Strange to think, we were less than three years out of one World War and we were in danger of getting involved in another one. This one was over hearts and minds, of sorts. The influence of Communism as put forth by Moscow and the dire situation in a postwar Europe, struggling to get back on its feet – facing shortages, starvation and a rapidly disenfranchise population.
The West offered the Marshall Plan, but it wasn’t all things to all people. There was turmoil and there was concern on the parts of European governments that defense against possible Russian aggression wouldn’t be enough. And there was clearly pronounced fear that those countries were in line for some sort of Communist takeover. The Communist parties in France and Italy were becoming forces to reckon with and coming elections were of major concern, especially in Italy, where the Communist Party was becoming a dominant force in the political life of the country. The fear shared by most in Europe was the threat of a military invasion in the offing. It was that fear that became the basis for NATO; the alliance that, in effect said if one European country was attacked, all, including the U.S., would come to their aid.
So these concerns and explanations were the basis for this Commentary by Clifton Utley, an NBC reporter-commentator whose weekly program on NBC Radio posed the challenges of the issues of the day. In 1948 we were in the midst of a Cold War, it was a competition of sorts; who was offering what. And although it was a war of ideologies it was also a war of influence and ultimately power – but it was also a competition for that 20th century phenomenon; oil. And what was going on during these immediate postwar years would lay the groundwork for issues and upheavals taking place for decades after.
And since almost no decade has gone by without a war of one size or another since America got started, or a war of some sort in the rest of the world – maybe we’re just destined for that.
Here is Clifton Utley’s Commentary on Russian Aggression for April 11, 1948