Policy in Transition

  • Samuel R. WilliamsonJr.
  • Steven L. Rearden
Part of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Series on Diplomatic and Economic History book series (WOOROO)


The months that witnessed American efforts to control atomic energy also saw the simultaneous erosion of US-Soviet relations, a process that would eventually give rise to a more militant American policy involving greater reliance on nuclear weapons. Growing suspicions about Soviet intentions in Eastern Europe and Manchuria, alarm over the Soviet failure to leave Iran, new fears about Russian ambitions in the Turkish Straits, and the Soviet Union’s obstructionist behavior in the United Nations all contributed to reinforcing the harder, more “realistic” assessments being offered around Washington of long-range Soviet ambitions. So too did Stalin’s provocative speech of February 9, 1946, announcing three or more new five-year industrial development plans to guarantee the Soviet Union against “all contingencies,” a statement that Justice William O. Douglas at the time called “The Declaration of World War III.”1 Meanwhile, in Western Europe, the Italian and French communist parties grew increasingly strident. In these months of transition, roughly from September 1946 through December 1947, the public rupture of Soviet-American relations slowly evolved. During this period, new initiatives, including the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, and new institutions created by passage of the 1947 National Security Act would also appear, adding in their own ways, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, to the rapidly changing face of relations between Washington and Moscow and, eventually, to American perceptions of the role nuclear weapons should play in that relationship.


National Security Fiscal Year Central Intelligence Agency Marshall Plan National Security Council 
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Copyright information

© Samuel R. Williamson, Jr. and Steven L. Rearden 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel R. WilliamsonJr.
    • 1
  • Steven L. Rearden
    • 2
  1. 1.SewaneeUSA
  2. 2.USA

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