• Created by: amyylanc
  • Created on: 13-04-19 13:05


- the US political system is one of 'checks and balances'

- when the Constitution was written in 1787, the US was keen to avoid any dictatorships like those seen in Europe, so the President's power was restricted

- this is done by having a Congress, which can refuse to co-operate, and a Supreme Court, which can impeach the President if it finds his actions to be unconstitutional

- Congress has much political power as it can introduce new proposals for laws, control the budget, and approve or disprove new presidental nominations

- this system can, however, create tension between the different branches of government

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- Truman didn't have the same political capital as his predecessor, which could've left him with an un-cooperative Congress, making it almost impossible to pass legislation

- Truman also had to deal with the fact that Congress and individual states were unhappy with how Roosevelt had increased executive power

- Truman's inexperience made it very likely that his power would be challeged at every opportunity at home in the US

- however, as the Constitution didn't really limit the powers of the President in terms of foreign policy, and the role of the President in international affairs had grown over the 1900s, Truman had more success in wielding his power abroad than domestically

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- Roosevelt began his political career as Governor of New York, and just three years after taking on this position, in 1933, he became President of the USA

- he guided the country out of the Great Depression, through his New Deal policies

- he contracted polio aged 39, but endeavoured to continue to appear strong to the public until his death in 1945

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- Truman had been Vice President to FDR for just three months when he succeeded him to become the 33rd US President

- his actions in dealing with the post-war economy, Communism and civil rights were often unpopular, and led to his disappointingly low results in the opinion polls

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- there are two major political parties in the USA, and although it's possible to run as an independent candidate, there are advantages to belonging to one of these parties:

  • the US electoral system means that there are no seats in Congress for the party that comes second, and as either the Democrats or Republicans always won, there is no incentive to form a party that is popular but still can't win
  • the USA has mostly single member districts in which only one member is sent to Congress, making it harder for minor parties to have any influence
  • this system was so normalised by 1945 that there was no reason to change it, leaving Republicans and Democrats with an ongoing political advantage
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- the Democratic party was founded in 1828

- its stronghold had traditionally been in the South, where segregationist policies were pursued

- however, Woodrow Wilson's and FDR's administrations had led to the party becoming more liberal

- in 1945, the party saw a split between New Deal liberals, and traditional Dixiecrats

- the Republican party was founded in 1854

- its stronghold had traditionally been in the North and Midwest, where their policies of non-intervention and small government, along with a conservative attitude towards civil rights were popular

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- possibly the most important impact of war was to restore the US economy

- it is often argued that it is the war, not the New Deal, that kick-started economic recovery in the USA after the Great Depression

- 'the unemployment, the economic distress, and the consequent turmoil that had marked the thirties, only partly relieved by New Deal measures, had been pacified, overcome by the greater turmoil of war' - Zinn

- in 1940, unemployment was still high at around 8 million, however during the war years, there was full employment, and even a shortage of workers in certain sectors such as agriculture

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- the USA had emerged from the war as a thriving country, whereas its economic rivals, such as Britain, Germany, Japan, France and the Soviet Union had been hit badly by war

- this gave the US a huge trade advantage in the post-war years, as other countries needed goods and raw materials to rebuild themselves, and the USA had the ability to provide them

- it also benefitted from the repayment of loans it had made to the Allied powers along with reparation settlements

-  in this flourishing economic climate, the average American benefitted, partly due to the growth of trade unions during the war

- the AFL and CIO had consistently defended workers' rights and campaigned for pay rises, that were hard to go back on post-war

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- the New Deal was a series of domestic programs introduced by Roosevelt, and enforced between 1933 and 1938

- the aim was to kick-start the economy and provide jobs after the Great Depression

- the programs focused on providing jobs for the poor, restoring economic activity, and reforming the financial system

- during Roosevelt's 12 year Presidency, the US economy saw an average GDP growth of 8.5% a year, which was the highest growth rate in the history of an industrialised country

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- the USA's enormity meant that there were noticable differences in climate, industry and population density from place to place

- the North East was the traditional political, financial and educational hub of the US, and comprised cities such as Washington DC, New York and Boston

- it was seen as the most sophisticated part of the US that was responsible for much of its success, producing 18 of the 32 Presidents before FDR

North-Eastern cities such as Chicago and Detroit also played a role in producing the most sophisticated industry, like the automobile industry in Detroit

- the Midwest was thinly populated and lacked any major cities, causing it to have reduced influence in national politics, however, it did have agricultural riches between Ohio and the Rocky Mountains, which produced wheat to feed the population and export

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- the South, was the most traditional part of the country, wherein segregation was rife, largely due to its legacy of slavery

- it produced plantation crops such as cotton, sugar and tobacco

- the states bordering Mexico, such as New Mexico and Arizona, were rich in resources like oil

- they experienced a population explosion from an influx of Hispanic immigrants, however the population here remained relatively small and lacking in political influence

- the West Coast was largely made up of California, the state associated with the American Dream and a liberal, relaxed perspective

- it presented itself as more glamorous than the East Coast, but loathed its percieved lack of political influence

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- for over 200 years, people from all corners of the globe had been arriving to the USA as immigrants

- this is reflected in the quote at the base of the State of Liberty, which reads 'Give me your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free'

- in 1945, white people made up the majority of the population, with over 130 million citizens

- many still identified with their country of origin, such as Irish-Americans, Polish-Americans and Italian-Americans, but during the war years, the pride of German-Americans was seen to diminish greatly

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- African-American was the next largest ethnic group, ammounting to 14 million people, which was around 10% of the US population

