A Conversation for We Didn't Start the Fire - Project in Planning
FordsTowel Started conversation Mar 19, 2004
While I'm not sure exactly what Billy had in mind, here are some possibilities:
The Communist bloc was world headline news in 1953, a pivotal time for the rest of the world, and its relations with Communist bloc.
The Cold War had peaked from 1948 through 1953, and the post World War II Soviets made clear their intent to expand their influence. The United States and its European allies had formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a collaborative military command to resist these efforts, the same year (1949) as the Soviets tested their first atomic warhead, and the Chinese communists came to power in their country.
Much of the relaxation of tensions that occurred in 1953 could be attributed to the death of Joseph Stalin, successor of Lenin, long-time Soviet dictator, and leading socialist. Stalin’s death raised hopes that the competition for supremacy between the two superpowers would end as the world became more and more aware of ever increasing possibility of the extinction of all life on earth should disarmament efforts (precursor to the 1970s’ Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) fail.
Also in 1953, former official of the Communist Part in America – Mr. Manning Johnson – gave testimony in a hearing held by the House of Representatives Un-American Activities Committee stating that, ‘the communists discovered that the destruction of religion could proceed much faster through the infiltration of the Church by communists operating within the Church itself’, a statement that was corroborated by Albert Vassart of the French Communist Party, in 1955 when he revealed a Moscow directive initiated in 1936. Catholic philosopher and writer Dietrich von Hildebrand claimed that the French Dominicans had become so infiltrated that in 1953 the Order barely escaped dissolution (by the order of Pope Pius XII).
It is interesting to note that a similar technique of infiltration by association worked through the Mikhail Gorbachev Glasnost and Perestroika policies to increase East-West contact and Soviet liberalization – which was instrumental in the disintegration of the USSR.
1953 again, was the year that the Korean conflict ended in an armistice at Panmunjon, on July 17. The conflict had become a fight between two superpowers. By late 1952 the Korean War had claimed more than 50,000 American lives. (3 million lives, overall, had been lost.). Although the Korean war ended, the Communist bloc gained North Korea, as it adopted both a Marxist-Leninist political system and a Stalinist economic system. The West gained South Korea, with its move toward a Democratic model.
In 1948, while the United States had an atomic bomb monopoly, Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, "We ought not to wait until Russia is ready”, and suggested, "bringing matters to a head." Churchill pointed to Russia’s extreme aggressiveness and suggested imagining what would happen "when they get the atomic bomb and have accumulated a large store."
In 1953, the U.S. conducted a major study of the likely consequences of an atomic war with Russia. The study predicted that most of their European allies would retreat into neutrality; that the war would cost ten million American lives; that it would last for ten years; and that America would win the war.
It is thought that the Communists must have studied the possibility and generally agreed with this analysis. Eisenhower told them his intentions and they quickly changed their position and agreed to an armistice on July 27, 1953. On the other hand, two people who had worked on the development of the atomic bomb were convicted of passing information to the Soviets, and were executed in 1953.
The Korean war had a crippling effect on the 1953 Chinese economy because of their heavy investment in the Korean conflict; so, the Chinese Government introduced the first ‘Five Year Plan’, with an emphasis on capital construction and heavy industry. Britain and the United States disagreed on Beijing’s intentions and capabilities. American focus on the prisoner of war issue in the spring of 1953 threatened the prospects of an armistice in Korea.
The Korean War and McCarthyism fueled the US policy of political isolation, economic embargo, military containment, and nuclear pressure. Britain sought to remain on good terms with the Communist Chinese Government as they held substantial interests in China.
U.S. President Eisenhower and his Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, were very keen to bring the war to a close, but at terms that were acceptable to the West. They were ready to introduce harsh measures against the Communists, including nuclear threats. in April 1953, Dulles told Eisenhower’s assistant, Emmet John Hughes, “I don’t think we can get much out of a Korean settlement until we have shown - before all Asia - our clear superiority by giving the Chinese one hell of a licking.”
And so, the United States made a decision in February 1953, to de-neutralize the Formosan Straits. This effectively increased political pressure on Mao Tse Tung, and opened the way for Chiang Kai-shek’s forces to attack the Chinese mainland. Apparently, the Chinese Government took all these threats seriously. Also desperate to reach a peace settlement for economic and financial reasons, Chine supported the armistice.
