the retreating Germans
had destroyed virtually all the railways, roads, port facilities, communications and merchant
marine. More than a thousand villages had been burned. Eighty-five per cent of the children
were tubercular. Livestock, poultry and draft animals had almost disappeared. Inflation had
wiped out practically all savings.

As a result of these tragic conditions, a military minority, exploiting human want and
misery, was able to create political chaos which, until now, has made economic recovery
impossible.

Greece is today without funds to finance the importation of those goods which are
essential to bare subsistence. Under these circumstances the people of Greece cannot make
progress in solving their problems of reconstruction. Greece is in desperate need of financial
and economic assistance to enable it to resume purchases of food, clothing, fuel and seeds.
These are indispensable for the subsistence of its people and are obtainable only from
abroad. Greece must have help to import the goods necessary to restore internal order and
security so essential for economic and political recovery.

The Greek Government has also asked for the assistance of experienced American
administrators, economists and technicians to insure that the financial and other aid given to
Greece shall be used effectively in creating a stable and self-sustaining economy and in
improving its public administration.

The very existence of the Greek state is today threatened by the terrorist activities of
several thousand armed men, led by Communists, who defy the Government’s authority at a
number of points, particularly along the northern boundaries. A commission appointed by
the United Nations Security Council is at present investigating disturbed conditions in
northern Greece and alleged border violations along the frontier between Greece on the one
hand and Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia on the other.

2

Meanwhile, the Greek Government is unable to cope with the situation. The Greek
Army is small and poorly equipped. It needs supplies and equipment if it is to restore the
authority of the Government throughout Greek territory.

Greece must have assistance if it is to become a self-supporting and self-respecting
democracy.

The United States must supply that assistance. We have already extended to Greece
certain types of relief and economic aid but these are inadequate. There is no other country
to which democratic Greece can turn.

No other nation is willing and able to provide the necessary support for a democratic
Greek Government.

The British Government, which has been helping Greece, can give no further
financial or economic aid after March. Great Britain finds itself under the necessity of
reducing or liquidating its commitments in several parts of the world, including Greece.

We have considered how the United Nations might assist in this crisis. But the
situation is an urgent one requiring immediate action, and the United Nations and its related
organizations are not in a position to extend help of the kind that is required.

It is important to note that the Greek Government has asked for our aid in utilizing
effectively the financial and other assistance we may give to Greece, and in improving public
administration. It is of the utmost importance that we supervise the use of any funds made
available to Greece, in such a manner that each dollar spent will count toward making
Greece self-supporting, and will help to build an economy in which a healthy democracy can
flourish.

No government is perfect. One of the chief virtues of a democracy, however, is that
its defects are always visible and under democratic processes can be pointed out and
corrected. The Government of Greece is not perfect. Nevertheless it represents

8

5

per cent
of the members of the Greek parliament who were chosen in an election last year. Foreign
observers, including

6

92 Americans, considered this election to be a fair expression of the
views of the Greek people.

The Greek Government has been operating in an atmosphere of chaos and
extremism. It has made mistakes. The extension of aid by this country does not mean that
the United States condones everything that the Greek Government has done or will do. We
have condemned in the past, and we condemn now, extremist measures of the Right or the
Left. We have in the past advised tolerance, and we advise tolerance now.

Greece’s neighbor, Turkey, also deserves our attention.

The future of Turkey as an independent and economically sound State is clearly no
less important to the freedom-loving peoples of the world than the future of Greece. The
circumstances in which Turkey finds itself today are considerably different from those of
Greece. Turkey has been spared the disasters that have beset Greece. And during the war,
the United States and Great Britain furnished Turkey with material aid.

Nevertheless, Turkey now needs our support.

3

Since the war Turkey has sought financial assistance from Great Britain and the
United States for the purpose of effecting that modernization necessary for the maintenance
of its national integrity.

That integrity is essential to the preservation of order in the Middle East.

The British Government has informed us that, owing to its own difficulties, it can no
longer extend financial or economic aid to Turkey.

As in the case of Greece, if Turkey is to have the assistance it needs, the United
States must supply it. We are the only country able to provide that help.

I am fully aware of the broad implications involved if the United States extends
assistance to Greece and Turkey, and I shall discuss these implications with you at this time.

One of the primary objectives of the foreign policy of the United States is the
creation of conditions in which we and other nations will be able to work out a way of life
free from coercion. This was a fundamental issue in the war with Germany and Japan. Our
victory was won over countries which sought to impose their will, and their way of life, upon
other nations.

To ensure the peaceful development of nations, free from coercion, the United
States has taken a leading part in establishing the United Nations. The United Nations is
designed to make possible lasting freedom and independence for all its members. We shall
not realize our objectives, however, unless we are willing to help free people to maintain
their free institutions and their national integrity against aggressive movements that seek to
impose upon them totalitarian regimes.

This is no more than a frank recognition that totalitarian regimes imposed on free
peoples, by direct or indirect aggression, undermine the foundations of international peace
and hence the security of the United States.

The peoples of a number of countries of the world have recently had totalitarian
regimes forced upon them against their will. The Government of the United States has made
frequent protests against coercion and intimidation in violation of the Yalta agreement, in
Poland, Rumania, and Bulgaria. I must also state that in a number of other countries there
have been similar developments.

At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between
alternative ways of life. The choice is too often not a free one.

One way of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished by free
institutions, representative government, free elections, guaranties of individual liberty,
freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression.

The second way of life is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon
the majority. It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio, fixed
elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms.

I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who
are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. I believe
that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way. I believe
that our help should be primarily through economic and financial aid which is essential to
economic stability and orderly political processes.

4

The world is not static, and the status quo is not sacred. But we cannot allow
changes in the status quo in violation of the Charter of the United Nations by such methods
as coercion, or by such subterfuges as political infiltration. In helping free and independent
nations to maintain their freedom, the United States will be giving effect to the principles of
the Charter of the United Nations.

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. If Greece should fall under
the control of an armed minority, the effect upon its neighbor, Turkey, would be immediate
and serious. Confusion and disorder might well spread throughout the entire Middle East.

Moreover, the disappearance of Greece as an independent State would have a
profound effect upon those countries in Europe whose peoples are struggling against great
difficulties to maintain their freedoms and their independence while they repair the damages
of war. It would be an unspeakable tragedy if these countries, which have struggled so long
against overwhelming odds, should lose that victory for which they sacrificed so much.
Collapse of free institutions and loss of independence would be disastrous not only for them
but for the world.

Discouragement and possibly failure would quickly be the lot of neighboring peoples
striving to maintain their freedom and independence.

Should we fail to aid Greece and Turkey in this fateful hour, the effect will be far-
reaching to the West as well as to the East. We must take immediate and resolute action.

I therefore ask the Congress to provide authority for assistance to Greece and
Turkey in the amount of $400,000,000 for the period ending June

30

, 19

48

. In requesting
these funds, l have taken into consideration the maximum amount of relief assistance which
would be furnished to Greece out of the $

35

0,000,000 which I recently requested that the
Congress authorize for the prevention of starvation and suffering in countries devastated by
the war.

In addition to funds, I ask the Congress to authorize the detail of American civilian
and military personnel to Greece and Turkey, at the request of those countries, to assist in
the tasks of reconstruction, and for the purpose of supervising the use of such financial and
material assistance as may be furnished. I recommend that authority also be provided for the
instruction and training of selected Greek and Turkish personnel.

Finally, I ask that the Congress provide authority which will permit the speediest and
most effective use, in terms of needed commodities, supplies and equipment, of such funds
as may be authorized.

If further funds, or further authority, should be needed for purposes indicated in this
message, I shall not hesitate to bring the situation before the Congress. On this subject the
executive and legislative branches of the Government must work together.

This is a serious course upon which we embark.. I would not recommend it except
that the alternative is much more serious.

The United States contributed $

34

1,000,000,000 toward winning World War II. This
is an investment in world freedom and world peace. The assistance that I am recommending
for Greece and Turkey amounts to little more than one-tenth of one per cent of this

5

investment. It is only common sense that we should safeguard this investment and make
sure that it was not in vain.

The seeds of totalitarian regimes are nurtured by misery and want. They spread and
grow in the evil soil of poverty and strife. They reach their full growth when the hope of a
people for a better life has died. We must keep that hope alive.

The free peoples of the world look to us for support in maintaining their freedoms.
If we falter in our leadership, we may endanger the peace of the world and we shall surely
endanger the welfare of our own nation.

Great responsibilities have been placed upon us by the swift movement of events. I
am confident that the Congress will face these responsibilities squarely.

6

Secretary of State George C. Marshall, Commencement Address outlining the
“Marshall Plan,” Harvard University, June 5, 19

47

I’m profoundly grateful and touched by the great distinction and honor and great
compliment accorded me by the authorities of Harvard this morning. I’m overwhelmed, as a
matter of fact, and I’m rather fearful of my inability to maintain such a high rating as you’ve
been generous enough to accord to me. In these historic and lovely surroundings, this
perfect day, and this very wonderful assembly, it is a tremendously impressive thing to an
individual in my position. But to speak more seriously, I need not tell you, gentlemen, that
the world situation is very serious. That must be apparent to all intelligent people. I think
one difficulty is that the problem is one of such enormous complexity that the very mass of
facts presented to the public by press and radio make it exceedingly difficult for the man in
the street to reach a clear appraisement of the situation. Furthermore, the people of this
country are distant from the troubled areas of the earth and it is hard for them to
comprehend the plight and consequent reactions of the long-suffering peoples, and the
effect of those reactions on their governments in connection with our efforts to promote
peace in the world.

