Cold War in the Americas

The Cold War and the Americas 1945-1981
Truman, Eisenhower, Castro, Kennedy, Castro, LBJ,
Castro, Nixon, Castro, Carter, Castro, Reagan, Castro,
Castro, Castro…
Questions to Consider
• Was U.S. Latin American policy guided by ideology or
economic interest?
• Assess the policies of President Truman, containment
and its implication for the Americas.
• Review the policies of President Eisenhower and U.S.
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles: the reasons for the
New Look and its repercussions in the region.
• Evaluate the foreign policies of presidents Kennedy to
Carter, the characteristics and reasons behind policies.
• Understand the effects of the Cold War in Chile.
Harry Truman 1945-1953
• Democrat
• First U.S. Cold War
• Truman Doctrine,
• Hands full with Europe
and Asia
• Latin American policy
emphasis on keeping
commies out of the
Truman 1945-1953
• Latin American leaders expected continued U.S.
support of Good Neighbor Policy in return for their
support to the U.S. during WWII
– Reciprocal Trade Agreements
– Nonintervention
– Economic support (Marshall Plan for Latin America
• Pan- American (Regional) Conferences
– L.A. leaders emphasis on economic development, U.S.
emphasis on anti-communism and national security
– Act of Chapultepec (1946) self determination, sovereignty
– Rio Treaty (1947) – mutual defense for American states
Truman 1945-1953
• Truman admin. Interprets Rio Treaty as extension of
containment policy, positive U.S.–L.A. relations based
on being anti-communism
– 1947, U.S. pressures Brazil, Chile, Cuba to ban communist
organizations and break diplomatic relations with USSR
– “Compulsory, automatic (Cold War) allies of the U.S.”
– Many in Latin America saw Rio as a return to pre-Good
• School of the Americas
– Established 1945 by US in Panama to train LA military units
– National Guard units in Central America used to protect
dictatorships in Central America (Nicaragua, El Salvador,
Dominican Republic )
Truman 1945-1953
• Organization of American States (OAS)
– Formalization of regional defense pact
– Once again administration emphasis on Cold War defense
and anti-communist pledges (in spite of State Dept calls for
security through economic development)
• Truman’s 1949 Inaugural Address “Four Point
– Point Four- scientific, technical and financial aid to the
developing world.
– Less 3% of US aid goes to Latin American states
– Louis Halle (US State Dept) Mr. Y Foreign Affairs
Truman 1945-1953
• Bolivia
– 1952 Revolution
– Election won by left-leaning
Victor Estenssoro, (land reform,
universal suffrage)
– Truman refuses recognition of
Estenssoro government
• NSC-141
– “seek first..orderly political and
economic development which
will make LA nations resistant to
internal growth of communism
and Soviet political warfare.”
– “seek hemispheric solidarity in
support of our world policy.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower 1953-1961
• Republican
• Hands full with budget
• New Look, Domino Theory
• CIA covert operations
• Guatemala, Cuba
• The Dulles brothers
Ike 1953-1961
• National Security Act 1947, creation
of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
– Collect intelligence and data on foreign
– Section 102 cl. 5 “fifth function” …to
perform other functions and duties
related to intelligence affecting the
national security as the NSC may from
time to time direct..
– Eisenhower under advice of Sec. of State
John Foster Dulles and CIA director Allen
Dulles used covert ops in Iran, Guatemala
and planned action for Cuba
– Plausible deniability
Ike 1953-1961
• New Look
– Shift in military budget from large army and navy to building
the air force and nuclear stockpile.