- they were mostly concentrated in the South due to the legacy of slavery, but had gradually been moving north in the 30 year demographic shift known as the Great Migration'

- this move was largely down to the injustice of 'Jim Crow' Laws driving them away from the segregated Southern states, along with the inticing likelihood of higher wages in the service and industrial sectors in the North, which had been boosted by Roosevelt's FECP

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- the next greatest ethnic group were Hispanics, of whom there were nearly 2 million citizens by 1945

- they were mostly concentrated in the South West states along the Mexican border

- Asian-Americans were a significantly smaller ethnic group, with just 250,000 registered in the 1940 census

- however, by 1980 there were 3.5 million Asian-Americans, due to the McCarran-Walter Acr of 1952, which made immigration from Asia easier

- most Asian immigrants were Chinese, who came to the USA to work on the railways, and mostly lived in the West

- Japanese-Americans were a much smaller group, and had suffered greatly from racism within the US since the 1920s

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- finally, Native Americans made up the smallest minority ethnic group, with just 350,000 members spread across various tribes who were often unwilling to work together

- although it was expected that the Native American population may just die out over the following decades, their numbers actually increased

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the Fair Employment Practices Commission was established through an Executive Order by Roosevelt

- they monitored the hiring practices of any company that held a government contract, requiring them not to discriminate on the basis of race or religion

- unfortunately however, the FECP lacked sufficient funding to be truly effective

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- the years from the 1929 Wall Street Crash till the end of the Second World War in 1945 had levelled out many of the financial inequalities in US society that had been prevalent earlier on in the century

- the economic crash and following Great Depression made the middle classes less wealthy, creating a culture in which thrifting and hard work were vital

- the very richest in society survived the economic struggles with most of their wealth intact

- the rest of society were very level in terms of wealth, with little difference between the managerial positions, and 'blue collar' industrial workers whose rights were protected under 'Organised Labour' trade unions

- this equitable situation didn't apply however, if you belonged to a minority group, who were far more likely to live in poverty without a good education

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- the war had resulted in increased social mobility, meaning that many women were free to fill the jobs previously held by men, who had gone off to fight in WW2

- many women were also employed in the munitions industry, a part of the economy that had been previously male dominated

- by 1944, 36% of the workforce was female

- however, these progressions were short-lived

- when the war finished, 12 million American soldiers returned home, expecting their previous jobs back

- this meant that the women who had been liberated by work during the war would be pushed out of the workforce and forced to return to their lives as housewives, or working in traditionally female sectors

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- a percieved threat existed in terms of Communism

- with Stalin's armies placed in Europe, fear of the spread of Communism began to grow, and any individual or group suspected of having left-leaning views was a source of suspicion

- certain Congressmen saw the increasing power of Trade Unions as the beginnings of a Communist threat in the USA

- Truman picked up on this widespread fear, and as a result, dedicated much of the rest of his presidency to tackling the problem

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- Truman was a plain-speaking, hard-working and upright Southerner

- on the 20th of January 1945, he became Vice President, and within just 82 days of this, he had replaced Roosevelt as President of the USA

- he aimed to continue the success of FDR's New Deal, and ease the transition from a wartime to peacetime economy

- he was reputed as being staunchly anti-Communist, which was undeniably a popular view, yet also showed his inexperience with foreign affairs and the compromises required to succeed in this

- he was, therefore, much less tolerant of Stalin than FDR had been, and relied more on the advice of the likes of Dean Acheson and Churchill

- this formed the basis of his foreign policy aims, which focused around a desire to contain Soviet expansion, and ensure the security of Allied powers

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- Stalin took his name from the word 'Stalin', meaning 'man of steel'

- in 1910, he succeeded Lenin as leader of the USSR

- his rule was defined by his use of propaganda and brutality to consolidate his control

- he was regarded as a formidable dictator, whose grip on the USSR continued to tighten after 1945

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- Churchill was the British Prime Minster during the Second World War

- he was widely respected and admired in the USA, even after his loss of the 1945 election

- after his defeat, he toured the US, giving speeches about the threat from Moscow, which was taken very seriously by listeners

- 'if however they (Western democracies) become divided or falter in their duty and if these all important years are allowed to slip away then indeed catastrophe may overwhelm us all' - Churchill's Iron Curtain speech

- Churchill had a tense relationship with Stalin, with a severe lack of trust on both sides

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- Acheson was a Yale graduate, lawyer and member of the Democratic party

- he was a proponent of both the Truman Doctrine and the 'domino theory', that said that once one country fell to Communism, others were likely to follow

- he became Truman's Secretary of State in 1949

- he was a contributor towards NSC-68

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- the National Security Council Report 68 was a top secret security policy document ordered by Truman in April 1950

- it came in response to the Soviet Union successfully testing a nuclear device in August 1949

- the report suggested spending on defence to increase to $50 billion a year, in order to carry out Kennan's policy of containment

- it also reinforced the idea that the destruction of civilisation was a possibility if the USA didn't prevent the spread of Communism

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- the Yalta Conference was held in the Russian resort town of Yalta, from the 4th to the 11th of February 1945

- here, Stalin was invited to join the United Nations, the aim of which was to preserve world peace and prevent another world war

- Stalin had a deep distrust of the West, and a tense relationship with Churchill, so Roosevelt handled discussions with him instead

- despite such tensions, Yalta was deemed a success by Roosevelt, who described it as the start of the road to a world of peace

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- divide Germany into four zones, to be controlled by the US, USSR, France and Britain respectively, in order to allow free elections in liberated countries in Eastern Europe

