Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Truman 2

During the New Deal the Roosevelt administration opened the door so that communists, socialists, social democrats, progressives and liberals could work together in a broad Popular Front of social reform. They did not always get along, but they did work together for certain shared goals. Reformer and revolutionary cooperated in setting up necessary immediate reforms. During World War II most groups would step back from these programs in order to concentrate on winning the War. After the War there was a concerted effort to curb any further reforms to Keynesian Capitalism. Big financial institutions, industrial corporate executives, Republicans, Southern Democrats, Old Guard Machine Democrats all said enough is enough and progressive New Deal Democrats and their socialist allies of all persuasions would have to be taught a lesson. At first Truman was neutral on this debate, but soon he learned by targeting progressive New Dealers he could gain popular and bi-partisan support for his foreign policies.
From the beginning of the New Deal congressional right wing, fought the New Deal all the way. Using red bating as their main avenue of attack. Yet the popularity of the Roosevelt squad, the man himself and the try one thing if “that don’t work, try something else approach” made the New Deal impervious to assaults from Republican, private enterprise big business advocates, backward-looking rugged individualists. Yet the New Deal remained popular with small rural communities and industrial working class neighborhoods.

During the War, because of the alliance between the Soviet Union and the United States serious red bating carried little weight among a large portion of the American Population. After the War Southern Democrats, Republicans, Urban Machine Democrats would cooperate in red bating New Deal progressives, socialists, communist and just about anyone that would have supported Roosevelt if he was still alive.

In 1945 and early 1946 Truman seemed uninterested in this second red scare. There wasn’t much support in the nation as a whole if polls mean anything. Both the fear of immigrant opinions corrupting traditional American values with radical foreign ideas and New Deal slipping into real socialism failed to gain broad popular support. The shift from concern of a socialist economy replacing capitalism to a threat of an overseas seditious conspiracy with its internal subversive supporters was a Truman conception. One in which by his second administration Truman would lose control of this his baby.

While the Soviet Union was really undemocratic and intolerant of any dissent and clearly what was happening in Eastern Europe was cruel and exceedingly tragic there was no evidence that the Soviets were encouraging the large and popular Communist Parties in France and Italy to seize power by undemocratic means. There was no indication in early 1947 that the Soviets were either leading or supplying the Democratic Army of Greece after the civil war broke out. There was no proof that the Soviets were in control of the Communist movements in China or Indochina.

The Republican and Southern Democratic dominated House Committee on UnAmerican Activities would very soon change its focus to the threat of support of Soviet policies i.e. a Communist or Communist supporter. Truman had already begun orchestrating the fear of Soviet aggression, the spread in international communism outside of the Soviet Union and within the US an internal threat to national security. These threats would be presented to the American people as being the same threat. The American people were soon infected with this fear. The Republican anti-communism was modified accordingly to keep up and surpass Truman. If all Americans were to stand united against this threat, then any further expansion on the New Deal reform would need to take a back seat to national security, according to Republicans.

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