«Tragedy and Hope A History of the World in Our Time By Carroll Quigley Volumes 1-8 New York: The Macmillan Company 1966 Tragedy and Hope, A History ...»
The energetic lobbying of this group of atomic scientists had a considerable influence on subsequent atomic history. When the "official scientists," late in 1945, supported the administration's May-Johnson bill, which would have shared domestic control of atomic matters with the armed services, the BAS group mobilized public opinion behind the junior senator from Connecticut, Brian McMahon, and pushed through the McMahon bill to presidential signature in August 1946. The McMahon bill set up an Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) of five full-time civilian commissioners, named by the President, with David Lilienthal, former TVA czar, as chairman. This commission, from August 1946, had ownership and control of all fissionable materials (uranium and thorium) from the mine to the final disposal of atomic wastes, including
control of all plants and process patents, with the right to license private nuclear enterprises free of danger to society.
The AEC as it functioned was a disappointment to the BAS scientists. They had sought freedom from military influence and reduced emphasis on the military uses of nuclear fission, free dissemination of theoretical research, and a diminution of the influence of the official scientists.
They failed on all these points, as the AEC operated largely in terms of weapons research and production, remained extravagantly secretive even on purely theoretical matters, and was, because of the scientific ignorance of most of the commissioners, inevitably dominated by its scientific advisory committee of "official" scientists led by Oppenheimer.
To the BAS group and to a wider circle of non-scientists, the AEC was a more or less temporary organization within the United States, whose work would be taken over eventually by a somewhat similar international organization. As a first step in this direction, the United Nations, at the suggestion of Bush and Conant and on the joint invitation of three heads of English-speaking governments (President Truman, Prime Minister Attlee, and Prime Minister Mackenzie King of Canada), set up a United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC) of all members of the Security Council plus Canada (January 1946). A State Department committee led by Undersecretary Dean Acheson and David Lilienthal and a second committee of citizens led by Bernard Baruch spent much of 1946 in the monstrous task of trying to work out some system of international control of nuclear energy. The task of educating the non-scientists generally fell on Oppenheimer, who gave dozens of his brilliant, extemporaneous, chalk-dusted lectures on nuclear physics The final plan, presented to the UN by Baruch on June 14, 1946, provided an international control body similar to the AEC. It would own, control, or license all uranium from the mine through processing and use, with operation of its own nuclear facilities throughout the world, inspection of all other such facilities, absolute prohibition of nuclear bombs or diversion of nuclear materials to non-peaceful purposes, and punishment for evasion or violation of its regulations free from the Great Power veto which normally operated in the Security Council of UN. The vital point in Baruch's plan was that it would go into effect by stages so that inspection and monopoly of nuclear materials would be operative before the American atomic plants were handed over to the new international agency and before the American stockpile of nuclear bombs was dismantled.
This extraordinary offer, an offer to give up the American nuclear monopoly, technical secrets, and weapons to an international agency, in return for a possibly ineffective system of international inspection, was brusquely rejected by Andrei Gromyko on behalf of the Soviet Union within five days. The Soviet spokesman demanded instead a reverse sequence of stages covering (1) immediate outlawing and destruction of all nuclear weapons, with prohibition of their manufacture, possession, or use; (2) a subsequent agreement for exchange of information, peaceful use of atomic energy, and enforcement of regulations; and (3) no tampering whatever with the Great Power veto in the UN.
Since only the United States had the atom bomb at the time, the adoption of this sequence could require the United States to give up the bomb without any assurance that anyone else would do anything, least of all adopt any subsequent control methods, methods which might allow the Soviet Union to make its own bombs in secret after the United States had destroyed its in public. The nature of this Soviet suggestion shows clearly that the Soviet Union had no real desire for international control, probably because it was unwilling to open the secret life of the Soviet Union, including bomb-making, to international inspection.
The Soviet refusal of the American efforts at international nuclear control, like their refusal of American loans and economic cooperation, provides some of the evidence of the Kremlin's state of
mind in 1946. This evidence became overwhelming in 1947 and 1948, when Soviet aggression appeared along the whole crescent from Germany, across Asia, to the Far East.
In Germany, as we have seen, the area under Soviet occupation was increasingly isolated from the West and increasingly communized internally. The Soviet military forces encouraged the formation of a dominant German Socialist Unity Party (SED) under Communist control. Local provincial elections in the winter of 1946-1947 gave victory to the SED in the Soviet zone and to democratic parties, the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, in the provinces of the three Western zones.
Austria was also divided into four areas of military occupation, except that it had a single central government of its own under the old Social Democrat leader, Karl Renner, who had also been chancellor in 1919. While the Anglo-Americans supported the Austrians against starvation by the use of UNRRA assistance, the Soviet zone was systematically ransacked. This destroyed all Communist influence in the country, as was clear when the election of November 1945, reduced them to four seats in an assembly of 165 members. Only in May 1955, two years after Stalin's death, was it possible to get Soviet consent to a peace treaty and withdrawal of all four occupying forces (October 1955).
Even the friends of Russia suffered from Stalin's pressure and his insistence that the Kremlin must remain the center for Communist decisions throughout the world. In Yugoslavia, where Tito was originally as anti-Western as Stalin himself, Moscow's efforts to dominate Yugoslavia alienated Tito completely by a combination of economic, diplomatic, and propaganda pressure. The rivalry between the two Slavs came to a head at the end of 1947 when Tito tried to build up a non-Russian Communist bloc by signing friendship treaties with Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania. By March 1948, a complete break between Belgrade and Moscow was reached. Tito took his place next to Trotsky in Stalin's list of the damned, and the next few years were filled with efforts to overthrow Tito, and the purging of Tito sympathizers by Stalin's cooperative jackals in the other Communist satellites.