In considering the requirements for the rehabilitation of Europe, the physical loss of
life, the visible destruction of cities, factories, mines and railroads was correctly estimated but
it has become obvious during recent months that this visible destruction was probably less
serious than the dislocation of the entire fabric of European economy. For the past

10

years
conditions have been highly abnormal. The feverish preparation for war and the more
feverish maintenance of the war effort engulfed all aspects of national economies. Machinery
has fallen into disrepair or is entirely obsolete. Under the arbitrary and destructive Nazi rule,
virtually every possible enterprise was geared into the German war machine. Long-standing
commercial ties, private institutions, banks, insurance companies, and shipping companies
disappeared, through loss of capital, absorption through nationalization, or by simple
destruction. In many countries, confidence in the local currency has been severely shaken.
The breakdown of the business structure of Europe during the war was complete. Recovery
has been seriously retarded by the fact that two years after the close of hostilities a peace
settlement with Germany and Austria has not been agreed upon. But even given a more
prompt solution of these difficult problems the rehabilitation of the economic structure of
Europe quite evidently will require a much longer time and greater effort than had been
foreseen.

There is a phase of this matter which is both interesting and serious. The farmer has
always produced the foodstuffs to exchange with the city dweller for the other necessities of
life. This division of labor is the basis of modern civilization. At the present time it is
threatened with breakdown. The town and city industries are not producing adequate goods
to exchange with the food producing farmer. Raw materials and fuel are in short supply.
Machinery is lacking or worn out. The farmer or the peasant cannot find the goods for sale
which he desires to purchase. So the sale of his farm produce for money which he cannot
use seems to him an unprofitable transaction. He, therefore, has withdrawn many fields from
crop cultivation and is using them for grazing. He feeds more grain to stock and finds for
himself and his family an ample supply of food, however short he may be on clothing and
the other ordinary gadgets of civilization. Meanwhile people in the cities are short of food
and fuel. So the governments are forced to use their foreign money and credits to procure

7

these necessities abroad. This process exhausts funds which are urgently needed for
reconstruction. Thus a very serious situation is rapidly developing which bodes no good for
the world. The modern system of the division of labor upon which the exchange of products
is based is in danger of breaking down.

The truth of the matter is that Europe’s requirements for the next three or four years
of foreign food and other essential products – principally from America – are so much
greater than her present ability to pay that she must have substantial additional help or face
economic, social, and political deterioration of a very grave character.

The remedy lies in breaking the vicious circle and restoring the confidence of the
European people in the economic future of their own countries and of Europe as a whole.
The manufacturer and the farmer throughout wide areas must be able and willing to
exchange their products for currencies the continuing value of which is not open to
question.

Aside from the demoralizing effect on the world at large and the possibilities of
disturbances arising as a result of the desperation of the people concerned, the consequences
to the economy of the United States should be apparent to all. It is logical that the United
States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in
the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy
is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and
chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit
the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist. Such
assistance, I am convinced, must not be on a piecemeal basis as various crises develop. Any
assistance that this Government may render in the future should provide a cure rather than a
mere palliative. Any government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery will find full
co-operation I am sure, on the part of the United States Government. Any government
which maneuvers to block the recovery of other countries cannot expect help from us.
Furthermore, governments, political parties, or groups which seek to perpetuate human
misery in order to profit therefrom politically or otherwise will encounter the opposition of
the United States.

It is already evident that, before the United States Government can proceed much
further in its efforts to alleviate the situation and help start the European world on its way to
recovery, there must be some agreement among the countries of Europe as to the
requirements of the situation and the part those countries themselves will take in order to
give proper effect to whatever action might be undertaken by this Government. It would be
neither fitting nor efficacious for this Government to undertake to draw up unilaterally a
program designed to place Europe on its feet economically. This is the business of the
Europeans. The initiative, I think, must come from Europe. The role of this country should
consist of friendly aid in the drafting of a European program and of later support of such a
program so far as it may be practical for us to do so. The program should be a joint one,
agreed to by a number, if not all European nations.

An essential part of any successful action on the part of the United States is an
understanding on the part of the people of America of the character of the problem and the
remedies to be applied. Political passion and prejudice should have no part. With foresight,
and a willingness on the part of our people to face up to the vast responsibility which history

8

has clearly placed upon our country, the difficulties I have outlined can and will be
overcome.

I am sorry that on each occasion I have said something publicly in regard to our
international situation, I’ve been forced by the necessities of the case to enter into rather
technical discussions. But to my mind, it is of vast importance that our people reach some
general understanding of what the complications really are, rather than react from a passion
or a prejudice or an emotion of the moment. As I said more formally a moment ago, we are
remote from the scene of these troubles. It is virtually impossible at this distance merely by
reading, or listening, or even seeing photographs or motion pictures, to grasp at all the real
significance of the situation. And yet the whole world of the future hangs on a proper
judgment. It hangs, I think, to a large extent on the realization of the American people, of
just what are the various dominant factors. What are the reactions of the people? What are
the justifications of those reactions? What are the sufferings? What is needed? What can best
be done? What must be done? Thank you very much.”

9

X (George F. Kennan), “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” Foreign Affairs, July 1947.

Of the original [communist] ideology, nothing has been officially junked. Belief is
maintained in the basic badness of capitalism, in the inevitability of its destruction, in the
obligation of the proletariat [the working class] to assist in that destruction and to take power
into its own hands. But stress has come to be laid primarily on those concepts which relate
most specifically to the Soviet regime itself: to its position as the sole truly Socialist regime in
a dark and misguided world, and to the relationships of power within it.

The first of these concepts is that of the innate antagonism between capitalism and
Socialism. We have seen how deeply that concept has become imbedded in foundations of
Soviet power. It has profound implications for Russia’s conduct as a member of
international society. It means that there can never be on Moscow’s side a sincere
assumption of a community of aims between the Soviet Union and powers which are
regarded as capitalist. It must inevitably be assumed in Moscow that the aims of the capitalist
world are antagonistic to the Soviet regime, and therefore to the interests of the peoples it
controls. If the Soviet government occasionally sets it signature to documents which would
indicate the contrary, this is to be regarded as a tactical maneuver permissible in dealing with
the enemy (who is without honor) and should be taken in the spirit of caveat emptor
[literally, “buyer beware”; in other words, don’t trust it]. Basically, the antagonism remains.…
And from it flow many of the phenomena which we find disturbing in the Kremlin’s
conduct of foreign policy: the secretiveness, the lack of frankness, the duplicity, the wary
suspiciousness, and the basic unfriendliness of purpose. These phenomena are there to stay,
for the foreseeable future. There can be variations of degree and of emphasis. When there is
something the Russians want from us, one or the other of these features of their policy may
be thrust temporarily into the background; and when that happens there will always be
Americans who will leap forward with gleeful announcements that “the Russians have
changed,” and some who will even try to take credit for having brought about such
“changes.” But we should not be misled by tactical maneuvers. These characteristics of
Soviet policy, like the postulate from which they flow, are basic to the internal nature of
Soviet power, and will be with us, whether in the foreground or the background, until the
internal nature of Soviet power is changed.

This means we are going to continue for long time to find the Russians difficult to
deal with. It does not mean that they should be considered as embarked upon a do-or-die
program to overthrow our society by a given date. The theory of the inevitability of the
eventual fall of capitalism has the fortunate connotation that there is no hurry about it. The
forces of progress can take their time in preparing the final coup de grace [the death blow;
that is, the destruction of capitalism]. Meanwhile, what is vital is that the “Socialist
fatherland”—that oasis of power which has already been won for Socialism in the person of
the Soviet Union—should be cherished and defended by all good Communists at home and
abroad, its fortunes promoted, its enemies badgered and confounded. The promotion of
premature, “adventuristic” revolutionary projects abroad which might embarrass Soviet
power in any way would be an inexcusable, even a counter-revolutionary act. The cause of
Socialism is the support and promotion of Soviet power, as defined in Moscow…

But we have seen that the Kremlin is under no ideological compulsion to accomplish
its purposes in a hurry. Like the Church, it is dealing in ideological concepts which are of
long-term validity, and it can afford to be patient. It has no right to risk the existing

10

achievements of the revolution for the sake of vain baubles of the future. The very teachings
of [Vladimir] Lenin [the founder of the Soviet Union] himself require great caution and
flexibility in the pursuit of Communist purposes. Again, these precepts are fortified by the
lessons of Russian history: of centuries of obscure battles between nomadic forces over the
stretches of a vast unfortified plain. Here caution, circumspection, flexibility and deception
are the valuable qualities; and their value finds a natural appreciation in the Russian… mind.
Thus the Kremlin has no compunction about retreating in the face of superior forces. And
being under the compulsion of no timetable, it does not get panicky under the necessity for
such retreat. Its political action is a fluid stream which moves constantly, wherever it is
permitted to move, toward a given goal. Its main concern is to make sure that it has filled
every nook and cranny available to it in the basin of world power. But if it finds unassailable
barriers in its path, it accepts these philosophically and accommodates itself to them. The
main thing is that there should always be pressure, unceasing constant pressure, toward the
desired goal. There is no trace of any feeling in Soviet psychology that that goal must be
reached at any given time.