– More bang for the buck. 1953= 1,200 nukes, 1961=22,000
– USSR building its own stockpile since 1949
– Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)
– Brinksmanship
– John Foster Dulles’ moral crusade against communism, shift
from mere containment to freeing oppressed peoples of the
world (Guatemala, Vietnam)
– Growing reliance on CIA covert operations (cheap, fast,
Ike 1953-1961
• New Look in Canada
– North Amercan
Aerospace Defense
Command (NORAD)
– Early warning system of
potential Soviet air raid
(bombers and missiles)
– Preemptive move by
Canadian government
Ike 1953-1961
• New Look in Latin America
– John Foster Dulles, communism on the rise in Latin America
– Domino Theory (his proof, China)
• Hindsight is 20/20
– U.S. perceives everything through pinko Cold War glasses
– Leftist leaders in LA may have had Marxist ideas but did not
support Stalin or his methods
– Land reform was a major political/economic issue in LA. More
about nationalism than communism
• Haciendas and plantations
• Ejido
• United Fruit Company (el pulpo)
Ike, The Dulles Brothers & Guatemala
• United Fruit Co.(UFCO)
– US company est.1889. Invest in LA,
cheap land, labor and taxes = big profits
– Invest in railroads and ports to support
– LA dictators (ex. Jorge Ubico) welcome
UFCO investment with low taxes, antiunion policies, and national guard
– UFCO amasses millions of acres of
prime growing land but only cultivates
15% of its holdings
Ike, The Dulles Brothers & Guatemala
• First Democratic Elections in
Guatemala 1945
– Jacobo Arbenz campaigns as a left
leaning reformer, becomes president in
• Agrarian Reform Bill/Decree 900
– Expropriation of uncultivated land
– Purchased at tax value, paid for with sale
of bonds
– 1.5 million acres redistributed to
100,000 families
– UFCO refused Guatemalan gov. offer, US
State Dept intervenes on behalf of UFCO
– Dulles connection
Ike, The Dulles Brothers & Guatemala
• US (Dulles Bros.) see Arbenz as a communist
– Pressures Organization of American States (OAS)to issue
Caracas Declaration (1945) in which member states vow to
stop Marxist influence within their governments.
– US declares an embargo on Guatemala
• Operation PBSUCCESS
– CIA covert operation to overthrow Arbenz
– Arbenz fearful of a coup requests arms sales from US (unaware
that the CIA is behind coup)
– US refuses arms sales, Arbenz seeks weapons from Poland
(Soviet Satellite state)
– US uses arms sale as proof that Arbenz is communist
Ike, The Dulles Brothers & Guatemala
• The Coup
– Honduras base of operation,
CIA funds a small army led
by exiled General Castillo
– Ahead of Armas CIA
launches psyops: radio
broadcasts of false troop
movements, CIA pilots in
false marked aircraft buzz
Guatemala City
– Panic ensues, Guatemalan
army refuses to fight
– Arbenz resigns an goes into
Ike, The Dulles Brothers & Guatemala
• The Coup Aftermath
– Armas is installed as the
new president and reverses
Decree 900, restoring all
expropriated land to UFCO
– Operation PBHISTORY
– Armas marks the beginning
of a string of brutal dictators
to rule Guatemala until
– Today, Guatemala is poorest
state in Central America
Glorious Victory
artist Diego Rivera
Vice-Pres. Nixon Visits Latin America
• May 1958 Ike sends Nixon
to LA
– Shocked by widespread antiUS protests (students)
– Caracas and Lima students
turn violent
– US State Dept blames
communists agitators
– Nixon urges Ike increase
economic aid to LA
– US recession and deficit
spending force Ike to cut
economic aid to LA
• July 26th, 1953: Fidel Castro and 160
rebels are defeated in their attack on the
Moncada army barracks in attempt to
overthrow dictator Fulgencio Batista
• Fidel and brother Raul are arrested and
sentenced to 15 yrs. prison, only to be
released in 1955.
• Castro bros. meet Ernesto “Che” Guevara
in Mexico, organize the 26th July
Movement, and launch another attack in
• Castro’s revolutionary army retreats to
Sierra Maestra & builds peasant support
for the revolution.
• Eisenhower cuts ties with Batista and
embargoes arms shipments to Cuban
government (Why?)
Post-Revolution 1959-1960
• Castro begins to purge the military
and police of Batista loyalists
• While visiting the U.S., Castro says
"I know the world thinks of us, we
are Communists, and of course I
have said very clear that we are not
Communists; very clear."
• Eisenhower officially recognizes
Castro’s post-revolution Cuban
Post-Revolution Period 1959-1960
• U.S. concerned by Cuban agrarian reforms including redistribution
of land, tries to pressure Cuba economically by cutting Cuba’s sugar
imports and oil exports from the U.S. to Cuba
• March 1960, the Le Coubre explodes in Havana harbor.
(sound familiar)
• March 1960: Eisenhower authorizes the CIA to recruit and train
Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro.
• October 1960: U.S. imposes trade embargo. So, Cuba began to open
trade relations with the Soviet Union.
• January 3, 1961: US withdrew diplomatic recognition of the Cuban
government and closed the embassy in Havana
• Kennedy is elected president Nov. 1960
More to Come…

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