- put Nazi war criminals on trial

- set up a Polish Provisional Government of National Unity and hold free elections in Poland

- help to establish democratic and self-governing countries in Europe

- set up a commission to oversee reparations

- Stalin promised that Russia would join the war in the Pacific, and in return was allowed occupation zones in North Korea and Manchuria

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- the Potsdam Conference was held in the German city of Potsdam, from the 17th of July to the 2nd of August 1945

- here, Truman set out to stand up to Stalin and establish himself on the world stage

- however, due to tensions between the two leaders, little was agreed

- Poland's frontiers were discussed, but as Soviet troops were in place, Stalin would have to be persuaded into allowing free elections

- something of huge significance was that Truman failed to alert Stalin to the US's atomic bombs, and within four days of the end of the conference, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima

- this was partly to prevent the need for the promised Soviet aid in the war with Japan, so that they'd have no place in negotiation over the future of Japan

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- confirmed the establishment of four 'zones of occupation' in Germany

- the Nazi party, government, and laws were to be eliminated, and efforts would begin to de-Nazify German education and institutions

- confirmed the plan to place Nazi war criminals on trial

- confirmed the plan to hold ' free and unfettered elections as soon as possible' in Poland

- Russia was allowed to take reparations from the Soviet 'zone of occupation'

- the US and Britain could also take reparations from their zones

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- the atmosphere at Yalta seemed more friendly than the atmosphere at Potsdam five months later, which can be seen in the respective amounts of decisions made at each

- by the time of Potsdam, tensions had increased as the leaders of the countries involved in the conference had changed, which led to huge disagreements over Soviet policy in Eastern Europe, and Stalin's plan to cripple Germany

- despite his lack of experience, Truman was aware that the new atomic bomb had been tested as successful and was ready for use, but faced a difficult decision over whether or not to use it

- positively, it would end the war quickly and be a warning to the USSR

- negatively, it would cause huge amounts of civilian losses when Japan was about to surrender, and possible long-term environmental issues

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- Truman's Presidency had begun with an immediate alienation of Stalin, but Stalin had his own reasons to be paranoid about the West:

  • Britain and the US had supported the Communists' opponents in the Russian Civil war of 1918, with Churchill going as far as to say that Communism should be 'strangled in its crade'
  • in the Second World War, Stalin had persistenly encouraged the Allies to invade France and thereby split the German army, in order to relieve pressure on Soviet troops, which Roosevelt and Churchill had resisted for a long time, and led Stalin to believe that they were content for the Nazis to kill Communists
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- in Feburary 1945, Truman's anti-Communist stance was heightened by a telegram from George Kennan, a US diplomat in Moscow who was a leading expert on the USSR

- 'it (Soviet power) can easily withdraw, and usually does when strong resistance is encountered at any point' - the Long Telegram

- considerations of Kennan's analysis may have influenced Truman when interpreting Churchill's 'Sinews of Peace' speech in his home town of Missouri

- in this speech, Churchill argued that an 'Iron Curtain' had descended across Europe

- for Churchill, the Soviet Union didn't actually want war, but 'what they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines'

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- after Soviet troops refused to leave Iran, despite Stalin having promised to withdraw them, and Greek USSR-backed Communists managed to destabilise the Greek monarchy, Truman formulated a policy of containment

- on the 12th of March 1947, he asked Congress for $400 million in military and economic support for Greece and Turkey, citing that US policy was to 'support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures'

- this policy was viewed, internationally, as a commitment to containing Communism, and would form the basis of US foreign policy for the next 40 years

- the Doctrine was a military commitment to defend any country that looked susceptible to being taken over by an armed minority, although it didn't specify that this minority must be Communist

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- after touring Europe, new Secretary of State George Marshall, managed to convince Truman to offer financial aid to help the countries being supported through the Truman Doctrine to rebuild their damaged economies

- initially, Congress was reluctant towards the plan, but fears of the spread of Communism grew after the Communist party seized power in Czechoslovakia

- in February 1948, the Marshall Plan was approved and offered to all European countries, including those who were Communist

- the plan was officially known as the European Recovery Program, and gave $17 billion in financial aid to try and rebuild the economies of European nations, specifically the UK, France, Germany and Italy for four years starting April 1948 

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- the following four years after the provision of Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan saw the fastest period of growth in European history, with industrial production rising by 35%, austerity measures being relaxed and the European market for American goods being restored

- they established the USA as the protector of Europe, which was aided by the further alienation of Stalin, who was now reputed as wanting to ensure economic and military ruination for Germany

- they also helped to establish the parameters of the Cold War, before the events in Berlin consolidated the tensions between East and West

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- in early 1948, the Allied powers of France, Britain and the USA began discussions about creating a West German government by combining each of their zones, and uniting them through a common currency, the Deutschmark

- within the new Berlin, people could cross from East to West, yet the presence of wealthy West Berliners in the Communist-controlled East Berlin threatened Stalin's control there

- on the 25th of March 1948, Stalin decided to cut the Allies out of the Eastern bloc by blockading all routes into Berlin, claiming that 'technical difficulties' was the reason for this

- Stalin was able to do this without breaking international laws, as there was nothing written that promised surface access to Berlin in any post-war agreement

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- any attempt to enter Berlin on the ground would require US troops invading East Germany, and Truman would not want to risk this

- Truman instead responded with an act of brinkmanship, through which he reinforced his commitment to the Truman Doctrine, whilst simultaneously demonstrating American wealth and military capacity

- with the help of the RAF, he ordered 1.5 million tonnes of supplies to be flown to the 2.5 million people of Berlin, which would require 275,000 flights over the next 324 days