These considerations make Soviet diplomacy at once easier and more difficult to deal
with than the diplomacy of individual aggressive leaders like Napoleon and Hitler. On the
one hand it is more sensitive to contrary force, more ready to yield on individual sectors of
the diplomatic front when that force is felt to be too strong, and thus more rational in the
logic and rhetoric of power. On the other hand it cannot be easily defeated or discouraged
by a single victory on the part of its opponents. And the patient persistence by which it is
animated means that it can be effectively countered not by sporadic acts which represent the
momentary whims of democratic opinion but only by intelligent long-range policies on the
part of Russia’s adversaries—policies no less steady in their purpose, and no less variegated
and resourceful in their application, than those of the Soviet Union itself.

In these circumstances it is clear that the main element of any United States policy
toward the Soviet Union must be that of long-term, patient but firm and vigilant
containment of Russian expansive tendencies. It is important to note, however, that such a
policy has nothing to do with outward histrionics: with threats or blustering or superfluous
gestures of outward “toughness.” While the Kremlin is basically flexible in its reaction to
political realities, it is by no means unamenable [unresponsive] to considerations of prestige.
Like almost any other government, it can be placed by tactless and threatening gestures in a
position where it cannot afford to yield even though this might be dictated by its sense of
realism. The Russian leaders are keen judges of human psychology, and as such they are
highly conscious that loss of temper and of self-control is never a source of strength in
political affairs. They are quick to exploit such evidences of weakness. For these reasons it is
a sine qua non [a necessary requirement] of successful dealing with Russia that the foreign
government in question should remain at all times cool and collected and that its demands
on Russian policy should be put forward in such a manner as to leave the way open for a
compliance not too detrimental to Russian prestige.…

It is clear that the United States cannot expect in the foreseeable future to enjoy
political intimacy with the Soviet regime. It must continue to regard the Soviet Union as a
rival, not a partner, in the political arena. It must continue to expect that Soviet policies will
reflect no abstract love of peace and stability, no real faith in the possibility of a permanent
happy coexistence of the Socialist and capitalist worlds, but rather a cautious, persistent
pressure toward the disruption and, weakening of all rival influence and rival power.

11

Balanced against this are the facts that Russia, as opposed to the western world in
general, is still by far the weaker party, that Soviet policy is highly flexible, and that Soviet
society may well contain deficiencies which will eventually weaken its own total potential.
This would of itself warrant the United States entering with reasonable confidence upon a
policy of firm containment, designed to confront the Russians with unalterable counter-
force at every point where they show signs of encroaching upon he interests of a peaceful
and stable world.

But in actuality the possibilities for American policy are by no means limited to
holding the line and hoping for the best. It is entirely possible for the United States to
influence by its actions the internal developments, both within Russia and throughout the
international Communist movement, by which Russian policy is largely determined. This is
not only a question of the modest measure of informational activity which this government
can conduct in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, although that, too, is important. It is rather a
question of the degree to which the United States can create among the peoples of the world
generally the impression of a country which knows what it wants, which is coping
successfully with the problem of its internal life and with the responsibilities of a World
Power, and which has a spiritual vitality capable of holding its own among the major
ideological currents of the time. To the extent that such an impression can be created and
maintained, the aims of Russian Communism must appear sterile and quixotic, the hopes
and enthusiasm of Moscow’s supporters must wane, and added strain must be imposed on
the Kremlin’s foreign policies. For the palsied decrepitude of the capitalist world is the
keystone of Communist philosophy. Even the failure of the United States to experience the
early economic depression which the ravens of the Red Square have been predicting with
such complacent confidence since hostilities ceased would have deep and important
repercussions throughout the Communist world.

By the same token, exhibitions of indecision, disunity and internal disintegration
within this country have an exhilarating effect on the whole Communist movement. At each
evidence of these tendencies, a thrill of hope and excitement goes through the Communist
world; a new jauntiness can be noted in the Moscow tread; new groups of foreign supporters
climb on to what they can only view as the band wagon of international politics; and Russian
pressure increases all along the line in international affairs.

It would be an exaggeration to say that American behavior unassisted and alone
could exercise a power of life and death over the Communist movement and bring about the
early fall of Soviet power in Russia. But the United States has it in its power to increase
enormously the strains under which Soviet policy must operate, to force upon the Kremlin a
far greater degree of moderation and circumspection than it has had to observe in recent
years, and in this way to promote tendencies which must eventually find their outlet in either
the breakup or the gradual mellowing of Soviet power. For no mystical, Messianic
movement—and particularly not that of the Kremlin—can face frustration indefinitely
without eventually adjusting itself in one way or another to the logic of that state of affairs.

Thus the decision will really fall in large measure in this country itself. The issue of
Soviet-American relations is in essence a test of the overall worth of the United States as a
nation among nations. To avoid destruction the United States need only measure up to its
own best traditions and prove itself worthy of preservation as a great nation.

12

Surely, there was never a fairer test of national quality than this. In the light of these
circumstances, the thoughtful observer of Russian-American relations will find no cause for
complaint in the Kremlin’s challenge to American society. He will rather experience a certain
gratitude to a Providence which, by providing the American people with this implacable
challenge, has made their entire security as a nation dependent on their pulling themselves
together and accepting the responsibilities of moral and political leadership that history
plainly intended them to bear.

13

NSC 68: United States Objectives and Programs for National Security, April

14

, 19

50

TOP SECRET

Conclusions

The foregoing analysis indicates that the probable fission bomb capability and
possible thermonuclear bomb capability of the Soviet Union have greatly intensified the
Soviet threat to the security of the United States. This threat is of the same character as that
described in NSC

20

/4 (approved by the President on November

24

, 1948) but is more
immediate than had previously been estimated. In particular, the United States now faces the
contingency that within the next four or five years the Soviet Union will possess the military
capability of delivering a surprise atomic attack of such weight that the United States must
have substantially increased general air, ground, and sea strength, atomic capabilities, and air
and civilian defenses to deter war and to provide reasonable assurance, in the event of war,
that it could survive the initial blow and go on to the eventual attainment of its objectives. In
return, this contingency requires the intensification of our efforts in the fields of intelligence
and research and development.

Allowing for the immediacy of the danger, the following statement of Soviet threats,
contained in NSC 20/4, remains valid:

14. The gravest threat to the security of the United States within the foreseeable
future stems from the hostile designs and formidable power of the USSR, and from the
nature of the Soviet system.

15

. The political, economic, and psychological warfare which the USSR is now
waging has dangerous potentialities for weakening the relative world position of the United
States and disrupting its traditional institutions by means short of war, unless sufficient
resistance is encountered in the policies of this and other non-communist countries.

16

. The risk of war with the USSR is sufficient to warrant, in common prudence,
timely and adequate preparation by the United States.

a. Even though present estimates indicate that the Soviet leaders probably do
not intend deliberate armed action involving the United States at this time, the possibility of
such deliberate resort to war cannot be ruled out.

b. Now and for the foreseeable future there is a continuing danger that war will
arise either through Soviet miscalculation of the determination of the United States to use all
the means at its command to safeguard its security, through Soviet misinterpretation of our
intentions, or through U.S. miscalculation of Soviet reactions to measures which we might
take.

17

. Soviet domination of the potential power of Eurasia, whether achieved by
armed aggression or by political and subversive means, would be strategically and politically
unacceptable to the United States.

18

. The capability of the United States either in peace or in the event of war to
cope with threats to its security or to gain its objectives would be severely weakened by
internal development, important among which are:

14

a. Serious espionage, subversion and sabotage, particularly by concerted and
well-directed communist activity.

b. Prolonged or exaggerated economic instability.

c. Internal political and social disunity.

d. Inadequate or excessive armament or foreign aid expenditures.

e. An excessive or wasteful usage of our resources in time of peace.

f. Lessening of U.S. prestige and influence through vacillation of appeasement
or lack of skill and imagination in the conduct of its foreign policy or by shirking world
responsibilities.

g. Development of a false sense of security through a deceptive change in
Soviet tactics.

Although such developments as those indicated in paragraph 18 above would
severely weaken the capability of the United States and its allies to cope with the Soviet
threat to their security, considerable progress has been made since 1948 in laying the
foundation upon which adequate strength can now be rapidly built.

The analysis also confirms that our objectives with respect to the Soviet Union, in
time of peace as well as in time of war, as stated in NSC 20/4 (para. 19), are still valid, as are
the aims and measures stated therein (paras. 20 and

21

). Our current security programs and
strategic plans are based upon these objectives, aims, and measures:

19. a. To reduce the power and influence of the USSR to limits which no longer
constitute a threat to the peace, national independence, and stability of the world family of
nations.

b. To bring about a basic change in the conduct of international relations by the
government in power in Russia, to conform with the purposes and principles set forth in the
UN Charter.

In pursuing these objectives, due care must be taken to avoid permanently
impairing our economy and the fundamental values and institutions inherent in our way of
life.

