The Lost Peace: Leadership in a Time of Horror and Hope, 1945-1953

The Lost Peace: Leadership in a Time of Horror and Hope, 1945-1953

Robert Dallek

Language: English

Pages: 307

ISBN: 0061628662

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"Robert Dallek brings to this majestic work a profound understanding of history, a deep engagement in foreign policy, and a lifetime of studying leadership. The story of what went wrong during the postwar period…has never been more intelligently explored." —Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Team of Rivals

Robert Dalleck follows his bestselling Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power and An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 with this masterful account of the crucial period that shaped the postwar world. As the Obama Administration struggles to define its strategy for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Dallek's critical and compelling look at Truman, Churchill, Stalin, and other world leaders in the wake of World War II not only offers important historical perspective but provides timely insight on America's course into the future.

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expressed confidence that a Wilsonian world of self-determination and peaceful cooperation would emerge from the war. As for Stalin, he “got along fine with Marshal Stalin…. I believe that we are going to get along very well with him and the Russian people—very well indeed.” At a press conference, when a reporter asked for the president’s personal impressions of Stalin, he replied, “We had many excellent talks,” and predicted “excellent relations in the future.” When another journalist asked

apparently there for the taking with China’s Communists. As later events would demonstrate, Moscow and Peking were incompatible allies. Each considered the other a threat to its national security and independence. U.S. accommodation with China in the late 1940s, whether with a coalition government or a victorious Communist regime, could have put pressure on the Soviet Union and changed the early direction of the Cold War. But Americans on the ground in Moscow and at the White House could not

outside competitors for international power or consideration of the possibility that the West was ready to live in a world divided between capitalist and socialist camps. In this oversimplified formulation, capitalists were unalterable enemies of socialism and Stalin’s rule of a Soviet state. Stalin trusted no one at home or abroad: allies—domestic or foreign—were nothing more than temporary collaborators who were all too ready to exploit any weakness they detected in his and Soviet behavior. In

the press, and elections, as did other undemocratic governments in Latin America. The distinguishing feature that made all the difference in winning U.S. acceptance was anticommunism. Had China’s Communists made their resistance to Soviet domination overt, might it have created greater sympathy for their revolution and potential government? Probably not: the right in America undoubtedly would have rejected professions of Chinese Communist tensions with Moscow as a deception. By 1947,

great empire and little minds go ill together. —Edmund Burke How good bad music and bad reasons sound when we march against an enemy. —Friedrich Nietzsche By the middle of 1947, an East-West struggle for what each saw as the survival of their respective economic, political, and social systems was in full motion. Both sides described themselves as defending against the other’s aggression. The Soviets were convinced that the United States was determined to destroy communism, but not

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