- eventually, on the 12th of May 1949, Stalin lifted the blockade in order to stop the airlift

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- the Berlin airlift was Truman's finest hour in foreign policy

- he had managed to achieve both a moral and propaganda victory over Stalin

- the events in Berlin also justified the creation of NATO and the development of B-29 bombers in Europe

- he had also solidified the Truman Doctrine as the basis of US foreign policy 

- he also managed to re-invent the people of Berlin as brave heroes who defied their 'tyrannous' Soviet leader through the blockade, as opposed to their previous reputation as Nazis

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- on the 14th of August 1945, five days after the Hiroshima bombing, Emperor Hirohito declared the Japanese surrender via a radio broadcast

- 350,000 US soldiers were sent to Japan, under the control of General MacArthur, who had been instructed to transform Japan from a militaristic state into a modern democracy

- this was done through various means:

  • Communists were banned from taking government posts
  • Article 9 of the new constitution condemned war to be an instrument of policy
  • a democratically elected government with an electorate including women
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- foreign policy in Japan changed after Mao Zedong's victory in 1949, as a economically stronger Japan became more desirable in order to balance China and make up for lost Chinese markets

- furthermore, Truman was concerned that a weaker Japan may be an easy target for Communism, which may then spread further

- though resentment remained amongst the Japanese living near US military bases, by 1952, US occupation of Japan ended, and the country was restored industrially until it was competing with the US in many industries

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- Truman's decisionto drop the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima forced Japan to surrender

- the US supported Japanese reconstruction by investing $500 million a year from 1946 to 1949, leading to the success of companies such as Toyota and Honda, which led to Japan becoming a Capitalist fortification against Communism in Asia

- General MacArthur was given dictatorial powers which allowed for the successful transformation of Japan from a militaristic dictatorship to a modern Capitalist democracy

- in 1951, the US and Japan signed a treaty to formally end the war, and a following Mutual Security Treaty in 1952 meant that a formal cease of US occupation in Japan could happen 

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- despite the end of US occupation of Japan, and the creation of a Japanese army of 10,000 men, there was still widespread opposition to US interference, which prompted riots and anti-American protests throughout 1954

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- MacArthur was a five star US Army General

- he fought in the First World War, and then commanded the US Army in the Second World War, through which he earned the Medal of Honour

- he accepted the official Japanese surrender while aboard the USS Missouri on the 2nd of September 1945, and later oversaw the occupation of Japan from 1945

- he was in command of UN forces in Korea until Truman removed him from his position by Truman in 1951

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- Mao converted to Marxism-Lennism, before later going on to found the Communist Party of China

- the Communist Party of China was based on 'Mao Zedong Thought'

- eventually, on the 1st of October 1949, Mao proclaimed China to be Communist, and named the country the People's Republic of China

- he went on to rule for 27 years after establishing China as a Communist nation

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- during Japan's invasion of China in 1931, Communist and Nationalist Chinese factions had worked together to defend against the invader

- after working together to defeat the Japanese, leaders of the Nationalist and Communist parties, Jiang Jieshi and Mao Zedong, met to discuss the formation of a post-war government

- they came to a frail truce, which didn't last long, and by 1946, both sides were fighting a civil war

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- Truman remained unconvinced about the strategic value of supporting the Nationalists, given their previous failed attempts to create a stable China in the years leading up to the Second World War

- however, he was keenly aware of the devastating implications of letting China fall to Communism

- as a result, limited military and financial aid to the Nationalists continued, but ended up being insufficient

- Jiang Jieshi and the Nationals fled to Taiwan, taking much of China's gold supply with them

- on the 1st of October 1949, Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China, making the largest and most populous country in the world now Communist

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- 50,000 US forces were sent by Truman to China in an attempt to repel Mao's Communist forces

- General George Marshall was sent to China in 1946 to try and negotiate a peace agreement between Jiang Jieshi and Mao Zedong

- under the China Aid Act of 1948, Truman paid $3 billion to support Nationalist forces in China between 1945 and 1948

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- the USA's financial support of Jiang Jieshi facilitated his rule as a dictator, which saw him imprison thousands of supposed Communists during the White Terror of 1946-1947

- this made Jiang Jieshi be percieved as cruel and corrupt, and the USA's backing of such a figure impacted their international credibility

- Truman faced criticism from Republicans known as the China Lobby, who wanted an Asia-first approach to Cold War foreign affairs, and were disappointed when Truman refused to send an additional 100,000 troops to the struggling Nationalist forces in 1948

- in 1950, China and the USSR signed a Mutual Defence Pact

- the loss of China is seen by many as 'the worst defeat' in American history - John Dulles

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- he established the Republic of China in Taiwan after being defeated by Mao's Communist Party

- Truman's lack of effort in retaking China was disappointing to Jiang, but he continued to endeavour towards good relations with the US as a defence against China's attempt to retake Taiwan

- he was a dictator in his ruling style, and used accusations of anti-Communism to justify the arrest of thousands of citizens between the years 1949 to 1987, which became known as the 'White Terror'

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- prior to the Second World War, the countries of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam were part of the French Empire, and were known as Indo-China

- during the war, it had been occupied by the Japanese, who found themselves fighting a guerilla force under the control of Ho Chi Minh, who had formed the Indo-Chinese Communist Party in 1930 to fight for independence from France

- after the Japanese were defeated, Ho Chi Minh expected US support for Vietnamese independence, due to the USA's supposed commitment to self-determination

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- instead, Truman gave much support to France, covering 78% of the costs of French involvement in Indo-China

