KISSINGER'S DIPLOMACY, THE COLD WAR AND THE EASTERN EUROPEAN REVOLUTIONS

The evolution of post-war Europe, generated also by the appearance of the spheres of influence, represented a turning point in the dynamics of the multiple relations between these countries, with all the consequences of the cleavage resulting from the Paris Peace Treaty. Almost fifty years of ideological bipolarity have ensured in Europe the borders of nation-states that were recorded and accepted by legal norms of the international law. None of the world’s great political actors were willing to violate them, regardless of the circumstances of the moment. Under these conditions, „Stalin limited his ambitions, establishing control over what became a satellite Europe – practically a new regional empire under the control and, since then, under the protection of the Soviet military power, while operating through obedient communist parties.” [1]

The misunderstandings, the fear and the mistrust, beyond the major differences in political and economic philosophy, have fueled what has been generically recorded in history, sociology and political science as the Cold War. The nuclear weapons have increased the confusion and indecision of the most important political actors globally. The protagonists of this unconventional war, basically a socio-political concept that was operationalized over time, were the USA and the USSR. The maintenance of the spheres of influence in post-war Europe and the intrinsic coordinates of the Cold War subordinated the nations and attitudes of the great powers and their allies in tense and emotionally charged moments for one people or another in the area. „The Cold War was an expression of a deep antagonism in the field of ideas and behavior, but not accompanied by territorial disputes and therefore carried out in the form of a permanent criticism. And, since it did not involve territorial disputes, it could become a global war.” [2]

Imposing this regional empire under the protection of the USSR and the communist ideology was not a simple process. The fundamental change of state structures, mentalities and beliefs of the people was a long process that was based on many human sacrifices. The dissatisfaction of the population, the spontaneous riots or the street demonstrations have been recorded in the GDR, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary since the early 1960s. At the same time, at the level of the leadership of some communist parties, especially after Stalin’s death, real underground struggles took place, for taking over the power, usually between the pro-Soviet and the nationalist wing within these parties.

The events in Hungary in 1956, also known as the Hungarian Revolution, represented a clear attitude against the Soviet system imposed on his country. The public statements of Nagy, the Hungarian leader, at the end of October 1956 left no room for ambiguity. He called for the country to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and for the UN to recognize his country’s neutrality. The USSR could not accept such requirements under any circumstances. Peter Calvacoressi, a renowned historian, noted: „The suppression of the Hungarian revolution in 1956 was one of those extremely brutal political acts, which seriously affected its actors, but which took into account the fact that, if such an action had not been repressed, its effects would have been much serious „. [3]

How did the West and the United States react? What kind of analysis affected their political or other type of behaviors in those tragic moments? Henri Kissenger, one of the most famous American statesmen, revealed the conclusions behind closed doors. „Neither the United States nor the European allies have taken any steps to persuade the United Nations to consider Nagy’s message as a matter of urgency (recognition of neutrality – s.n.). Would it have been in the power of democracies to prevent their action? (Soviet intervention – s.n.). The propaganda broadcast by Radio Free Europe produced a wave of hope that had exceeded even what Dulles (CIA director – s.n.) had predicted in his 1952 article in Life Magazine. … The refusal to risk a war to overthrow the communist control on Eastern Europe had been an explicit American policy for a decade. … The democracies were not in a position to start a war because of Hungary, but they could have outlined the spectrum of political and economic costs of the Soviet repression…. However, the leaders of the United States of America did not want to endanger American lives for a cause that, no matter how much it disturbed their conscience, did not directly concern the interests of the American security. In terms of interests, the refusal of the United States to undertake the risk of war was inevitably appropriate…” [4]

Clearly, a highly authoritative voice of the American politics explains the reasons for non-intervention, cynicism being validated once again in the vocabulary of politics. The USA and the European allies were much more interested at that point in the Suez Canal crisis, which somewhat overlapped with the crisis in Hungary, treated with total indifference from a practical point of view. There is a certain consistency of the West towards the social and pre-revolutionary movements of the peoples of Eastern Europe against the communist system. „Despite vague Western protests, this invasion (Czechoslovakia 1968 – s.n.) did not pose a threat to the international peace and did not stop the course of the Soviet-American relaxation …” [5].

