The Cold Doctor “MacCarthury”
“With great power, comes great responsibility.” A statement made over and over in current movies and TV, but I remember it best from “Spiderman” with Toby McGuire, who I despise as an actor. This statement was the motto of the Truman Doctrine, which began the Cold War, the manifestation of the growing tensions between a Soviet East and an American West.
With this new power, we had created in the Atomic Bomb, we were now obligated to tell the rest of the world how they should live and think, “freely”. After the Long Telegram came in from the US ambassador in the USSR, telling of the horrors of the communist’s manifesto to spread itself to all the world through force if necessary, the already growing tension between these nations, which had sprung from the agreements at the Potsdam conference, exploded. Or not. For fear of the bomb was on everyone’s minds. No one wanted to see the world erased from existence, though both countries sought fervently to build enough arms to do so. This fear kept an outright battle between the United States and the Soviets from erupting, but they fought in more subtle ways instead.
After the Berlin Blockade, where American planes had to drop supplies to their portion of the city for almost a year, Truman and other leaders of Europe formed NATO to contain communisms spread in Europe. The Potsdam conference had only help to lead to the current state of affairs, not resolving any of the looming issues. In 1945, the UN Charter had been signed in San Francisco by both sides of this Cold War, outlawing the use of force in settling international disputes. No one remembered that agreement however, when war broke out in Korea and American troops fought Soviets, Chinese, and Koreans, for freedom. The Iron Curtain had descended upon the world, and American policy began to see terms in good vs. evil.
The language used in WWII lead to many of these policies coming to fruition. The Communist ideal simply took the place of the Nazi. Americans had to fight for “Freedom”. The commercials for the boxing match between the US and the USSR had begun, but there was no time or place set for this battle of world titans. McCarthy attempted to bring the Cold War to a head with his instigation and “anti-red” movement in America, which persecuted many artists and innocents, while MacArthur insisted on an atomic invasion of China. Cooler heads prevailed, however, and we spent the better part of a century fearing the country who now is our country’s leader’s greatest friend. No wonder we fear again today.