- with the loss of China a recent memory, Truman saw Ho Chi Minh as a puppet of Stalin

- 'we are dangerously close to the point of being so deeply committed that we may find ourselves completely committed to direct intervention' - John Oley, a senior Defence Department official, about the USA's position in the French-Vietminh conflict

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- as a result of fears of Ho Chi Minh being a puppet of Stalin, he committed $15 million of military support to the French

- Truman noted the pro-French government of Bao Dai in 1950, and committed a further $50 million to them for economic reconstruction and technical assistance

- Truman's support of the French in Indo-China was partly to ensure ongoing French support in Europe, and to lead to NATO, which was established in 1949

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- continued US support for the French government in Indo-China contributed to the Franco-Vietnam War of December 1946

- US aid, despite its best efforts, was often hindered by French obstructionism, meaning that the seed, fertiliser, health programmes, and aid for refugees didn't reach those in need

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- he travelled extensively in the USA and UK until he moved to Paris, where he then campaigned for Vietnamese independence during negotiations held at Versailles in 1919

- he then joined the Communist party before moving to Moscow for training, and then on to China

- on arrival back in Vietnam in 1941, he led a guerrilla force of 10,000 men, known as the Vietminh, in their fight for independence from France, then in their fight against Japan in WW2, and finally against the USA

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- after the Second World War, Korea was divided between the powers that helped liberate it, with the Soviet Union controlling the North, and the USA in control of the South

- the country was separated by an arbitrary line called the 38th parallel

- efforts to unite the country were made by the UN, but were rejected by the USSR

- the US held elections in the South leading to the election of Syngman Rhee, and the Soviets put Kim Il Sung in power in the North

- US troops had been removed, so when 100,000 North Korean troops invaded the South on the 25th of June 1950, they did so with little opposition

- Truman felt inclined to act, not only to prevent the spread of Communism, but also to prove to critics that he wasn't losing Asia

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- Truman took the issue to the UN, and a US-backed UN intervention began in July 1950

- MacArthur's initial success with an invasion of Inchon led to an overstretch into North Korea that alarmed China by coming too near to its border

- Chinese troops then aided North Korean troops significantly, leading to a stalemate near the 38th parallel

- by 1951, MacArthur was trying to persuade Truman to use the atomic bomb, leaving Truman with no choice but to remove him from power

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- containment was achieved, as by 1953, South Korea had been saved from falling to Communist rule by North Korea

- the spread of Communism in Asia further justified the creation of NATO in Europe

- Truman showed courage in resisting a decision which could've caused World War Three by denying MacArthur's wish to deploy atomic force

- an unexpected benefit of the Korean War was that it forced US troops to desegregate for the first time in history

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- Truman's intervention in Korea further committed the US to containment in Asia, meaning that now they had to support the French colonial government in Indo-China, and corrupt democracies in countries like South Korea, Indo-China and Taiwan

- the war cost a total of $67 billion to the USA, which in 1953, represented 14% of total GDP, which triggered a rise in inflation and labor relations issues

- the Korean War had further worstened relations with China, due to Truman's reluctance to slow the advance of US forces into North Korea towards the border, which also served to humiliate Truman as the Chinese army had effectively contained the US army and pushed in back to the South

- the Korean War aggrevated fears of Communism in the USA, and facilitated the spread of McCarthyism, which can be seen in the increased persecution of left-wingers and a growing fear of atomic attacks

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- the US was the single dominant force in the international post-war economy, however, to maintain this advantage, it needed to return to peaceful trading with partners in Europe and the Pacific

- growing economies in Europe signified that countries like Britain, who owed $31 billion, and France who owed $3.2 billion, could pay back their war-loans

- measures taken towards the end of the Second World War to prepare the USA for a return to peacetime trading had given them a further advantage

- the introduction of the Bretton-Woods System, IMF, and World Bank, demonstrated that the new global economic situation would be based around an American understanding of Capitalism and trade

- all Truman had to do was keep such ideas going, and allow for the world economy to return to normal

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- on the 1st of July 1944, representatives of the 44 Allied nations met in Bretton Woods, in New Hampshire

- their aim was to design a system of monetary management for the post-war economy

- the meeting led to the establishment of the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank

- it also made obliging countries adopt a currency that was tied to the US dollar

- the system also promised that the IMF would step in and provide aid to countries that were in financial trouble

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- Truman's goals for his Presidency were mostly domestic, and largely focused on continuing the liberal legislation of the New Deal, whilst smoothing the transition to a peacetime economy

- with 12 million WW2 soldiers about to re-join the job market, Truman took the decision to demobilise them gradually, with 9 million in 1945, then another 1.5 million in 1946

- this gradual reintroduction to the workforce kept unemployment at a manageable level, and meant that the Truman administration never saw unemployment above 5%

- businesses also faced a transition to a peacetime economy, however the post-war consumer boom caused an inflation rate of 25% in 1945, which Truman tackled with the creation of a Council of Economic Advisors, and an Employment Act which committed the country to 'maximum employment'

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- post-war recovery was helped by demand for housing, and FDR's 1944 GI Bill

- the GI Bill provided government help in getting a 90% mortgage, along with a guaranteed 52 weeks of unemployment benefit and loans for college education

- through the GI Bill, over the next decade, the government invested $20 billion into several sectors of the economy, which started a golden age for social mobility

- furthermore, the baby boom of 1945 to 1950, created a significant new market for goods and services, and stimulated new housing developments

- housing developments led to the creation of suburban housing sites, such as Levittown in Long Island, which were cheaper for inner-city houses, and could be easily commuted from due to the booming automobile industry which saw car sales soar from 2.1 million in 1946 to 7.9 million in 1955