20. We should endeavor to achieve our general objectives by methods short of
war through the pursuit of the following aims:

a. To encourage and promote the gradual retraction of undue Russian power
and influence from the present perimeter areas around traditional Russian boundaries and
the emergence of the satellite countries as entities independent of the USSR.

b. To encourage the development among the Russian peoples of attitudes
which may help to modify current Soviet behavior and permit a revival of the national life of
groups evidencing the ability and determination to achieve and maintain national
independence.

c. To eradicate the myth by which people remote from Soviet military influence
are held in a position of subservience to Moscow and to cause the world at large to see and
understand the true nature of the USSR and the Soviet-directed world communist party, and
to adopt a logical and realistic attitude toward them.

15

d. To create situations which will compel the Soviet Government to recognize
the practical undesirability of acting on the basis of its present concepts and the necessity of
behaving in accordance with precepts of international conduct, as set forth in the purposes
and principles of the UN Charter.

21. Attainment of these aims requires that the United States:

a. Develop a level of military readiness which can be maintained as long as
necessary as a deterrent to Soviet aggression, as indispensable support to our political
attitude toward the USSR, as a source of encouragement to nations resisting Soviet political
aggression, and as an adequate basis for immediate military commitments and for rapid
mobilization should war prove unavoidable.

b. Assure the internal security of the United States against dangers of sabotage,
subversion, and espionage.

c. Maximize our economic potential, including the strengthening of our
peacetime economy and the establishment of essential reserves readily available in the event
of war.

d. Strengthen the orientation toward the United States of the non-Soviet
nations; and help such of those nations as are able and willing to make an important
contribution to U.S. security, to increase their economic and political stability and their
military capability.

e. Place the maximum strain on the Soviet structure of power and particularly
on the relationships between Moscow and the satellite countries.

f. Keep the U.S. public fully informed and cognizant of the threats to our
national security so that it will be prepared to support the measures which we must
accordingly adopt.

In the light of present and prospective Soviet atomic capabilities, the action which
can be taken under present programs and plans, however, becomes dangerously inadequate,
in both timing and scope, to accomplish the rapid progress toward the attainment of the
United States political, economic, and military objectives which is now imperative.

A continuation of present trends would result in a serious decline in the strength of
the free world relative to the Soviet Union and its satellites. This unfavorable trend arises
from the inadequacy of current programs and plans rather than from any error in our
objectives and aims. These trends lead in the direction of isolation, not by deliberate decision
but by lack of the necessary basis for a vigorous initiative in the conflict with the Soviet
Union.

Our position as the center of power in the free world places a heavy responsibility
upon the United States for leadership. We must organize and enlist the energies and
resources of the free world in a positive program for peace which will frustrate the Kremlin
design for world domination by creating a situation in the free world to which the Kremlin
will be compelled to adjust. Without such a cooperative effort, led by the United States, we
will have to make gradual withdrawals under pressure until we discover one day that we have
sacrificed positions of vital interest.

It is imperative that this trend be reversed by a much more rapid and concerted
build-up of the actual strength of both the United States and the other nations of the free

16

world. The analysis shows that this will be costly and will involve significant domestic
financial and economic adjustments.

The execution of such a build-up, however, requires that the United States have an
affirmative program beyond the solely defensive one of countering the threat posed by the
Soviet Union. This program must light the path to peace and order among nations in a
system based on freedom and justice, as contemplated in the Charter of the United Nations.
Further, it must envisage the political and economic measures with which and the military
shield behind which the free world can work to frustrate the Kremlin design by the strategy
of the cold war; for every consideration of devotion to our fundamental values and to our
national security demands that we achieve our objectives by the strategy of the cold war,
building up our military strength in order that it may not have to be used. The only sure
victory lies in the frustration of the Kremlin design by the steady development of the moral
and material strength of the free world and its projection into the Soviet world in such a way
as to bring about an internal change in the Soviet system. Such a positive program–
harmonious with our fundamental national purpose and our objectives–is necessary if we
are to regain and retain the initiative and to win and hold the necessary popular support and
cooperation in the United States and the rest of the free world.

This program should include a plan for negotiation with the Soviet Union, developed
and agreed with our allies and which is consonant with our objectives. The United States and
its allies, particularly the United Kingdom and France, should always be ready to negotiate
with the Soviet Union on terms consistent with our objectives. The present world situation,
however, is one which militates against successful negotiations with the Kremlin–for the
terms of agreements on important pending issues would reflect present realities and would
therefore be unacceptable, if not disastrous, to the United States and the rest of the free
world. After a decision and a start on building up the strength of the free world has been
made, it might then be desirable for the United States to take an initiative in seeking
negotiations in the hope that it might facilitate the process of accommodation by the
Kremlin to the new situation. Failing that, the unwillingness of the Kremlin to accept
equitable terms or its bad faith in observing them would assist in consolidating popular
opinion in the free world in support of the measures necessary to sustain the build-up.

In summary, we must, by means of a rapid and sustained build-up of the political,
economic, and military strength of the free world, and by means of an affirmative program
intended to wrest the initiative from the Soviet Union, confront it with convincing evidence
of the determination and ability of the free world to frustrate the Kremlin design of a world
dominated by its will. Such evidence is the only means short of war which eventually may
force the Kremlin to abandon its present course of action and to negotiate acceptable
agreements on issues of major importance.

The whole success of the proposed program hangs ultimately on recognition by this
Government, the American people, and all free peoples, that the cold war is in fact a real war
in which the survival of the free world is at stake. Essential prerequisites to success are
consultations with Congressional leaders designed to make the program the object of non-
partisan legislative support, and a presentation to the public of a full explanation of the facts
and implications of the present international situation. The prosecution of the program will
require of us all the ingenuity, sacrifice, and unity demanded by the vital importance of the
issue and the tenacity to persevere until our national objectives have been attained.

17

Harry Truman, Statement upon Deployment of US Forces in Korea, June

27

, 1950

IN KOREA the Government forces, which were armed to prevent border raids and
to preserve internal security, were attacked by invading forces from North Korea. The
Security Council of the United Nations called upon the invading troops to cease hostilities
and to withdraw to the

38

th parallel. This they have not done, but on the contrary have
pressed the attack. The Security Council called upon all members of the United Nations to
render every assistance to the United Nations in the execution of this resolution. In these
circumstances I have ordered United States air and sea forces to give the Korean
Government troops cover and support.

The attack upon Korea makes it plain beyond all doubt that communism has passed
beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed
invasion and war. It has defied the orders of the Security Council of the United Nations
issued to preserve international peace and security. In these circumstances the occupation of
Formosa by Communist forces would be a direct threat to the security of the Pacific area
and to United States forces performing their lawful and necessary functions in that area.

Accordingly I have ordered the 7th Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa. As a
corollary of this action I am calling upon the Chinese Government on Formosa to cease all
air and sea operations against the mainland. The 7th Fleet will see that this is done. The
determination of the future status of Formosa must await the restoration of security in the
Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations.

I have also directed that United States Forces in the Philippines be strengthened and
that military assistance to the Philippine Government be accelerated.

I have similarly directed acceleration in the furnishing of military assistance to the
forces of France and the Associated States in Indochina and the dispatch of a military
mission to provide dose working relations with those forces.

I know that all members of the United Nations will consider carefully the
consequences of this latest aggression in Korea in defiance of the Charter of the United
Nations. A return to the rule of force in international affairs would have far-reaching effects.
The United States will continue to uphold the rule of law.

I have instructed Ambassador Austin, as the representative of the United States to
the Security Council, to report these steps to the Council.

Scanned by John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, The American Presidency Project.

18

Judge Kaufman’s Statement Upon Sentencing the Rosenbergs (19

51

)

Citizens of this country who betray their fellow-countrymen can be under none of
the delusions about the benignity of Soviet power that they might have been prior to World
War II. The nature of Russian terrorism is now self-evident. Idealism as a rational
dissolves…

I consider your crime worse than murder. Plain deliberate contemplated murder is
dwarfed in magnitude by comparison with the crime you have committed. In committing
the act of murder, the criminal kills only his victim. The immediate family is brought to grief
and when justice is meted out the chapter is closed. But in your case, I believe your conduct
in putting into the hands of the Russians the A-bomb years before our best scientists
predicted Russia would perfect the bomb has already caused, in my opinion, the Communist
aggression in Korea, with the resultant casualties exceeding 50,000 and who knows but that
millions more of innocent people may pay the price of your treason. Indeed, by your
betrayal you undoubtedly have altered the course of history to the disadvantage of our
country.

No one can say that we do not live in a constant state of tension. We have evidence
of your treachery all around us every day–for the civilian defense activities throughout the
nation are aimed at preparing us for an atom bomb attack. Nor can it be said in mitigation
of the offense that the power which set the conspiracy in motion and profited from it was
not openly hostile to the United States at the time of the conspiracy. If this was your excuse
the error of your ways in setting yourselves above our properly constituted authorities and
the decision of those authorities not to share the information with Russia must now be
obvious…

In the light of this, I can only conclude that the defendants entered into this most
serious conspiracy against their country with full realization of its implications…

The statute of which the defendants at the bar stand convicted is clear. I have
previously stated my view that the verdict of guilty was amply justified by the evidence. In
the light of the circumstances, I feel that I must pass such sentence upon the principals in
this diabolical conspiracy to destroy a God-fearing nation, which will demonstrate with
finality that this nation’s security must remain inviolate; that traffic in military secrets,
whether promoted by slavish devotion to a foreign ideology or by a desire for monetary
gains must cease.

