The cuban revolution

On July 26 a movement seized power in January 1959, toppling President Fulgencio Batista, whose unpopular regime had been denied arms by the Eisenhower administration.

Diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States continued for some time after Batista’s fall, but President Eisenhower deliberately left the capital to avoid meeting Cuba’s young revolutionary leader Fidel Castro during the latter’s trip to Washington in April, leaving Vice President Richard Nixon to conduct the meeting in his place. Cuba began negotiating arms purchases from Eastern Europe in March 1960.

In January 1961, just prior to leaving office, Eisenhower formally severed relations with the Cuban government.

In April 1961, the administration of newly elected American President John F. Kennedy mounted an unsuccessful CIA-organized ship-borne invasion of the island at Playa Girón and Playa Larga in Las Villas Province a failure that publicly humiliated the United States. Castro responded by publicly embracing Marxism–Leninism, and the Soviet Union pledged to provide further support.

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The Middle East during the Cold War: Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Iran, Irak and Kuwait.

Egypt :

The Soviets began a thrust in midyear 1970 that deepened their military involvement in Egypt. According to Rodman, they did this by “flying combat air patrols over the Suez Canal and manning the missile batteries against Israeli planes” in the Egyptian-Israeli War of Attrition.

The United States, in turn, argumented its arms sales to Israel, convincing Egypt’s new president, Anwar Sadat, that America held all the cards and was the only force that could possibly influence prospects for peace in the Middle East.

Gartoff says that the ensuing disillusionment with his Soviet backers over the provision of advanced weapons, as well as the perceived inadequacy of Moscow’s diplomatic and military support, led Sadat to expel “the approximately 20,000 Soviet military advisers and technicians in Egypt, as well as the Soviet reconnaissance aircraft based there, and sharply curtailed any Soviet use of military facilities in his country.

Sadat had decided that he could not rely on the Soviets to help him recover occupied Egyptian territory. Meanwhile, he prepared for a limited war with Israel as a means of reopening the occupation issue.

Like Cuba in 1959, Egypt transferred loyalty from one superpower to another in the midst of the Cold War conflict, and, gradually, the US replaced the Soviets as Egypt’s main military supplier.

As the US gained influence in Egypt and the Middle East, the superpower sought to exclude the Soviet Union from regional affairs, particularly from the evolving peace process.

Although Egypt’s shifting allegiances did not prevent — and may, in fact, have spurred — the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Sadat’s actions ultimately contributed to the successful negotiation of a peace agreement for the Middle East.

Israel

The USSR switched sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict. After it tried to maintain a policy of friendship with Israel at first, abstaining from and allowing the passage of Security Council Resolution  in September 1951, which chastised Egypt for preventing ships bound for Israeli ports from travelling through the Suez Canal, asking them to cease interference on shipping for political purposes, in the latter part of 1953 it began to side with the Arabs in armistice violation discussions in the Security Council. As late as December, 1953, the Soviets were the first state to instruct their envoy to present his credentials to the President of Israel in Jerusalem, the Israeli annexation of and usage as the capital being controversial. This move was followed by other nations and strongly protested by the Arabs as “flouting” UN resolutions.

 On January 22, 1954 the Soviets vetoed a Security Council resolution because of Arab objections for the first time, and soon after vetoed even a mild resolution expressing that Egypt was not living up to Security Council Resolution. This elicited Israeli complaints that resolutions recognizing its rights could not pass because of the Soviet vote policy. At the same time, however, the Soviets did support the Israeli demand for direct negotiations with the Arab states, which the Arab states opposed. Like the earlier deal with Israel, a major episode in the Soviet relation to the conflict was the Czech arms deal with Egypt for arms from the Soviet bloc in August 1955. After the mid-50’s and throughout the remainder of the Cold War the Soviets unequivocally supported various Arab regimes over Israel.