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- by the time Truman was re-elected in 1948, the economy was improving and demand was steadily growing

- this recovery was aided by the maturing of the $185 million of war bonds that had been purchased by US citizens, which now injected money into the economy that could be used to help fuel the consumer boom

- under Truman, total output had increased by almost 90% from 1939, industrial output had almost doubled, agricultural output had increased by a third, and business investment had risen from $14 million a year to $38 billion a year

- employment had risen from 46 million to 61 million, despite demobilisation

- income per capita of Americans had risen by 40%

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- Truman's economic issues led to political problems in the midterms of 1946, wherein Republicans highlighted the problems of reconversion from a war economy and coined slogans like 'To Err is Truman', leading to them winning control of both the House and Senate

- in the 1948 election, the Democrats were hugely fearful of former Vice President Henry Wallace, who had broken away to form a Progressive Party, and Democrat Senator for South Carolina Strom Thurmond, who was standing as an independent candidate for states' rights

- Dewey, the Republican candidate, ran a cautious and aloof campaign, whilst Truman toured the country tirelessly, ultimately leading to his win

- Truman's victory coincided with the Democrats regaining control of both Houses of Congress, and with a recovering economy and hard stance against the USSR, Truman could complete his next term with improved domestic cooperation

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- the post-war years saw a spike in the birth rate, which significantly affected society

- women increasingly had to stay at home to look after their children

- there was also increased demand for housing in the suburbs, and heightened pressure on the education system

- demand for war materials had dropped, so many jobs were at risk

- the US economy had however, adapted to this new situation to some extent, and factories changed their produce to consumer goods such as clothing, cars and household appliances

- unemployment did rise by 5% by 1950 however, and those worst affected were minority groups and women, who recieved very limited protection from trade unions

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- as a traditional Democrat, the issue of organised labour caused the most problems for Truman

- in August 1945, he proclaimed that he would maintain price controls, but that trade unions could pursue higher wages

- from 1945 to 1946, a wave of strikes occured within the steel, coal, automobile and railroad industries, which weakened the American economy and reduced the production of certain consumer goods

- to put and end to the strikes, Truman recommended compulsory mediation and arbitration 

- he took a hard line approach, even taking the union of the United Mine Workers to court, which damaged his relations with an important part of his support base

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- Lewis was was a leader of Miners' trade unions

- in 1938, he founded the Congress of Industrial Organisations

- his Congress of Industrial Organisations was open to African-Americans

- after the Second World War, he led various miners' strikes between 1945 and 1950

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- in September 1945, Truman proposed to Congress a 21-point programme, made up of economic and social measures to tackle domestic problems in the USA

- due to the conservative majority in Congress, few of these measures were ever passed

- consequently, and partly due to his increased confidence from the previous year's legitimate election win, in his State of the Union Address in January 1949, Truman asserted that the people of the US deserved a fair deal from the government

- he then introduced a revised series of measures that became known as the Fair Deal

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- the actions making up the Fair Deal included:

  • federal aid for education
  • tax cuts for low-income earners
  • an increase in public housing
  • the abolition of poll taxes
  • anti-lynching laws
  • a permanent FECP
  • the establishment of a new Department of Welfare
  • an increased minimum wage from 40 to 75 cents an hour
  • national health insurance
  • expanded Social Security coverage
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- Truman's domestic programme lacked the fierce economic necessity that had allowed FDR's New Deal to succeed so greatly, and so it was never implemented with total success

- regardless, much progress was made domestically under Truman

- by 1953, 62 million Americans were employed, which was a increase of 11 million, and unemployment was virtually 0

- income from agriculture and business were at all-time highs, and no bank had failed in nearly nine years

- Social Security benefits had been doubled, and 7.8 million veterans were taking advantage of the GI Bill

- poverty had been reduced, with the percentage of Americans living in poverty falling from 33% in 1949 to 28% in 1952

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- in January 1950, Joseph McCarthy was simply a Senator from Wisconsin, however, just a month later, he was nationally famous for his claim to have a list of 205 Communist Party members who were working in the US State Department

- McCarthy's accusations caught on as they tapped into an already-existing fear of Communism, that had existed since the Russian Revolution in 1917, and can be attributed to various factors:

  • economic fear of the consequences of Communism in the USA
  • military fear of the size and aggression of Soviet and Chinese armies
  • the rise of Organised Labour in the Second World War
  • the successful Soviet test of an atomic bomb in August 1949
  • the political value to politicians of exaggerating a threat (Nixon initially found fame as a result of being a member of HUAC)
  • the psychological need of the US to have an enemy to side itself against
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- McCarthy became Senator for Wisconsin in 1947

- he was catapulted to national attention when he began making accusations of complex Communist conspiracies

- these accusations eventually led to the phenomenon of 'McCarthyism'

- none of McCarthy's accusations were ever proven to be correct, and he was eventually censured by the Senate

- he died in 1954 as a result of alcoholism

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- anti-Communism reached all aspects of American society, regardless of the fact that the Communist Party of the US had less than 80,000 members

- the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan had clearly shown the USSR to be the enemy

- HUAC had began to investigate Hollywood actors and writers

- comic book heroes like Captain America changed their enemies from Nazis to Communists, and had storylines like 'Captain America, Commie Smasher!'