The evidence indicated quite clearly that Julius Rosenberg was the prime mover in
this conspiracy. However, let no mistake be made about the role which his wife, Ethel
Rosenberg, played in this conspiracy. Instead of deterring him from pursuing his ignoble
cause, she encouraged and assisted the cause. She was a mature woman–almost three years
older than her husband and almost seven years older than her younger brother. She was a
full-fledged partner in this crime.

Indeed the defendants Julius and Ethel Rosenberg placed their devotion to their cause above
their own personal safety and were conscious that they were sacrificing their own children,
should their misdeeds be detected–all of which did not deter them from pursuing their
course. Love for their cause dominated their lives–it was even greater than their love for
their children.

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

HP_Administrator
Sticky Note
Albert Einstein’s FBI file.

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

“Their Sheltered Honeymoon,” Life Magazine, August 10, 19

59

The stunt might have been called “fallout can be
fun.” At the behest of a Miami bomb shelter
builder, newlyweds Mr. And Mrs. Melvin
Mininson this month subjected their budding
marriage to the strain of 14 days (the crucial
period of fallout danger) of unbroken
togetherness in a 22-ton steel and concrete 8×14
foot shelter 12 feet underground. When they
emerged last week the Mininsons were in fine
spirits and the stunt had produced some useful
evidence on underground survival.

In the shelter [next page], the Minisons had been
hot and dusty but they did not suffer from
claustrophobia until near the end. They found
they could do without their fresh-are blower for
six hours at a time without suffering ill effects..

This could provide an important margin of
safety in a real emergency. They wished they
had taken a better variety of foods and more
tools to fix little things that went wrong. These
inconveniences of their confinement behind
them, the Mininsons were now looking forward
to two more weeks together above ground in
Mexico on a holiday paid for by the grateful
shelter builder.

GOING UNDERGROUND after
wedding. Mr. And Mrs. Mininson kiss as
they prepare for stay in bomb shelter.

38

“WEDDING GIFTS” which were mostly donated by the builder, included stocks of
food and items of special equipment, to be used later in the shelter. The bomb
shelter entrance is at right rear, on lawn back of small house.

KEEPING DIARY. Maria Mininson takes notes on progress of her sheltered life.
She is lightly dressed to cope with temperature in high 80s.

39

PASSING TIME. Mininsons play rummy, using a floor fan as a card table. They
also enjoyed the services of telephone and radio, but no television set.

COMING UP to earth from underground, Mininsons said, “It’s like heaven.” They
celebrated with a worldly party at a Miami Beach hotel that night.

40

41

42

43

Henry A. Wallace, Speech on the Truman Doctrine, March 27, 1947

March 12, 1947, marked a turning point in American history. It is not a Greek crisis
that we face, it is an American crisis. It is a crisis in the American spirit. Only the American
people fully aroused and promptly acting can prevent disaster.

President Truman, in the name of democracy and humanitarianism, proposed a
military lend-lease program. He proposed a loan of $400,000,000 to Greece and Turkey as a
down payment on an unlimited expenditure aimed at opposing Communist expansion. He
proposed, in effect, that America police Russia’s every border. There is no regime too
reactionary for us provided it stands in Russia’s expansionist path. There is no country too
remote to serve as the scene of a contest which may widen until it becomes a world war.

President Truman calls for action to combat a crisis. What is this crisis that
necessitates Truman going to Capitol Hill as though a Pearl Harbor has suddenly hit us?
How many more of these Pearl Harbors will there be? How can they be foreseen? What will
they cost?

One year ago at Fulton, Mo., Winston Churchill called for a diplomatic offensive
against Soviet Russia. By sanctioning that speech, Truman committed us to a policy of
combating Russia with British sources. That policy proved to be so bankrupt that Britain can
no longer maintain it. Now President Truman proposes we take over Britain’s hopeless task.
Today Americans are asked to support the Governments of Greece and Turkey. Tomorrow
we shall be asked to support the Governments of China and Argentina.

I say that this policy is utterly futile. No people can be bought. America cannot
afford to spend billions and billions of dollars for unproductive purposes. The world is
hungry and insecure, and the peoples of all lands demand change. President Truman cannot
prevent change in the world any more than he can prevent the tide from coming in or the
sun from setting. But once America stands for opposition to change, we are lost. America
will become the most-hated nation in the world.

Russia may be poor and unprepared for war, but she knows very well how to reply to
Truman’s declaration of economic and financial pressure. All over the world Russia and her
ally, poverty, will increase the pressure against us. Who among us is ready to predict that in
this struggle American dollars will outlast the grievances that lead to communism? I certainly
don’t want to see communism spread. I predict that Truman’s policy will spread
communism in Europe and Asia. You can’t fight some-thing with nothing. When Truman
offers unconditional aid to King George of Greece, he is acting as the best salesman
communism ever had. In proposing this reckless adventure, Truman is betraying the great
tradition of America and the leadership of the great American who preceded him.

When President Truman proclaims the world-wide conflict between East and West,
he is telling the Soviet leaders that we are preparing for eventual war. They will reply by
measures to strengthen their position in the event of war. Then the task of keeping the
world at peace will pass beyond the power of the common people everywhere who want
peace. Certainly it will not be freedom that will be victorious in this struggle. Psychological
and spiritual preparation for war will follow financial preparation; civil liberties will be
restricted; standards of living will be forced downward; families will be divided against each
other; none of the values that we hold worth fighting for will be secure.

44

This is the time for an all-out worldwide reconstruction program for peace. This is
America’s opportunity. The peoples of all lands say to America: Send us plows for our fields
instead of tanks and guns to be used against us. The dollars that are spent will be spent for
the production of goods and will come back to us in a thousand different ways. Our
programs will be based on service instead of the outworn ideas of imperialism and power
politics. It is a fundamental law of life that a strong idea is merely strengthened by
persecution. The way to handle communism is by what William James called the replacing
power of the higher affection. In other words, we give the common man all over the world
something better than communism. I believe we have something better than communism
here in America. But President Truman has not spoken for the American ideal. It is now the
turn of the American people to speak.

Common sense is required of all of us in realizing that helping militarism never
brings peace. Courage is required of all of us in carrying out a program that can bring peace.
Courage and common sense are the qualities that made America great. Let’s keep those
qualities now.

45

Harry Truman, Veto of the McCarran Internal Security Act, September 22, 1950

…This is an omnibus bill containing many different legislative proposals with only
one thing in common: they are all represented to be “anticommunist.” But when the many
complicated pieces of the bill are analyzed in detail, a startling result appears.

H.R. 9

49

0 would not hurt the Communists. Instead, it would help them.

It has been claimed over and over that this is an “anticommunist” bill—a
“Communist control” bill. But in actual operation the bill would have results exactly the
opposite of those intended…

It would help the Communists in their efforts to create dissension and confusion
within our borders.

It would help the Communist propagandists throughout the world who are trying to
undermine freedom by discrediting as hypocrisy the efforts of the United States on behalf of
freedom.

Specifically, some of the principal objections to the bill are as follows:

1. It would aid potential enemies by requiring the publication of a complete list of
vital defense plants, laboratories, and other installations.

2. It would require the Department of Justice and its Federal Bureau of
Investigation to waste immense amounts of time and energy attempting to carry out its
unworkable registration provisions.

3. It would deprive us of the great assistance of many aliens in intelligence matters.

4. It would antagonize friendly governments.

5. It would put the Government of the United States in the thought-control
business.

6. It would make it easier for subversive aliens to become naturalized as U.S.
citizens.

7. It would give Government officials vast powers to harass all of our citizens in
the exercise of their right of free speech.

Legislation with these consequences is not necessary to meet the real dangers which
communism presents to our free society. Those dangers are serious and must be met. But
this bill would hinder us, not help us, in meeting them. Fortunately, we already have on the
books strong laws which give us most of the protection we need from the real dangers of
treason, espionage, sabotage, and actions looking to the overthrow of our Government by
force and violence. Most of the provisions of this bill have no relation to these real
dangers…

The idea of requiring Communist organizations to divulge information about
themselves is a simple and attractive one. But it is about as practical as requiring thieves to
register with the sheriff. Obviously, no such organization as the Communist Party is likely to
register itself voluntarily…

46

There is no more fundamental axiom of American freedom than the familiar
statement: In a free country, we punish men for the crimes they commit, but never for the
opinions they have. And the reason this is so fundamental to freedom is not, as many
suppose, that it protects the few unorthodox from suppression by the majority. To permit
freedom of expression is primarily for the benefit of the majority because it protects
criticism, and criticism leads to progress.

We can and we will prevent espionage, sabotage, or other actions endangering our
national security. But we would betray our finest traditions if we attempted, as this bill would
attempt, to curb the simple expression of opinion. This we should never do, no matter how
distasteful the opinion may be to the vast majority of our people. The course proposed by
this bill would delight the Communists, for it would make a mockery of the Bill of Rights
and of our claims to stand for freedom in the world…

We need not fear the expression of ideas—we do need to fear their suppression.