With Israel emerging as a close Western ally, Zionism raised Communist leadership fears of internal dissent and opposition arising from the substantial segment of party members who were Jewish, leading to the declaration of Zionism as an ideological enemy. During the later parts of the Cold War Soviet Jews were persecuted as possible traitors, or a security liability. Jewish organizations were closed down, with the exception of a few token synagogues. These synagogues were then placed under police surveillance, both openly and through the use of informers.

As a result of the persecution, both state-sponsored and unofficial anti-Semitism became deeply ingrained in the society and remained a fact for years.

The official position of the Soviet Union and its satellite states and agencies was that Zionism was a tool used by the Jews and Americans for “racist imperialism.”

“In late July 1967, Moscow launched an unprecedented propaganda campaign against Zionism as a “world threat.” Defeat was attributed not to tiny Israel alone, but to an “all-powerful international force

 The Israeli government was also referred to as a “terrorist regime” which “has raised terror to the level of state politics.” Even regarding the Entebbe hostage crisis, Soviet media reported: “Israel committed an act of aggression against Uganda, assaulting the Entebbe airport.”

In March 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev became the Secretary General of the CPSU and in April he declared perestroika. It took more than six years before Moscow consented to restore diplomatic relations with Israel on October 19, 1991, just 2 months prior to the collapse of the USSR.

Iran and irak

During the first years of the Iran-Iraq War both superpowers attempted to keep some distance from the conflict. Both the United States and the Soviet Union abandoned neutrality, however, when they deduced that the war was uniting Iranians behind the Khomeini government and that a victory for Iran was possible.

The Soviets resumed arms shipments in 1982, and after Iran declared the Tudeh Party illegal, arresting a thousand of its leaders and members and expelling eighteen Soviet diplomats, the flow of Soviet arms to Iraq became a flood.

The US also changed its position, restoring diplomatic missions with Iraq, extending almost $2 billion in commodity credits, and allowing the country the use of American intelligence sources. American interests became even more explicit when Iran threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz.

Subsequently, the Iran-Iraq War “floated” on the price of a barrel of oil.

A “tanker war” began in 1984 with both nations attacking oil installations and commercial tankers, including a missile attack on the USS Stark which killed thirty-seven Americans.

At the same time, Iraq began a “War of the Cities,” launching missile attacks against Iranian towns and cities, eventually focusing on industrial targets in important urban areas. Civilian casualties were steep.

In a two week period in February 1988, a total of more than one hundred missiles were fired at Tehran, Qom, and Isfahan, along with bombing raids on another thirty-seven cities, Iran retaliated with bombings and missile attacks on Iraqi cities.

Meanwhile, Israel entered the fray. That government justified its resolution to sell arms to Iran, arguing that such activity would increase Iraqi casualties and extend a war that ultimately served the interests of the US, primarily by preventing Sadam Hussein from establishing hegemony over the Arab side of the Persian Gulf.

Israel’s decision had enormous impact when, in conjunction with a small group of American National Security Council (NSC) officials, the Israelis became key players in a plan to sell Iran arms and spare parts in the hope that it would expedite the release of American hostages held in Lebanon.

The plan soon broadened with the suggestion that the funds raised from the sale of arms to Iran be channeled to assist the Contras in Nicaragua.

President Reagan’s humanitarian interest in the hostage situation was strengthened by several other factors: a growing fear that the Iranians were “exporting revolution” to oil rich Arabia; concern over the impact of the falling price of oil on America’s domestic oil industry; and continued obsession with the Soviet threat.

The associated scandal undermined the credibility of the Reagan administration and eventually evolved into a constitutional crisis.

