Cold War - Reasons for Rearmament after 1948


What is rearmament?

Rearmament = growth of country's military strength. It may see an increase in military spending, army size, armament number and technology improvements

There were different periods of it. For example, DEU and BR rearmed in 1930s. The technical term for W.DEU rearmament in the 1950s is wiederbewaffnung

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Spofford Compromise

  • FRA was very concerned with W.DEU rearming (incase they got too powerful)
  • FRA Prime Minister called for formation of the EDC - the European Defence Community - to create EUR army and control the FRG
  • It was rejected, but Spofford, a US lawyer who held posts in NATO, proposed a NATO army to run with the EDC in which FRG units could serve
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The Brussels Pact

  • Was signed by the Benelux states, BR and FRA
  • It promised mutual defence against an aggressor, although it did not specifically name the USSR
  • Communist seizure of Prague in 1948 and US promise of troops reassured FRA of threat
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  • Organisation of EUR Economic Cooperation
  • It was like a second Marshall Plan
  • The USA couldn't afford to repeat Marshall Plan so NATO and OEEC called for 25% expansion of W.EUR industrial production for rearmament and consumer goods
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Anti-Communism in USA

  • Republicans wanted more aggressive stance against communism in USSR, CHN and KOR.
  • Need rearmament to be priority to end KOR war.
  • Joe McCarthy accused members of Truman's administraion of being Communist
  • The hunt began for alleged US Communists
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Soviet Threat to West

  • September 1949: USSR successfully tested first atomic bomb. In October, CHN fell to communists
  • Red Army were expanding and tanks and artillery increased
  • NATO was new and fears of DEU dominance in W.EUR stopped the USA building W.DEU army
  • Stalin could still win W.DEU over by offering unity and trade with POL and USSR - 80M people under Stalin's control
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Korean War and China

  • Communist People's Republic of CHN came to aid Communist N.KOR in November 1950
  • W.EUR were alarmed by rumours that USA would use nuclear weapons on CHN and lead to another world war and withdarwal of US troops in EUR
  • Truman reassured Atlee that they weren't to be used
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Facts and Figures

  • USA began developing hydrogen bomb 1950
  • US military spending tripled
  • Marshall Aid -> diverted to rearmament factory
  • NATO states increased expenditure from $4bn to $8bn in 1951
  • Led to inflation for ordinary people in NATO when large imports for coal, copper and rubber needed
  • Worried over political instability -> OEEC formed (nicknamed "guns and butter" because it produced rearmaments and goods)
  • People in GDR and Berlin now wanted to leave for the West
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