Our position in the vanguard of freedom rests largely on our demonstration that the
free expression of opinion, coupled with government by popular consent, leads to national
strength and human advancement. Let us not, in cowering and foolish fear, throw away the
ideals which are the fundamental basis of our free society…

I do not undertake lightly the responsibility of differing with the majority in both
Houses of Congress who have voted for this bill. We are all Americans; we all wish to
safeguard and preserve our constitutional liberties against internal and external enemies. But
I cannot approve this legislation, which instead of accomplishing its avowed purpose would
actually interfere with our liberties and help the Communists against whom the bill was
aimed.

This is a time when we must marshal all of our resources and all the moral strength
of our free system in self-defense against the threat of Communist aggression. We will fail in
this, and we will destroy all that we seek to preserve, if we sacrifice the liberties of our
citizens in a misguided attempt to achieve national security…

No considerations of expediency can justify the enactment of such a bill as this, a bill
which would so greatly weaken our liberties and give aid and comfort to those who would
destroy us. I have, therefore, no alternative but to return this bill without my approval, and I
earnestly request the Congress to reconsider its action.

47

– ” ” –

66 THE IMPAaT OF ms COLD WAR

long habit of reading the letters to the editor in the daily press and the.
news weeklies. One phrase comes up over and over. in these columns
like a chant, namely that the writer is “sick and tired” of something or
other. White Southerners say that they are “sick and tired” of being
pushed around by Negro agitators or the northern press or the federal
government. Jingos say that they are “sick and tired” of Castro or
Khrushchev or the United Nations. More rarely, the oppressed say it
about their oppressors, when things have lifted a little and they can af­
ford to be sick and tired. But in general it seems to me that the warlike
in the United States are the sick and tired ones, who find their own
lives insufficiently preoccupying and who, in ways Professor Osgood
describes, project their difficulties on the agreed-upon enemy, the Com­
munists abroad and at home. I do think that social science can con­
tribute to a better understanding of what people mean when they say
that they are sick and tired. More difficult, but still not out of the range
of possibilities, is the ability of an inventive social science to discover
alternative agendas which may make people less “sick” if more agree­
ably and good-humoredly tired. It may even be that the exhausting
enterprise of sending men to the moon and the planets will tum out to
be a transitional vehicle for Federal and Confederate energies.

“”,——……..•..

..

The Nylon War
(1951)

Today-August I, 195 I-the Nylon War enters upon the,third month
since the United States began all-out bombing of the Soviet Union
with consumers’ goods, and it seems time to take a retrospective look.
Behind the initial raid of June I were years of secret and complex
preparations, and an idea of disarming simplicity: that if allowed to
sample the riches of America, the Russian people would not long tol­
erate masters who gave them tanks and spies instead of vacuum. cleaners
and beauty parlors. The Russian rulers would thereupon be forced to
tum out consumers’ goods, or face mass discontent on an increasing
scale. ,

The Nylon War was conceived by an army colonel-we shall call him
‘,’Y”-whose name cannot yet be revealed. Working ,with secret funds
which the Central Intelligence Ag~cy had found itself. pnabl~ to
spend, Y organized shortly after World War II the so-called “Bar
Harbor Project,” the nucleus of which, some five years later, became
“Operation Abundance,” or, as the press soon dubbed it, the “Nylon
War.” After experiments with rockets and balloons, it was. concluded
that only cargo planes-navigating, it was hoped, above the· range of
Russian radar-amId successfully deliver the many billion dollars’
worth of consumer goods it was, ,planned to send.; Nevertheless, when
Y ,and his group first broached’ their plans to a, few selected congres·
sionalleaders in the winter of·r948 they were dismissed ·as hopelessly
academic. America had neither the goods nor the planes nor the politics
to begin such an undertaking. But in the fall of 1950, with the country
bogged down in a seemingly endless small-scale war in Korea, Y’s hopes
revived. For one thing, the cargo planes needed for the job were be­
ginning to become available. Moreover, a certain amount of overorder­
ing by the armed services, panicky over Korea, had created a :stockpile
of consumer goodS. More important, the Administration, having locked
up all known and many suspected Communists in orie of the old camps

..

~3 ¥If 3-,L c.k %,C k$ V:W(,o ,'” }.ALk. JZ.L ;-~ i .JilL ¥’Wi),MA’!i*””i’** i ax . A 4#’;; 4$.;. Q) t ;u;: I mUSk, (MiG. ;u 4$ GAm .,4.3

48

awcohe01
Sticky Note
David Riesman, “The Nylon War” (1951) Reprinted in Abundance for What (New York: Doubleday, 1964).

68 1llE IMPAar OF nIB COLD WAR

for Japanese aliens, had still not convinced the country that it was suf·
ficiently anti-Soviet, though at the same time many Americans wanted
peace but did not dare admit it. A plan which, in fact and in presenta­
tion, took attention away from alleged Far Eastern bungling, and which
was both violently anti-Soviet and pro-peace, appeared to offer the pos­
sibility of restoring the Administration’s tottering position in the coun­
try. .

This is not the place to recount the political maneuverings that pre­
ceded Truman’s success in securing a two-billion-dollar initial appro­
priation from Congress, nor the Potomac maneuverings that led to the
recruitment of top-flight production and merchandising talent from ci­
vilian life. Our story begins with Truman going before Congress to se­
cure authority to “bring the benefits of American technology to less
fortunate nations” by round-the-clock bombing, the day after the news
of the first raids hit the American public.

The planners of the Bar Harbor Project had staked American pres­
tige, their professional futures, and the lives of six thousand airmen on
the belief that the Soviets would not know of these first flights nor meet
them with armed resistance. When the opening missions were accom­
plished without incident, permitting Truman to make his appeal, Wash~
ington was immensely relieved; but when the second wave of planes
met with no resistance either, Washington was bamed. It was at first
assumed that the Soviet radar network had again simply failed to spot
the high-Bying planes-cruising at 48,000 feet and self-protected from
radar by some still presumably secret device. We now know that what
actually happened was a division of opinion in the Kremlin-we can
piece the story together from intelligence reports and from clues in
Pravda. A faction, led by foreign-trade chief Mikoyan, maintained that
the scheme was a huge hoax, designed to stampede Russia into a cru­
sade against a fairy tale-and so to make her the laughing stock of the
world. He counseled, wait and see. And, indeed, it ‘Was a fairy tale for
secret-police boss Beria, who argued that the raids had never taken
place, but that reports of them had been faked by some Social Demo­
cratic East Germans who had somehow gotten access to the communi­
cations networks. When this idea was exploded, Beria counseled shoot­
ing the planes down, on the ground that they were simply a screen
spying out plants for an atomic attack. Stalin himself believed with
repentant economist Varga that American capitalism had reached so
critical a point that only through forcible gifts overseas could the Wall
Street ruling clique hope to maintain its profits and dominance. Cou­

nIB NYLON WAR 69

pled with these divisions of opinion, which stalemated action, was the
fear in some quarters· that America might welcome attacks on its er­
rand-of-mercy planes as a pretext for the war of extermination openly
preached by some only mildly rebuked American leaders.

At any rate, the confusion in the Politburo was more than mirrored
by the confusion in the target cities caused by the baptismal raids.
Over 600 C-

54

S streamed high over Rostov, and another· zoo over
Vladivostok, dropped their cargoes, and headed back to their bases in
the Middle East and Japan. By today’s standard these initial forays were
‘small-scale-zoo,ooo pairs of nylon hoSe, 4,000,000 packs of cigarettes,
35,000 Toni wave kits, 200,000 yo-yos, 10,000 wrist watches, and a num­
ber of odds and ends from PX overstock.· Yet this was more than enough
to provoke frenzied rioting as the inhabitants scrambled for a share.
Within a few hours after the first parcels had fallen, the roads into the
target cities were jammed. Roadblocks had to be thrown up around the
cities, and communications with the outside were severed. The fast­
spreading rumors of largesse from above were branded “criminally in­
sane,” and their source traced to machinations of the recently purged
”homeless cosmopolitan Simeon Osnavitch (Rosenblum).”

But the propaganda of the deed proved stronger than the propa­
ganda of the word. As Odessa, Yakutsk, Smolensk, and other cities be­
came targets of aggressive generosity, as Soviet housewives saw with
their own eyes American stoves, refrigerators, clothing, and toys, the
Kremlin was forced to change its line and, ignoring earlier denials, to
give the raids full but negative publicity. David Zaslavsky’s article in
the June 10 Izvestia heralded the new approach. Entitled ‘The Mad
Dogs of Imperialism Foam at the Mouth,” he saw the airlift as har­
binger of America’s economic collapse. “Unable because of the valiant
resistance of the peace-loving democracies to conquer foreign markets,
America’s Fascist plutocracy is now reduced to giving away goods. • . .”
Taking another line, Red Star argued that to accept American con­
sumer goods would make stalwart Russians as decadent as riell New
Yorkers.