The Iranian initiative succeeded only in replacing three American hostages with another three, arming Iran missile batteries, improperly generating funds for the Contras and other covert activities

While the President clearly supported the arms for hostage strategy with great enthusiasm, controversy continues over his knowledge of the Contra funding. The President had, however, authorized the CIA to spend millions to equip and train the contras in clear violation of US neutrality laws. The CIA trained the Contras in the southern United States, then shipped them to Nicaragua through Honduras.

kwait

On August 2, 1990, as the Cold War in the Third World was winding down, Saddam Hussein, the Cold War client of both superpowers, invaded the oil rich kingdom of Kuwait, arousing worldwide condemnation for his disregard for “democracy” and for his scorched earth policy. The action incurred a swift response from the Americans who believed that the price of oil and, therefore, control of the world’s economy was at stake.

The Cuban missile crisis

13-day confrontation between the Soviet Union and Cuba on one side, and the United States on the other, in October 1962. It was one of the major confrontations of the Cold War, and is generally regarded as the moment in which the Cold War came closest to turning into a nuclear conflict. It is also the first documented instance of the threat of mutual assured destruction (MAD) being discussed as a determining factor in a major international arms agreement.

After provocative political moves and the failed US attempt to overthrow the Cuban regime (Bay of Pigs, Operation Mongoose), in May 1962 Nikita Khrushchev proposed the idea of placing Soviet nuclear missiles on Cuba to deter any future invasion attempt. During a meeting between Khrushchev and Fidel Castro that July, a secret agreement was reached and construction of several missile sites began in the late summer. Such a move would also neutralize the US’s advantage of having missiles in Turkey. These preparations were noticed and on 14 October, a US aircraft took several pictures clearly showing sites for medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles (MRBMs and IRBMs) under construction. These images were processed and presented on October 15, which marks the beginning of the 13-day crisis from the US perspective.

The United States considered attacking Cuba via air and sea, but decided on a military blockade instead, calling it a “quarantine” for legal and other reasons. The US announced that it would not permit offensive weapons to be delivered to Cuba, demanded that the Soviets dismantle the missile bases already under construction or completed, and return all offensive weapons to the USSR. The Kennedy administration held only a slim hope that the Kremlin would agree to their demands, and expected a military confrontation.

On the Soviet side, Premier Nikita Khrushchev wrote in a letter from October 24, 1962, to President John F. Kennedy that his blockade of “navigation in international waters and air space” constituted “an act of aggression propelling human kind into the abyss of a world nuclear-missile war”. However, in secret back-channel communications the President and Premier initiated a proposal to resolve the crisis. While this was taking place, several Soviet ships attempted to run the blockade, increasing tensions to the point that orders were sent out to US Navy ships to fire warning shots and then open fire. On 27 October, a U-2 plane was shot down by a Soviet missile crew, an action that could have resulted in immediate retaliation from the Kennedy crisis cabinet, according to Secretary of Defense McNamara’s later testimony. Kennedy stayed his hand and the negotiations continued.

The confrontation ended on October 28, 1962,when Kennedy and United Nations Secretary-General reached an agreement with Khrushchev. Publicly, the Soviets would dismantle their offensive weapons in Cuba and return them to the Soviet Union, subject to United Nations verification, in exchange for a US public declaration and agreement never to invade Cuba. Secretly, the US also agreed that it would dismantle all US-built, armed with nuclear warheads, which were deployed in Turkey and Italy against the Soviet Union.

After the removal of the missiles and light bombers from Cuba, the blockade was formally ended ,on November 20, 1962.

usa in the first World War

USA in the 1 World War

When war began in 1914 U.S.A. wanted to stay neutral and not get involved in what they viewed as a European conflict. Though the US had been an important supplier to Britain and other Allied powers

Later, in 1917 U.S.A did enter into World War 1 because of several events that occurred.

One of these events was in 1915 when the American’s boat Lusitania sank and over 120 people were killed. Then the Sussex was sunk by a German U-boat. After this the American president,Teddy Roosevelt, wanted revenge.