- there was a string of arrests of high-ranking officials and scientists who was accused of sharing secrets with the Soviets, such as Hiss and the Rosenbergs

- McCarthy exploited the widespread fear of Communism, and was encouraged by the Republican party, who were desperate for any issue that could weaken the Democrats' twenty year control 

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- Alger Hiss was a high-ranking State Department official, until he was convicted of purjury in 1948 after being accused of passing secrets to the USSR

- Ethel and Julius Rosenburg were workers on the atomic bomb project, until they were accused of passing nuclear secrets to the Russians, leading to their execution in 1953

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- before 1940, US army units had been segregated, and throughout WW2, African-American soldiers had mostly served in logistics rather than in active warfare on the front line

- when black and white soldiers were stationed in Britain ahead of the D-Day invasions, they were kept strictly segregated

- fights often broke out between black and white US servicemen, with British locals often taking the black soldiers' side

- many black soliders were astonished by the reception they recieved when stationed in the UK and travelling across Europe

- Europeans saw Americans as liberators, regardless of their race, and the reputation of black soldiers was enhanced by their courtest, rich culture and new music that they brought with them, and such respect was a new concept to many

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- at home, demands of the wartime economy increased the Great Migration of black workers to the North, where they found steady jobs, good wages and high concentrations of black families living together, which gave them political influence in cities such as Chicago, for electing mayors and Congressmen

- black newspapers, such as the Chicago Defender, became more popular and were active in their campaigns, such as the Double V campaign, which closely linked victory over the Nazis to victory over racism at home

- increased political power and growing wealth of some African-Americans led to a rise in the membership of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), which had been founded in 1909

- a second civil rights group, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), was founded in 1942, and focused on the North, along with the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, to adopt a more peaceful approach to civil rights

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- Randolph was born in Florida and in 1917, founded a political magazine known as The Messenger

- after this, he then founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925, which was a black trade union

- he managed to influence Roosevelt to found the FECP, and to persuade Truman to de-segregate the military

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- most African-Americans in the South lived in small rural towns, where they worked in agriculture or the service industry

- they lived under the cautious watch of the white population, and the juristiction of Jim Crow Laws

- education was segregated, and African-Americans were prevented from voting via various illegal means

- the Church was a fundamental unifying force among the African-American community, and many black preachers were respected by white people, making them less inclined to challenge segregation

- the threat of violence and the legacy of lynching from the 1920s and 1930s hung over the black population, and many feared such harrassment for themselves and their families if they opposed segregation

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- Jim Crow Laws were enforced between 1876 and 1965 in various states in the South

- they made it illegal for black and white people to use the same water fountains, waiting rooms, bus seats, cinemas, libraries and most other public facilities

- they gained their legality from the 1896 Supreme Court case of Plessy v Ferguson, in which it was announced that states could provide separate facilities so long as they were 'separate but equal', however this was rarely the case

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- de jure prejudice existed in the North, but wasn't enforced by Jim Crow Laws, instead economic segregation, social pressure and ghettoisation segregated the races

- black populations in Northern cities was a relatively new concept, with only 8% of all African-Americans living outside of the South in 1900, but this began to increase with the Great Migration

- over the 1940s and 1950s, 2.5 million African-Americans moved to the North

- the Great Migration to the North came about for various reasons:

  • a fear of the revived KKK
  • the mechanisation of agriculture
  • the Great Depression
  • the creation of huge numbers of factory jobs
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- born in Nebraska, he joined the Nation of Islam in 1948 during his prison sentence for armed robbery

- he had a charismatic personality which made him nationally infamous after he appeared in a TV documentary called The Hate that Hate Produced

- in the documentary, which was aired in 1959, he displayed a contfrontational attitude towards white people

- in 1965, he was assasinated after breaking away from the Nation

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- the Nation of Islam was established in 1930, in an attempt to improve the mental, social, and economic condition of African-Americans

- the doctrines of the movement include the belief that original men were black and white men were created by an evil scientist named Yakub

- the Nation also preached the importance of self-reliance and self-respect, encouraging black people to reject drink and drugs, and to only shop in black-owned shops

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- the Ku Klux Klan was a secret society which founded itself on an ideology of racial purity

- it used violent means against black people and those who disagreed with their views

- the third Klan was a loose collection of groups in the South, but was still responsible for several murders and many acts of intimidation

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- most African-Americans in the North lived in cramped apartments in city centres, where rents were high and landlords neglected property management

- even though many black people were in work and could therefore afford to move out to the growing suburbs, they were prevented from doing so through restricted covenants and de facto segregation enforced by realtors

- there were also benefits to large concentrations of black people in cities, such as the growth of their political power, which enabled black members of the House of representatives to be elected, such as Adam Clayton Powell in Harlem

- the close proximity of the black population made it easier to organise, leading to the growth of groups like the NAACP, CORE, the Urban League, and the Nation of Islam

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- Powell was a Baptist preacher before he became the political representative of Harlem in the House of Representatives from 1945 to 1971

- he was a renowned spokesman for African-Americans in the North 

- in 1961, he became chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, which gave him a sufficiently influential position to help shape the social legislation of President Kennedy

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- post-war American society saw a more proactive approach from the civil rights groups

- the Urban League and the Nation of Islam concentrated their efforts in the North, whilst CORE and the NAACP worked hard in the South

- the most successful civil rights group of this era was the NAACP, who used a long-term tactic of taking cases to the Supreme Court, many of which had the intention to undermine the Plessy v Ferguson ruling

- in this case, the court ruled that Homer Plessy had not been discriminated against when he was asked to sit in the coloured carriage of a train, as this fell in line with his 14th amendment rights

- in 1939, the NAACP established a Legal Defence Fund, and began to raise money to hire the best black lawyers and take on cases of discrimination