However, the Russian people who could get access, either directly
or through the black market that soon arose, to American goods seemed
not to fear decadence. Again, there was a change of line. Falling back
on a trick learned during Lend-Lease, it was claimed ‘that the goods were
Russian-made, and Pravda on June 14 stated that the Toni wave kit
had been invented by Pavlov before World War I. However, Colonel Y’s
staff had anticipated this altogether routine reaction. On June 17, the

“,–,.jiJt..,!A ·4 & *’ ,*,.~ . __ K, $~:; .- MM;:+.. “.(gLI , t)$l t ,:z:::Ai. U 4 ;t.,;;’;;R..XZW,., ;;0 $.4! MN”” J4 £ itM .; .:;9< t ,M.",' .$,..£ 2" 3 4 W. ,$;q J,t

49

70 mE IMPACT OP mE COLD WAR

target cities of that day-Kiev, Stalingrad, Magnitogorsk-received their
wares wrapped in large cartoons of Stalin bending over, in a somewhat
undignified pose, to pick up a dropped Ansco camera. This forced still
another switch of line. On June 20, Beria went on the air to announce
that the Americans were sending over goods poisoned by atomic radia­
tion, and all papers and broadcasts carried scare stories about people
who had died from using Revlon or Schick shavers. And indeed booby
traps (planted by the MVD) succeeded in killing a number of over­
eager citizens. For a while, this permitted specially recruited Party mem­
bers to gather up the goods and take them to headquarters for alleged
deradiation.

But here something unexpected occurred. We know from a few peo­
ple who managed to escape to the West that a number of Party ele­
ments themselves because disaffected. Asked to tum in all American
goods, they held on to some possessions secretly-there was a brisk un­
derground trade in fake Russian labels. Sometimes wives, having gotten
used to the comforts of Tampax and other disappearing items, would
hide them from their more ascetic husbands; children of Party mem­
bers cached pogo sticks and even tricycles. Thus it came about that when
Party members were ordered to join “decontamination” squads the de­
pots were re-entered at night and portable items taken. By the begin­
ning of July, all attempts to deceive the people had only made matters
worse; things were getting out of hand.

Faring badly in the “war,” the Kremlin turned to diplomacy. On
July 5 at Lake Success, Malik described the airlift as “an outrage re­
mindful of Hitlerite aggression” and, invoking Article 39 of the UN
Charter, he called on the Security Council to halt the “shameful dep­
redations of the American warmongers.” Austin replied that “these gifts
are no more or less than a new-fashioned application of ancient prin­
ciples,” and the Russian resolution was defeated, 9-2. The next step
occurred in Washington, when Ambassador Panyushkin handed Secre­
tary Acheson a sharply worded note warning that “should these present
outrages continue, the U.S.S.R. will have no recourse but to reply in
kind.”

Seattle was the first American city to learn the meaning of the Soviet
warning as on July 15, a hundred Russian heavy bombers (presumably
from bases in the Kuriles) left behind them 15,000 tins of caviar, 500
fur coats, and 80,000 copies of Stalin’s speeches on the minorities ques­
tion. When the Russian planes came, followed in by American jets,
many were apprehensive, but as the counterattack had been anticipated

nIB NYLON WAR “71

it proved possible to prevent incidents in the air and panic, on the
ground. Since then, Butte, Minneapolis, Buffalo, and Moscow, Idaho,
have been added to the list of America’s front-line cities. But inquan­
tity and quality the counteroffensive has been. unimpressive. Searing
vodka, badly styled mink coats (the only really selling item), unde­
pendable cigarette lighters-these betray a sad lack of know-how in· pro­
duction and merchandising. In an editorial,”‘Worse than Lend-Lease,”
the New York Daily News has charged that the Nylon War gives the
Soviets free lessons in the secrets of America’s success, but truly con­
servative papers like the Herald-Tribune seethe comparative show­
ing of Americans and Russians as a world demonstration of the superi­
ority of free enterprise.

It is clear, at any rate, that free enterprise has not suffered much of
a jolt-nor, indeed, has the mounting inflation been much reduced-by
the Russian campaign. To be sure, the massive air-borne shipments of
caviar have made luxury grocers fear inventory losses, and Portugal,
heavily dependent on the American anchovy market; ,has been wamed.
But these pinpricks are nothing to what is now becoming evident on
the Russian side-namely the imminent collapse of the economy. For
the homeland of centralized economic planning is experiencing. its own
form of want in the midst of plenty. Soviet consumers, given· a free
choice between shoddy domestic merchandise and air-lift items, want
nothing to do with the former and in a score of fields Russian goods go
unwanted as the potential buyer dreams of soon owning an American
version. Soviet housewives, eager to keep up with American-supplied
“Joneses,” pester their local stores, often to the point of creating local
shortages-indeed, the American refrigerators have created demands,
not only for electricity, but also for many foods which can now be
stored (and hoarded).

Much of this disruption is the result of careful planning by the Bar
Harbor Project’s Division of Economic Dislocation. The Division, for
example, early began studies of Russian power distribution, and saw to
the landing of 60-cycle radios, shavers, toasters, milking machines, in
’60-cycle areas; 25-cycle appliances in 25-cycle areas, and so on, espe­
cially with an eye to areas of pbwer shortage or competition withcriti­
cal industries. In co-operation with GE, methods were worked out by
which the Russian donees could plug their appliances, with appro­
priate transformers, directly into high-voltage or street power lines;
thus simply shutting off house current could not save the Russian util­
ities from overload. Similarly, drawing on the American monopoliStiC

“”‘. …F.!’ 4’\. ;”””””f’)”.”J’l.,””””'”””‘,C” /,.-” i1$.,J “,-;Mi:PVt4q;;;A~. gW._3;,4~,A4iJ ·”AM 431. (P.;:;;;;;4,4-<4('44,- A p; ,t e.A ;;q;:,D.~ i44$,,@k.4iW4;.%

50

mailto:i44$,,@k.4iW4

7’2 mE IMPACT OF mB COLD WAR

practice of tie-in sales, goods were dropped whose use demanded other
items in short supply-oil ranges, for instance, were dropped through­
out the Baku fields. Of course, mistakes were made, and in one or two
cases bottlenecks in the Russian economy were relieved, as when some
containers were salvaged to repair a tin shortage of which the planners
had not been advised.

But it is not only on the production end that the raids have been
disruptive. Last Friday’s raid on Moscow-when 22,000 tons of goods

i~”_ were dropped-may be taken as an illustration. For the first time Gen­
eral Vandenberg’s airmen tackled-and successfully solved-the knotty

til·’
,1 engineering problem of dropping jeeps (complete with 150 gallons of

gasoline and directions in simple Russian). So skillfully was the job
done that half the three hundred vehicles parachuted down landed di­
rectly on the Kremlin’s doorstep-in the center of Red Square. The raid
was given wide advance publicity through the Voice and leaHets and
when the great day came Moscow’s factories were deserted as peo­
ple fought for roof-top perches; in addition, an estimated 250,000 col­
lective farmers swarmed into the city. In fact, as people drift from place
to place hoping that their ship may Hy in, the phrase “rootless cosmop­
olite” at last assumes real meaning. Economists, talking learnedly of
“multipliers,” calculate that Russian output is dropping 3 per cent a
month.

!i

il··

The Kremlin has reacted in the only way it knows, by a series of
purges. Serge Churnik, erstwhile head of the cigarette trust, is on trial
for “deliberate wrecking and economic treason.” Bureaucrats live in
terror lest their region or their industry be next disrupted by the Amer­
ican bombardment, and they waver between inactivity and frantic
Stakhanovite shows of activity. These human tragedies testify to the
growing fear in the Politburo concerning the long-run consequences of
the American offensive. The tangible proofs of American prosperity,
ingenuity, and generosity can no longer be gainsaid; and the new of­
ficialline that Wall Street is bleeding America white in order to create
scarcity and raise prices at home, while “believed,” has little impact
against the ever mounting volume, and fascinating variety, of goods and
rumors of goods. Can the capitalistic gluttons of privilege be such bad
fellows if we, the Russians, are aided by them to enjoy luxuries previ­
ously reserved for the dachas of novelists and plant managers? In an
article in New Statesman and Nation, Geoffrey Gorer has recently con­
tended that the airlift serves to revive primitive Russian “orality,” and
that the image of America can no longer be that of a leering Uncle Sam

THE ltYL0N WAR 73

or top-hatted banker but must soonbecom:e amiably matronly. It is
thoughts along this line that most worry the Politburo although” pf
course, the MVD sees to it that only a tiny fraction of the mounting
skepticism expresses itself openly or even in whispered jokes. But what
is the MVD to do about a resolution of the All-Workers Congress of
Tillis that “Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist democracy demands that party ca­
dres install officials who can cope with the mounting crisis~’?