The other one was In January 1917, when Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare. The German Foreign minister, in the Zimmermann Telegram, told Mexico that U.S. entry was likely once unrestricted submarine warfare began, and invited Mexico to join the war as Germany’s ally against the United States. In return, the Germans would send Mexico money and help it recover the territories of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona that Mexico lost during the Mexican-American War 70 years earlier. British intelligence intercepted the telegram and passed the information on to Washington. Wilson released the Zimmerman note to the public and Americans saw it as a cause for war.

At first Wilson tried to maintain neutrality while fighting off the submarines by arming American merchant ships with guns powerful enough to sink German submarines on the surface (but useless when the U-boats were under water). After submarines sank seven U.S. merchant ships Wilson went to Congress calling for a declaration of war on Germany, which Congress voted on 6 April 1917.
To some people this was a natural progression as it was thought that the U.S.A. were backing up Britain and that they weren’t neutral in any case. Others say that as German threatened to conquer Britain, the U.S.A wanted to help out so that was another involvement in the war.
When the United States joined the war this mean

  • more ships
  • troops
  • Supplies etc.
  • Opened up the scene of even greater economic and business support to the run down similar nations.

 

Army and Navy

The United States was never formally a member of the Allies but became a self-styled “Associated Power”. The United States had a small army, but, after the passage of the Selective Service Act, it drafted 2.8 million menand by summer 1918 was sending 10,000 fresh soldiers to France every day. In 1917, the U.S. Congress gave U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans when they were drafted to participate in World War I, as part of the Jones Act. Germany had miscalculated, believing it would be many more months before they would arrive and that the arrival could be stopped by U-boats.

The United States Navy sent a battleship group to Scapa Flow to join with the British Grand Fleet, destroyers to Queenstown, Ireland and submarines to help guard convoys. Several regiments of U.S. Marines were also dispatched to France. The British and French wanted U.S. units used to reinforce their troops already on the battle lines and not waste scarce shipping on bringing over supplies. The U.S. rejected the first proposition and accepted the second. General John J. Pershing, American Expeditionary Force (AEF) commander, refused to break up U.S. units to be used as reinforcements for British Empire and French units. As an exception, he did allow African-American combat regiments to be used in French divisions. The Harlem Hellfighters fought as part of the French 16th Division, earning a unit Croix de Guerre for their actions at Chateau-Thierry, Belleau Wood, and Sechault. AEF doctrine called for the use of frontal assaults, which had long since been discarded by British Empire and French commanders because of the large loss of life.

Impact of US forces on the war

On the battlefields of France in spring 1918, the fresh American troops were enthusiastically welcomed by the war-weary Allied armies in the summer of 1918. They arrived at the rate of 10,000 a day, at a time that the Germans were unable to replace their losses. After the Allies turned back the powerful final German offensive (Spring Offensive), the Americans played a central role in the Allied final offensive (Hundred Days Offensive). Victory over Germany was achieved on November 11, 1918 after German morale had collapsed on both the Western and Home Fronts

Totalitarian Sysmtems

After the Great Depression (1929), the world faced an economic crisis, causing masses of people to follow political leaders who offered simple solutions in return for dictatorial power. By 1939, only two major European states—France and Great Britain— remained democratic. Italy, the Soviet Union, Germany, and many other European states adopted dictatorial regimes. This type of dictatorship was called a totalitarian state that was a central government that aims to control the political, economic, social, intellectual, and cultural lives of its citizens. It main ideology was nationalism, making the masses to achieve the country’s goals whether those goals included war, a socialist state, or a thousand-year empire. All of this ambition for power and nationalism lead to the WWII.

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USA in the WWII

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When war broke out in Europe, US President Franklin Roosevelt recognised that the conflict threatened US security, and looked for ways to help the European democracies    without direct involvement in the war. This necessity increased in June 1940, when the Fall of France left Britain as the only democracy standing between Nazi Germany and America. In 1939, the Fourth Neutrality Act authorised the US to trade arms. In March 1941, Roosevelt moved further towards making the US the ‘arsenal of democracy’ with the Lend-Lease Act, which permitted the selling, or bartering of arms, ammunition and food to “any country whose defence the President.”

