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From: Lloyd Gardner <email@example.com> John Gaddis has posed the question (in terms of the origins of the Cold War): Why did the European masses -- not elites -- deny the Soviet Union any possibility of an "empire by invitation," while extending such an opportunity to the Americans? The formulations: empire by invitation, defensive empire, etc., have become popular constructs of post-revisionism -- although I confess I had not seen before that the European masses were deeply involved in these appeals. Would that also hold true, say, for the Vietnamese in 1945 on the other side of the world? Ho invited us in, but as a counterforce to the French, a role we declined to play. And perhaps that tells us something about the theoretical problem of an "empire by invitation." Talking about "empire by invitation" is tricky. It is like holding a mirror up to a mirage. One supposes that the term is meant to imply volition on the part of both parties involved -- or at least a significant degree of choice. And yet the choices made by Europeans at the end of the war (leaving aside for a moment those peoples living outside that continent) were circumscribed in a number of ways, regardless of what side of the Yalta line they lived on. There was obviously war damage to institutions, but also to ideas. There was the threat that prewar economic conditions would return, and with them the bitter left\right political struggles. There was the danger that the superpowers would make mis-steps and plunge Europe into darkness once again -- this time perhaps permanently. That the Russian glacis was nearby and America, with greater economic resources was farther away, made it considerably easier for Bevin to argue for a "spiritual union" of the West, a.k.a. NATO. But as Acheson said before SFR Committee, "it works both ways." And so, diehards like DeGaulle and his followers had to bide their time. The range of choice in the West was obviously greater. Unlike Eastern Europe, democratic traditions had a strong foothold in more places even after the trials of depression and war. But the outcome there was not really predetermined. And that was what the TOLSTOY conference in 1944 and Yalta were really all about. How to give the world some breathing space, so that the after-shocks of WWII could be absorbed and overcome. Russia had no benevolent purposes to speak of in pursuing these agreements, but neither did it have a master plan for world conquest. "Our fathers fought in World War II to extinguish nationalism," historian Robert Darnton writes in the March 27th issue of the NYR, "not to unleash it." Darnton's purpose is to reclaim the Enlightenment from the distortions of (post)modern criticism, but he might just as easily have been writing about the Big Three in World War II. We had a part in the creation of the Evil Empire in a variety of ways, from the reparations settlement at Potsdam to the abandonment of Czechoslovakia. (Perhaps only in Finland was there a clear choice -- but that too is debatable.) As late as the "infamous" Sonnenfeldt Doctrine, American policymakers can be seen bemoaning the failure of the Soviets to succeed in establishing an organic unity with their satellites in Eastern Europe. In 1953, in 1956, in 1968, we contented ourselves with moral condemnation of Soviet behavior. And, as I mentioned in my last posting, at the Foreign Ministers Conference in 1949, Dean Acheson schooled John Foster Dulles on the need to keep down popular discontent by encouraging intra-German trade. A lesson Dulles learned well when he noted that the Austrian state treaty was going to cause the Soviets serious problems throughout Eastern Europe. Now, of course, the intelligence agencies did what they could to make life miserable on the other side, but these were deeds of derring-do, not policy. So a different formulation of the origins of the Cold War would have two empires, each counter-revolutionary by inclination, attempting to work out a modus operandi. One of the problems was that eventually their clients states kept calling upon them for aid in dubious battles, e.g., the French in Vietnam, Castro in Cuba. But these were latter day developments. The Cold War might have had a very different ending if it had stayed only in Europe. But that was not to be. The Chinese Revolution, the agonies of decolonization, etc., all made that impossible. Now, finally, the question of empire presupposes a metropole and surrounding areas. The distribution of benefits depends upon several things: the resources of the metropole, the need for secure boundaries, the cultural affinity of metropole and client, and the degree of flexibility of its leadership, plus others you may want to add. In each of these categories, save perhaps (?) the third, the American Empire was far more able to serve the needs of its clients. That being the case, the harsher the rule in the Evil Empire became. Coming back to the comparison between East and West, if we extend that comparison to include areas outside of Europe, the problem becomes both more complicated and yet clearer. In creating the American Empire, the degree of persuasion in Europe was confined largely to the terms of the Anglo-American Loan in 1945, which really set the rules as to how far the British could go to socialize their empire or return to imperial preference. (Note the dissents of Thomas Balogh on the left and L.S. Amery on the right). Holding Britain after Labour's victory in 1945 was a very important task. (And, yes, the trans-national affinities at both the elite and commoner level were crucially important). When it comes to other areas, for example, Korea and Indochina, the degree of coercion is quite different. But these are subjects for a later discussion. Lloyd Gardner, Rutgers University. Voice Phone 19089327820/FAX 16092755574 email, firstname.lastname@example.org -------------------------------------------------------- --Public reply to list: email@example.com --Private reply to sender: See e-mail address under "From" at top of message --To unsubscribe send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org with UNSUB H-DIPLO as the only text in the body of your message --To temporarily suspend your account: send e-mail to email@example.com with SET H-DIPLO NOMAIL as the only text in the body of your message. 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