Translated into plain talk, this means that the Russian people, with­
out saying SO in as many words, are now putting a price on their collab­
oration with the regime. The price-“goods instead of guns.” For
Russia’s industrial plant, harassed by the rapidly growing impact of
Operation Abundance, cannot supply both, let alone carry ~on the
counteroffensive against America. Intelligence reports speak of sched­
uled production cutbacks varying from 25 per cent on tanks to 75 per
cent on artillery; it is symptomatic that washing. machines, designed to
compete with the American Bendixes which are being dropped in ever
increasing numbers, will soon start rolling off the assembly lines ,of the
great Red October Tank Works-after its former manager had been shot
for asserting that conversion to peacetime production could not be
achieved in less than two years. ,

Meanwhile, diplomatic moves are under way-so,· at least, the Alsop
brothers report-to liquidate the Nylon War. It is obvious why the
Russian leaders are prepared to make very considerable .concessions in
the satellite countries, in China, and in Indo-China in orqer to regain
the strategic initiative in their domestic affairs. But on the American
side the willingness of many to listen to Russian Qvertures is based on
the success, rather than the failure, of the campaign. One sees a repeti­
tion of 1940 as the Washington Times-Herald and the Daily Compass
join hands in attacking Operation Abundance, the former calling it
“an international WPA,” the latter arguing “you can’t fight ideas with
goods.” Addressing the Stanford Alumni Club of Los Angeles, Herbert
Hoover spoke for millions in observing that the monthly cost of the air­
lift has already exceeded the entire federal budget for the year 1839.
Still another tack has been taken by senators who want the airlift to
continue, but with different targets; some, insisting that charity begins
at home, have wanted free goods landed on their districts; others have
supported the claims of Japan, the Philippines, or Franco. Still others
fear that many of the air-lift items could be reconverted in some way for
use by the Russian war machine; they are especially opposed to the
jeep delivery program, despite reports it is wreaking havoc with the

51

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Military-Industrial Complex Speech, 1961

My fellow Americans:

Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay
down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of
the Presidency is vested in my successor.

This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share
a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.

Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him,
Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.

Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on
issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the
Nation.

My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis
when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to
the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually
interdependent during these past eight years.

In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital
issues, cooperated well, to serve the national good rather than mere partisanship, and so
have assured that the business of the Nation should go forward. So, my official relationship
with the Congress ends in a feeling, on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so
much together.

II.

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major
wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these
holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation
in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America’s
leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches
and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and
human betterment.

III.

Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been
to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity
and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a
free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension
or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now
engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a
hostile ideology — global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in
method. Unhappily the danger is poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it
successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis,
but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the

53

burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle — with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we
remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and
human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great
or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could
become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements
of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a
dramatic expansion in basic and applied research — these and many other possibilities, each
possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need
to maintain balance in and among national programs — balance between the private and the
public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage — balance between the
clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements
as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between
actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance
and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government
have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of
stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.

I

V.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be
mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his
own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my
predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry.
American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But
now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been
compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this,
three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment.
We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States
corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is
new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is
felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize
the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave
implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of
our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted
influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for
the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or
democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable

54

citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of
defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper
together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military
posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized,
complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of,
the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task
forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university,
historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a
revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a
government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old
blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project
allocations, and the power of money is ever present

* and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must
also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the
captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other
forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward
the supreme goals of our free society.

V.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into
society’s future, we — you and I, and our government — must avoid the impulse to live only
for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of
tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the
loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all
generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

VI.

Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of
ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate,
and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the
conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral,
economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations,
cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative.
Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and
decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my
official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has

55

witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war — as one who knows that another war
could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over
thousands of years — I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate
goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never
cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

VII.

So — in this my last good night to you as your President — I thank you for the many
opportunities you have given me for public service in war and peace. I trust that in that
service you find some things worthy; as for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to
improve performance in the future.

You and I — my fellow citizens — need to be strong in our faith that all nations,
under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion
to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation’s great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America’s prayerful
and continuing aspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human
needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all
who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom
will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of
others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to
disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live
together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

56

Paul Robeson’s thoughts on receiving the Stalin Peace Prize, “Here’s My Story,”
Freedom, January 1953

We must join with the tens of millions all over the world who see in peace our most
sacred responsibility. Once we are joined together in the fight for peace we will have to talk
to each other and tell the truth about each other. How else can peace be won?

I have always insisted-and will insist, even more in the future on my right to tell the
truth as I know it about the Soviet peoples: of their deep desires and hopes for peace, of
their peaceful pursuits of reconstruction from the ravages of war,. as in historic Stalingrad;
and to tell of the heroic efforts of the friendly peoples in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary,
Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, great, new China and North Korea-to explain, to answer the
endless falsehoods of the warmongering press with clarity and courage.

In this framework we can make clear what co-existence means. It means living in
peace and friendship with another kind of society-a fully integrated society where the people
control their destinies, where poverty and illiteracy have been eliminated and where new
kinds of human beings develop in the framework of a new level of social living.

The telling of these truths is an important part of our work in building a strong and
broad peace movement in the United States.

Like any other people, like fathers, mothers, sons and daughters in every land, when
the issue of peace or war has been put squarely to the American people, they have registered
for peace. Whatever the confusions, however great the hysteria, millions voted for the
Stockholm petition, millions more wanted to. At every step the vast majority have expressed
horror at the idea of an aggressive war.

In fact, because of this deep desire for peace, the ruling class leaders of this land,
from 1945 on, stepped up the hysteria and propaganda to drive into American minds the
false notion that danger threatened them from the East. This propaganda began before the
blood of precious human beings stopped flowing in the mighty struggle against fascism.

I, myself, was in Europe in 1945, singing to the troops. And already one heard
rumblings of the necessity of America’s preparing for war against the Soviet Union, our
gallant ally. And at home in the United States we found continued and increased persecution,
first of leaders of the Communist Party, and then of all honest anti-fascists.

But the deep desire for peace remained with the American people. Wallace was
hailed by vast throngs when he resigned from Truman’s cabinet in protest against the war-
mongering of the then Secretary of State James Byrnes, now the Negro-hating governor of
South Carolina. Seven to eight million peace lovers put Wallace on the ballot in almost all of
the 48 states in 1948. The cry for peace forced Truman to take over (demogogically, of
course) the Progressive Party platform. In addition he hinted he would send Vinson, one of
his trusted lieutenants, to Moscow, to talk peace.

We know how Truman betrayed the American people in their hopes for peace, how
he betrayed the Negro people in their thirst for equal rights, how he tore up the Bill of
Rights and subjected the whole American people to a reign of FBI-terrorization.

The Korean war has always been an unpopular war among the American people. We
remember the unforgivable trickery in the use of the United Nations to further the purposes

57

of “American century” imperialists in that land-quite comparable to the taking of Texas
from Mexico, the rape of Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. At one point
American peace sentiment helped to stop Truman from pursuing use of the atom bomb in
Korea and helped force the recall of MacArthur.

Yet in 1952 the American people again allowed themselves to be taken in-this time
by Eisenhower. He, too, promised in the campaign to do all he could to end the Korean
slaughter. The vote shows that millions of American believed him. But already he has
betrayed their trust and moves as fast as possible toward an extension of the war. There are
real threats of attempting to support France on a major scale in Indo-China. All this comes
as no surprise if one looks at those who guide him-Dulles, one of the architects of the whole
Far Eastern policy; Dewey, the man so feared in 1948, and certainly unchanged, and the
whole array of American Big Business at its worst.

All these factors become increasingly clear to great sections of the American people
and certainly present a tremendous challenge to the peace forces in this land. If we move
swiftly, correctly, courageously, a mighty united front of the people can be built for peace.
The latent but growing sentiment can be harnessed, organized.

I am especially confident that the Negro people can be won for the fight for peace.
Having voted mainly for Stevenson, they have little to expect from Eisenhower, especially an
Eisenhower partly dependent upon the Dixiecrat South-sworn enemies of the Negro people.
We know that war would mean an end to our struggle for civil rights, FEPC, the right to
vote, an anti-lynching law, abolition of segregation.

And today the Negro people watch Africa and Asia and closely follow the liberation
struggles of the rising peoples in these lands. We watch the United Nations and see the
U.S.A. join with the western imperialist nations to stifle the liberation struggles. We cannot
help but see that it is Vishinsky and the spokesman of the Eastern European Peoples
Democracies who defend and vote for the interests of the African and Asian peoples.

I know that if the peace movement takes its message boldly to the Negro people a
powerful force can be secured in pursuit of the greatest goal of all mankind. And the same is
true of labor and the great democratic sections of our population.

Yes, peace can and must be won, to save the world from the terrible destruction of
World War III. The prize which I have just received will spur me on to greater efforts than
ever before to serve the cause of peace and to aid in building a triumphant peace movement
in the United States.

58

Founding Statement, Women Strike for Peace, 1961

We represent a resolute stand of women in the United States against the
unprecedented threat to life from nuclear holocaust. We’re women of all races, creeds, and
political persuasions who are dedicated to the achievement of general and complete
disarmament under effective international control. We cherish the right and accept the
responsibility of the individual in a democratic society to act and influence the course of
government. We demand of governments that nuclear weapons tests be banned forever,
that the arms race end, and that the world abolish all weapons of destruction under United
Nations safeguards. We urge immediate planning at local, state, and national levels for a
peacetime economy with freedom and justice for all. We urge our government to anticipate
world tensions and conflicts through constructive nonmilitary actions and through the
United Nations. We join with women throughout the world to challenge the right of any
nation or group of nations to hold the power of like or death over the world.

Reprinted in Harriet Sigerman, The Columbia Documentary History of American Women
Since 1941 (New York: Columbia UP, 2003), 139-140.

59

Expert paper writers are just a few clicks away

Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.

Calculate the price of your order

You will get a personal manager and a discount.
We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price:
$0.00