The US was sucked towards the conflict when its navy and air force began to ‘escort’ British convoys which transported Lend-Lease material across the Atlantic, protecting them from German submarines. Roosevelt’s announcement of a ‘shoot on sight’ policy in September 1941 following an attack on the USS Greer enraged isolationist senators. They alleged that Roosevelt was deliberately provoking the Germans.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the vote in the senate was predictable. Hitler’s declaration of war on the US, which came four days later, was actually a blessing in disguise for Roosevelt; it enabled him to legitimately pursue a ‘Germany first’ strategy. In November 1942, Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. Allied troops slowly caught German forces in North Africa, who surrendered in Tunisia in May 1943.

By the beginning of 1943, the opening of a ‘second front’ was a pressing and divisive issue. At the Casablanca conference in January 1943, Churchill effectively won the argument. It was decided that operations in the Mediterranean would continue once victory was achieved in North Africa. The success of Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily launched in July 1943, allowed the Allies to invade the Italian mainland, capturing Rome on 4 June 1944.

 During the war… To help build the armaments necessary to win the war, women found employment as electricians, welders and riveters in defense plants. Japanese Americans had their rights as citizens stripped from them. People in the U.S. grew increasingly dependent on radio reports for news of the fighting overseas. And, while popular entertainment served to demonize the nation’s enemies, it also was viewed as an escapist outlet that allowed Americans brief respites from war worries.

Vintage Image of the "We can do it!" Rosie the Riveter Poster by

On June 6, 1944 (D-Day), two hundred and fifty thousand Allied soldiers arrived in France, which was released by the end of August. Allied air forces attacked Nazi industrial factories, such as the Auschwitz camp (though the gas chambers were never a target). The Soviets began an offensive on January 12, 1945, and liberated Poland and Hungary. In mid-February 1945, the Allies bombed Dresden, and nearly a hundred thousand civilians were killed.

On April 29, Hitler committed suicide. Berlin was captured by Soviet forces in May 1945, and the Germans surrendered on May 7, 1945.

About the Pacific War…

In 1937, Japan resumed its expansion in China, beginning the Sino-Japanese War. After waging two battles with the Soviet Union, Japan occupied Indochina, a French colony, seeking end the long contest in China. The UK, the U.S. and other nations with interests in the region responded by imposing an economic embargo that threatened to suffocate the small country. After failed negotiations, Japan attacked simultaneously, without a declaration of war, a territory controlled by the United States, the UK, Thailand and the Netherlands in December 1941.

The Japanese attack failed to break the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, although weakened. Japan succeeded in conquering the Philippines, Malaysia, Burma, the Dutch East Indies, Hong Kong and launched an offensive in the Indian Ocean in 1942. The Japanese advance was stopped the same year, after the defeat at the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway.

The American advance across the Pacific managed to force a great naval battle known as the Battle of the Philippine Sea, where the Japanese Navy suffered irreparable losses. Since then the U.S. naval superiority in the Pacific was indisputable.

By 1945, the Allies had recovered Burma, New Guinea, Borneo, the Philippines, the Aleutian Islands and occupied Japanese territory, Iwo Jima, and both sides were preparing to give battle in large Japanese islands. In August, the war in the Pacific ended, shortly after the U.S. will use atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantly killing one hundred and twenty thousand civilians.

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World War II resulted in an estimated 55 million deaths in the world.

Sources

“Military History of the United States of America during World War II”. Wikipedia. 28 March 2013. April 3, 2013.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_the_United_States_during_World_War_II

“World War II”. US Embassy. April 2008. April 3, 2013.

http://usa.usembassy.de/history-ww2.htm

“America and the second world war”. Multipoint Briefings. February 2006. April 3, 2013.

http://americaintheworld.typepad.com/briefings/2008/08/america-and-t-1.html