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Cold War effectively started in 1917 and not in 1945:  Similar reasons for dominating Third-World countries

The US historian John Lewis Gaddis analyzed declassified documents in the 70’s and recounted the causes of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union.  Gaddis confirmed, and Chomsky didn’t contradict, that the Cold War indeed started in 1917 and not during the Korean War in the early 50’s.

So far, no historian refuted the date of the origin of the Cold War or even the causes stated by Gaddis.

In 1917,  Tsarist Russia was considered by the western European nations and the USA as the first among the backward third world nations.  Russia was meant to export raw materials, to extend cheap workforce to industries and businesses invested in Russia, and to be an open vast market for the western colonial products.

After the revolution ended the reign of the Tsar in 1917, the Bolshevik communist party, headed by Lenin, managed to take over the revolution and uprooted the absolute Imperial regime in Russia and started reforming the society.

The “communist” revolution main goal was for Russia to become self-sufficient in all kinds of production and transforming Russia from a third country regime reserved to supplement the capitalist nations with raw materials and cheap work force into a productive socialist community, with fair and equitable laws regulating capital and workers/Capitalists relationship.

The Capitalist nations of USA and England quickly financed and armed an army called the “White Russian army” and launched the counter offensive against the Bolshevik revolution in 1918.

It was a very serious war that lasted four years with the disintegration of the “White Russian army”:  Poisonous gas used by the British in WWI were heavily abused on the “Red Army”.

The soldiers of the White Russian army fled to Turkey, Italy, France, USA, and mostly to Germany.

During this Russian civil war, the Bolshevik revolution countered by disseminating its success stories around the world, demonstrating the feasibility of moving forward toward a productive and socialist society.

Italy, Germany, France, and England were basically weakened after WWI and plagued by social unrest.   Germany was on its knees and the Freikorp soldiers were returning to Germany from the Russian front.

The communist parties in the western States were on the ascendance and fast becoming the main well-organized movement with an ideology that responded to the need of the impoverished populations.

Italy and Germany were ripe to fall into communism, and the US was next ripe after the financial crash of 1923.

Trotsky’s political line was to disseminate communism everywhere and encourage western communist parties to take power.

Pragmatic Stalin reasoned as follows: “If any communist party take over in one of these performing western nations, then capital and expert “know-how” will no longer be converging into Russia, a State still very much in need of everything, because the communists in the western nations will invest in improving their own people”.

The consequence would be that the center of gravity will shift to the west and Stalin will no longer be the main representative of communist movement.

The Stalin league forced Trotsky and his supporters to exile and sacrificed the western communist movement for juicy deals. 

The communists in Germany and Italy were decapitated by the fascist Mussolini and the Nazi in Germany.  The communists in Spain were ordered to split the socialist and left Republican alliance and then sold out to Franco.

As Germany was suffering from the heavy constraints imposed by the Versailles “Peace Treaty”, Germany found Russia of Stalin welcoming them in open arms.  Even before the advent of Nazism, Germany was training its army in Russia, operating military production industries, inventing new war planes and tanks, and conducting joint military training with the Russian army…

After 1950, the US strategy was “either you are with us or with the Soviet Union”.

The third world countries that backed the US were submitted to the same demands that Russia suffered before the fall of the Tsar monarchy:  Mainly, open liberal market, cheap manpower, and exploitation of raw materials for the benefit of the capitalist enterprises…  It is the same capitalist colonial way of doing business.

Note:  I read of the idea that the Cold War started in 1917 from the “Reflection on the university” by Noam Chomsky. The remaining of the reasoning in this article is mine.

Before WWII, if you were an American artist or writer you resided in Paris; you were a mathematician or doing graduate studies in physics you visited Germany; you were interested in philosophy your next stop is England.  That is what Noam Chomsky wrote in his small but packed book “Reflection on the university”.

The US was sort of lost hole, of what corresponded to the Midwest for the Eastern US citizens.  During the WWII, many European scientists and intellectuals fled Germany, Italy, and France to settle in the US.  The US society and intellectuals resented these eminently educated people and made their best not to extending the appropriate university posts to them.

Many highly qualified European intellectuals and scientists had to work as assistant or translator… There was an impression that Europeans had demonstrated decadence and volatility in their behavior due to successive murderous wars and political intransigence.  The US wanted to integrate these new comers in their business mentality, the American way of leading respectable life.  

For 20 years after WWII, it never crossed the mind of US Administrations and strategic planners to consult with European States:  It was not proper to ask counsel to unstable, emotive, and not serious partners.   The decisions were taken and later shared:  If the European agreed it was fine.  The US intended all along to going solo anyway.

At the end of WWII, the US produced 50% of the world wealth and its navy and armies were spread on every sea and ocean and on almost every land  on the world map. During the Cuba missile crisis in 1962, the Kennedy Administration refused to consult with the European governments: This was the main cause for thewrath of France President Charles De Gaulle who decided to take the drastic decision to imposing France independence from US plans and programs.

Nothing changed in the US attitudes even in the 90’s:  Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright during Bill Clinton, told the UN assembly that the US had huge interests in Iraq and will act unilaterally if the US policies do not please the UN members.  

When the International Court, in 1986, condemned the US for “illegal usage of force” against the people in Nicaragua the general attitude was of totally despising the court ruling:  Crimes against human rights of the UN Charters could not be applicable to the US, the sole superpower State.

Chomsky reminisces that at the end of the 40’s, US universities refused to teach the “history” of any discipline.  Whatever was worth learning started in the US:  It never crossed their mind that the European scientists and intellectuals have resolved most of the problems and established many disciplines centuries ago.  

Many US graduate students were shocked that their thesis were already analyzed and resolved centuries ago.  If you wanted to read European works you had to visit Harvard’s Widener library.

Aside from US arrogance of considering anything not originating in the US as a waste of time and effort to study, the 40’s witnessed huge progress in technological advances such as in electronics, mass computing, theory of communication, integration of natural sciences in general laws (sort of unifying physics, chemistry, and biology).

It was at that period that Skinner behaviorist theory spread in the social disciplines:  All studies had to be operational and realistic.  For most of the 50’s and early 60’s, the US people had no idea what was happening in South Vietnam, although dailies didn’t mention the news on the first pages.  As long as napalm destroyed one hospital, it is was not a big deal ethically.

For example, the slaughter that the British colonialists in Kenya (1952-59) submitted the Kenyans during the “Mau Mau” uprising was not even known: These activities drew blank stares from the US citizens; at best, Kenya is a scarcely populated region, not as dense as Hungary.  

When hundreds of atrocities committed by the US army in Vietnam made the news every day, it started to dawn on the US people that what was taking place was an immoral invasion and crimes against humanity.

For example, the incursions of the Soviet Union of Hungary in 1956 and of Czechoslovakia in 1968 were considered invasions, the wars of the US in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama…were legitimate preemptive wars, as would the invasion of Iraq in 2003.




March 2023

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