All in all, an unusual and fateful year for the Communist bloc.
Mu Beta Posted Mar 19, 2004
FordsTowel Posted Mar 19, 2004
Ah, then perhaps you'll enjoy this?
Menachem Begin, another refugee who has reached success. Born August 16, 1913, he fled his birthplace of Brest-Litovsk, Poland with his poor Zionist family during World War I, to escape fighting between the German and Russian armies. His early passion for Zionism led him to join first a scout organization, and then the Betar Chechoslovakian youth movement where by 1936, he was in charge of the organization.
He was imprisoned in 1937 for leading a demonstration, protesting British policies in Palestine. By 1938 he became the head of Betar Poland with over 100,000 members engaged in weapons training. Their goal was to defense of Polish Jews, aiding immigrants to Israel, agricultural training, and communications.
Menachem Begin married, in 1939, to Aliza Arnold, whose father was the head of the Revisionist party in Drohovitz. They would have three children, Ze'ev Binyamin, Hassia and Leah.
When World War II broke out, Begin was arrested and imprisoned in Siberian labor camps by Josef Stalin's NKVD, and released in 1941 under the terms of the Stalin-Sikorski agreement due to his Polish citizenship. He then joined the Free Polish Army and was transferred to the Middle East, and in 1943 made its way to British controlled Palestine for training.
After demobilization, in 1943, he contacted the dormant Jewish underground organization Irgun Zvati Leumi (National Military Organization), known by the initials of its Hebrew name as "Etzel". The group began planning an uprising against the British from 1944 to late 1947. Begin ordered many of the Irgun's operations, including the Akko prison breakout and the destruction of the central British administrative offices in the King David Hotel.
At one time, he Palestine Government offered a reward of £ 10,000 for information leading to his arrest, yet he evaded capture by living in disguise in Tel Aviv.
In 1947, he met in secret with several members of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine as well as the foreign press, to explain the outlook of his movement. Following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Begin disbanded the organization.
Begin then founded the Herut Movement with his colleagues, and headed the party's list of candidates for the Knesset, and led the movement against accepting German reparations for the Nazi Holocaust
In 1965, Begin‘s Herut Party merged with the Liberals, to form Gahal, which later became the Likud Party. 1967 saw the establishment of a National Unity Government, which brought Begin to the Cabinet table. He served as Minister without Portfolio until August 4, 1970.
Begin insisted that Israel place conditions on Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser's extension of a cease-fire, on the signing of a peace treaty recognizing Israel.On June 20, 1977, Mr. Menachem Begin, head of the Likud party - after having won the Knesset elections (17 May 1977) - presented the new Government to the Knesset and became Prime Minister of Israel. As Premier, he helped initiate the peace process with Egypt’s Sadat, and President Jimmy Carter, which resulted in the Camp David Accords and the 1979 IsraelEgypt Peace Treaty.
Begin made heavy investments of national resources as Prime Minister, to develop Israel's poorer neighborhoods, and he sought to liberalize Israel's economy.
He ordered the Israeli Air Force bombing of the Iraqi Osizrak nuclear reactor, in 1981. The regime was developing a nuclear weapons program there, with hampered Baghdad’s attempts to acquire nuclear weapons; though the actions were condemned at the time by the international community.
In 1982 he initiated operations to remove terrorist threats from Israel’s northern border. He also encouraged Ethiopian Jews to immigrate to Israel, bringing thousands, in Operation Moses.
He wrote two books; ‘White Nights’, about his wartime experiences; and ‘The Revolt’, which has been translated into other languages.
Menachem Begin announced his retirement on September 15, 1983, and went into seclusion without offering any further explanation. He died, March 9, 1992.
Mu Beta Posted Mar 20, 2004
If you want to be done, I'm sure it can be arranged...
FordsTowel Posted Mar 21, 2004
So nice of you to offer, but we've just met.
Perhaps we should take one step at a time?
Meanwhile, were those the last two pieces to your puzzle? Will you be able to complete your project with the information you've received and remaining entries you have dished out?
Mu Beta Posted Mar 21, 2004
Well not quite 'complete'.
By my reckoning there are still about 20 entries that we are waiting for.
FordsTowel Posted Mar 21, 2004
Key: Complain about this post