Farther east, strong Soviet pressure had been put on Greece, Turkey, and Iran since 1945. On Greece this pressure came through the Communist regimes in Albania, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria, but in Turkey and Iran it came from the Soviet Union directly. These pressures were probably designed to bring into power in the three countries governments relatively favorably inclined toward the Soviet Union to the extent that the latter could obtain a veto power over any collaboration of the three with the Western Powers, especially with Great Britain. This was an effort in which Stalin had few good cards and which showed his ignorance of political conditions in
countries outside his own. In these three, as in other countries, most people desired two things:
political independence and economic aid. Neither of these could be or would be obtainable from Stalin, the first because it violated his imperious nature and the second because of economic scarcity in the Soviet Union itself.
Nevertheless, the effort was made. In Greece the election of March 31, 1946 gave the Popular Party (which supported the king) 231 out of 354 seats in the Chamber. The following September a plebiscite on the return of the monarchy gave 69 percent favorable votes. The Communist groups refused to accept these results and by 1946 were carrying on guerrilla warfare in the mountains, using the three adjacent Communist states as bases for supplies, training, and rest areas. A commission of the Security Council of the UN studied the situation in the early months of 1947 and condemned Greece's three northern neighbors, but a Soviet veto stopped any further action by the UN.
- 653 Tragedy and Hope, A History of the World in Our Time Instead, the guerrilla leader "General Markos" set up a Greek Provisional government in the mountains, but alienated much support among Greece's impoverished peasants by the banditry of his guerrillas and especially by their kidnaping of thousands of peasant children who were smuggled into the three Communist countries for Communist indoctrination. Many of these children did not return for eight or ten years, and hundreds vanished forever. Large groups returned from Albania as late as 1963.
The Soviet pressure on Turkey was uncalled for and totally unremunerative. We have already noted that the Soviet-German accords of 1940 1941 showed Soviet ambitions for bases "on the Bosporus and the Dardanelles" and for a sphere of political influence "south of Batum and Baku in the general direction of the Persian Gulf." Thus in this area, as in the Far East, Stalin resumed the expansionist aims of czarist Russia. At Potsdam, Stalin had looked even farther afield by asking for a trusteeship in the former Italian colony of Libya and a less definite influence in Eritrea on the western shore of the Red Sea. These aims were formally demanded by Moscow in September 1945 and in April 1946 (Conference of Foreign Ministers in Paris).
As early as March 19, 1945, Russia denounced its treaty of friendship with Turkey and within a few months made demands, both official and unofficial, for Kars, Trebizond, and other areas of northeastern Turkey. Anti-Turkish agitation was encouraged among the Kurds (a non-Turkish people living at the base of the Anatolian peninsula and divided among Turkey, Iran, and Iraq), and the Georgia Socialist Soviet Republic demanded eight Turkish provinces covering much of the Black Sea coast and Kurdistan. On August 8, 1946, Molotov demanded a joint Soviet-Turkish defense of the Straits. Only after Stalin's death, on May 3o, 1953, did the Kremlin renounce the earlier territorial demands on Turkey, but by that time the alienation was complete: Turkey had been driven into the Western camp, soon allied with Greece and Yugoslavia in a defensive alignment against the north Balkan Soviet satellites (August 1954), and became the eastern pillar of NATO.
The Soviet aggressions on Iran began in 1945 when Soviet-sponsored Communists, under the protection of the Russian armies occupying northern Iran, set up "independent" Communist governments at Tabriz and in Iranian Kurdistan. These were apparently intended to be incorporated into Soviet Azerbaidzhan with the Kurdish areas to be taken from Turkey, but the failure of the latter scheme made this impossible. Nevertheless, the Russian Army refused to evacuate northern Iran in March 1946, as it was bound to do by the agreement of January 29, 1941, which had admitted it. Only in May did Iran win Soviet evacuation of its forces by agreeing to form a joint Soviet-Iranian oil company to exploit the petroleum resources of northern Iran (a project which never was fulfilled).
By the end of 1946 Britain found the burden of providing military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey too heavy for its over-strained resources. It was, moreover, eager to overcome the American aloofness in the Near East, where it felt it was bearing much of the Soviet pressure alone.
Accordingly, in February 1947, it threatened to withdraw completely from Greece and Turkey by April 1st. On March 12th the American President enunciated the "Truman Doctrine" to a joint session of Congress. This stated that "it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation hy armed minorities or by outside pressures." He asked for financial assistance to "free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way."
His request for $400 million for aid to Greece and Turkey was granted, after considerable debate, in May 1947. Two weeks later, at Harvard's commencement, Secretary of State General George C.
Marshall enunciated the "Marshall Plan," which offered American economic support for a European Recovery Program which would include the Soviet Union and other Communist states. Once again
Stalin's ignorance committed him to an unrewarding path. He rejected this offer, and forced Czechoslovakia, which had previously accepted, to do the same.
The path Stalin was following took a more aggressive turn in 1947 and 1948. This involved complete Soviet domination of the area already under Communist control, the shift of Communist parties from coalition to opposition in other areas, the instigation of Communist outbreaks in "colonial" areas (especially in the Far East), and the expulsion of the Western Powers from their enclave in Berlin. All this was to be achieved while avoiding an open clash with the United States.
As part of this process, which was badly bungled everywhere except in Czechoslovakia, the Communists withdrew from the "bourgeois" coalition governments which they had joined in 1944in Belgium in March 1947, in France and Italy in May, and in Austria in the autumn. At the same time, agitation from Communist-dominated trade unions was increased, and the first postwar large-scale strikes began at the end of the year. As part of this same harassment, the Soviet Union in the UN vetoed applications for membership by Italy and Finland.