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- on the 10th of April 1947, CORE organised a group of eight white and eight black men to go on a two week bus trip through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky

- the aim was to end segregation in interstate travel

- although the group were arrested and jailed repeatedly on their journey, they succeeded in generating significant media interest in the issue of desegregation

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- from 1944 to 1950, the NAACP used some of the best black lawyers, such as Thurgood Marshall, to win a series of cases in the Supreme Court:

  • Smith v Allwright of 1944 was a case which allowed African-Americans in Texas to vote in Primaries 
  • Morgan v Virginia of 1946 was a case which ruled that segregation on interstate buses was illegal
  • Shelley v Kramer of 1948 was a case which said that estate agents couldn't refuse to show and sell houses to black clients
  • McLaurin v Olkahoma State of 1950 was a case which allowed George McLaurin to enter the University of Oklahoma to pursue a PhD

- these successes emboldened the NAACP, and all prepared the organisation for what was to be the biggest court case since they were founded in 1909, the 1954 Brown w Board of Education case

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- Marshall was a lawyer who worked for the NAACP, for whom he won various cases presented to the Supreme Court

- Kennedy promoted him to the United States Court of Appeals

- in 1967, President Johnson nominated him to the United States Supreme Court

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- due to his backround from the Southern state of Missouri, where Jim Crowe Laws were still enforced and there was a history of slavery, civil rights campaigners didn't expect much from Truman in terms of civil rights action

- despite this, Truman believed in fairness, and in Sedalia in 1940, gave a remarkably brave speech in which he stated that he believed in the brotherhood of black and white men before the law

- Truman was also vocal about his views on the treatment of black soldiers returning from war, some of whom had been thrown out of army trucks and beaten in Missisipi

- the growing media was bringing more and more attention to racially-aggravated violence, and Truman knew something had to be done

- in 1946, he established The President's Committee on Civil Rights

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- The President's Committee on Civil Rights released a report known as To Secure These Rights, in which it criticised all aspects of discrimination, including education, housing, public facilities, and voting rights, in the North and the South

- Truman followed this with a radical civil rights speech given to Congress in February 1948, asking them to support measures such as anti-lynching protection, protection of the right to vote, and a more effective FECP

- such requests were politically risky for Truman, as there were many Dixiecrats in Congress, and issues like civil rights were hugely divisive to the party, which also may have contributed to his narrow election victory later that year

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- many fellow Democrats opposed Truman's efforts with civil rights, which hampered his progress greatly

- members of the Democratic party had hugely diverse beliefs, including extreme racists, such as Senator for South California, Strom Thurmond

- Southern politicians, who were more than aware of the importance of segregation to the voters they were trying to win the support of, did whatever they could to hinder the progress of the fledgling Civil Rights Movement

- in the absence of widespread media coverage of the racial injustice present in the USA, Truman's attempts to push the issue of civil rights was met with obstruction and efforts to delay progress by Southern politicians, who claimed that their reluctance to change segregation policies was in order to defend the rights of their states from federal intervention

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- Republicans didn't have any interest in engaging with the Civil Rights movement, with Eisenhower barely mentioning the topic in his 1952 election campaign

- internationally however, segregationist attitudes were impacting the USA's reputation

- furthermore, the collapse of the European empires were creating newly-influential states in Asia and Africa, that were suceptible to being wooed by the Soviet Union and falling to Communism

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- to Truman, racial issues also had international implications

- the end of the Second World War had led to the formation of the UN, along with increased struggling for independence amongst the colonies of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain

- Truman was concious of how segregation and racial violence looked abroad

- furthermore, newly independent countries gaining seats at the UN meant that Truman faced the possibility of alienating the new African states if civil rights wasn't resolved in the US

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- Kennan was a US diplomat, with experience of Eastern Europe and the USSR throughout the 1920s and 1930s

- in 1946, he wrote an analysis of the situation for the Secretary of State James Byrnes, which became known as the Long Telegram

- it advocated a policy known as 'containment', which was highly influential in foreign policy towards Communism

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- the impact of the Second World War undeniably led to advances for African-Americans, but there were also severe racial tensions that came about as a result of such progress

- in 1943, there was a race riot in Detroit, which involved 100,000 rioters and caused 34 deaths

- army leaders became so concerned about tense race relations, that Hollywood director, Frank Capra, was commissioned to make The ***** Soldier, which attempted to reduce prejudice

- therefore, the overall effect of the war suggests that, although there were extensive shifts in wealth and demographics, they were short-lived and didn't get to the core of the issue 

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- jobs were available to black people, but were often poorly paid, with some exempt from this, such as the automobile industry around Detroit

- black artists and sportsmen started to gain recognition and wealth, with Jackie Robinson becoming the first black baseball player in Major League Basketball in 1947, and being voted MVP in 1949

- although not as drastically as in the South, relations between races were tense, especially with the police, who would often resort to violence in their dealings with black people, and impose harsher sentences for black people, as seen in Malcom X's 8 to 10 year sentence for burglary

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- regardless of his success in the Fair Deal, Truman was hugely unpopular with the electorate for much of his second term

- a Gallup poll in February 1952 showed him to have only a 22% approval rate

- this was partly due to the ongoing Korean War, which had not given the US a quick victory, and had led to inflation

- additionally, the Truman administration was plagued by scandal

- when dozens of Internal Revenue Service officials were forced to resign in 1951 due to alleged corruption, links were made to President Truman, who began to be known as the 'Senator from Pendergast' due to his relationship with Missouri politician Tom Pendergast previously in his career, who had been involved in the scandal

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