Beyond declarations and good intentions, the recognition of martyrs, the resetting of some events in their place in the history of the Eastern European peoples, we can record:

  • Imposing the communist ideology in the satellite countries of the USSR in the post-war stage was a complex process carried out with all the means that were at the disposal of the system that was to be achieved.
  • The social movements, strikes, popular demonstrations, dissidence and riots were repressed with anger and explicit violence.
  • The unconditional capitulation of the Nazi Germany turned the USSR, with the support of the Western Allies, into the main political and military actor in Europe, and the mutual recognition of the spheres of influence was recorded in treaties and in other norms of the international law. Who could have afforded a violent destructuring of a relative continental stability?
  • Until the meeting in Malta, in 1989, between Gorbachev and Bush, the Yalta agreements were respected by both parties.
  • The establishment of the UN and the state of Israel was done with the explicit consent of the USSR.

Under these conditions, the USSR, the USA and the Western Allies strictly adhered to the post-war agreements in Europe. The Hungarian revolution and the intervention in Czechoslovakia were „marked” by the West on the radio, in the media and with applause for those who were defeated. The global Cold War had fueled energy, human and financial resources, the arms race to other parts of the world. We have remained on hold, being the smallest of the Eastern European countries, not being a direct target of the Western interests in the last fifty years of the last millennium. Time is the only thing that can clarify certain real interferences in the history of one people or another.

 

At the end of the ninth decade, did we, the Romanians, the Hungarians, the Bulgarians, the Poles, the Czechs, the Slovaks free ourselves, were we liberated or did they let us free ourselves? It was easier with the former Yugoslavs. In the first stage, they liberated themselves, followed by the „geopolitical plates theory” which, once out of hand, became shattered.

The text represents the point of view of the author

Bibliografie

[1] P. Calvacoressi, Rupeți rândurile!, Ed. Polirom, 2000, p. 25
[2] P. Calvacoressi, Politica mondială după 1945, Ed. Allfa, 2000, p. X
[3] Idem, p, 280
[4] H. Kissinger, Diplomația, Ed. All, 2002, pp. 490-494
[5] P. Calvacoressi, op. cit. p. 286

Velemir Radovan

Velemir Radovan

Sociologist, University of Bucharest, Faculty of Philosophy, Sociology specialization. Phd. Sociology, University of Bucharest, PhD, Social and Political Sciences. Postgraduate in public administration / civil servants driving /, Organizational Management, National Institute of Administration, Bucharest. DIPLOME POSTUNIVERSITAIRE DE SPECIALISATION EN'' POULATION ET DEVELOPPEMENT'', CENTRE DEMOGRAPHIQUE O.N.U.-ROUMANIE. Certificate diploma, Three-step training program for social child protection specialists, USAID, WORLD LEARNING CHILDNET PROGRAM, UNICEF, CRIPS. Certificate of Developer, DFID, MMSS,BIRKS SINCLAIR&ASSOCIATESLTD.. Other certifications: Project manager. Trainer. Mediator. Expert in social work. . Measuring poverty and social exclusion. Fundamentals of Public Administration. Social Management. Social services development.
Global Goodwill Ambassador. Humanitarian. Sociologist, Head of Department, Executive Director, General Manager, Labour and Social Security Service, Olt County, ROMANIA. Associate Professor, University of Pitești, Romania.. RESEARCHER, IRSOP-MARKET RESEARCHCONSULTING Ltd., Bucharest. Expert, Birks Sinclair & Associates Ltd, Ministry of Labour, DFID. Member, Executive Secretary, COMMISSION FOR PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN. Executive Secretary, Demography County Commission, OLT. Publications: BOOKS, RESEARCH, STUDIES, ESSEYS.

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