Abba Eban (1915–2002) was an Israeli diplomat who served as Minister of Education and Culture (1960–1963), Deputy Prime Minister (1963–1966), and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1966–1974). From 1949 to 1959 he served as the first ambassador to the United Nations for the newly established State of Israel. The speech from which this selection is excerpted provided the Israeli view of the question of the Palestinian refugees.
Translation by Clifford R. Backman
Abstract and Key Words
In 1950 the government of South Africa passed apartheid legislation known as the Group Areas Act No. 41, which required South Africans to reside only with members of their own race. At that time, the South African government recognized four racial groups: Black, white, “colored,” and Indian (South Asian). “Colored” encompassed mixed race people, as well as immigrants from Malaysia. Prior to 1950 many people lived in predominantly black, white or “colored,” areas, but mixed residential areas also existed—including a vibrant area of Cape Town called “District Six,” which was razed to the ground, and its non-white inhabitants forcibly removed. After the passage of Group Areas Act No. 41, an estimated three million people were involuntarily moved to segregated areas.
British Broadcasting Corporation
In May 1989, a protest movement gathered strength in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, as students convened and constructed a large statue called the Goddess of Democracy. By the beginning of June, the movement had turned into a generalized protest by workers and ordinary citizens in addition to the students. When they refused to disperse, the government sent in the army on June 4 to crush what, to many in the Communist Party, had become an incipient rebellion. The image of a lone man attempting to face down an approaching tank became the instant icon of the movement, but there are many other arresting narratives of the events that occurred during this protest. On the 15th anniversary of the suppression of these protests, the British Broadcasting Corporation interviewed survivors and eyewitnesses, gathering their testimonies into the report excerpted below.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Under the accelerating pressure of the American civil rights movement—and with images of African Americans being attacked and beaten as they demanded equality beaming across television screens—President Kennedy introduced civil rights legislation during his administration. Realizing that advocacy of this position might endanger the position of his Democratic Party, particularly in the South, in the elections of 1964, Kennedy continued to find ways to shape American public opinion while also cajoling Congress to implement this legislation. Civil rights advocates, spearheaded by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), convened in a march on Washington, DC, in August 1963. Marchers explicitly demanded “jobs and freedom.” While the electrifying speech King gave on that day is more remembered for its stirring conclusion about his “dream” and about letting “freedom ring,” the prepared remarks at the beginning of the speech reveal even more of King’s brilliance and the depth of his political thought.
Throughout the 1930s, Churchill had opposed the policy of “appeasement” advocated by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his allies in the British Parliament. His rise to the highest political office was facilitated by Chamberlain’s failure to deliver on the “peace in our time” he had promised after the Munich Agreement in September 1938. However, it was not until May 1940 that Churchill got his chance. Having calmed, encouraged, and directed the British people—and others—throughout the war years, Churchill was himself removed from power in 1945. Nevertheless, at this famous address delivered at Westminster College in Missouri in 1946, Churchill warned of a new regime that also could not, and should not, be appeased. It is considered one of the first salvos in the developing Cold War between the West and the Soviet bloc.
Churchill’s speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, delivered when Churchill was no longer Prime Minister, introduced the phrase “Iron Curtain” to describe the division of Europe between the Soviet Block and the West. This division is often taken to mark the beginning of the Cold War because it defined the deepening rift between the former allies and the widening gap between the ideologies of Communism and capitalist democracy. In his speech, Churchill outlines the emerging geopolitics of the era, in particular the dangers of nuclear confrontation, the need for increasing global cooperation, and the role of a strong United Nations.
From Jussi Hanhimäki and Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, pp. 47–8.
Salvador Allende led a coalition of socialists, communists, and liberal Christian Democrats to a plurality win as president of Chile in 1970. Many of his policies met opposition within Chile, while his ideology and nationalization of American interests in the country’s mines prompted the administration of US President Nixon (1969–1974) to back Allende’s opposition. With American blessings and CIA help, Allende was overthrown and murdered in 1973. He would be replaced with the repressive but friendlier (to the United States) regime of General Augusto Pinochet, who remained in office and repeatedly violated the human rights of Chileans until 1990. Nevertheless, the coup that toppled Allende ended with a riveting address by the deposed leader to his people.
Ghana Census Office
Abstract and Keywords
The kingdom of Ghana was originally an ancient and medieval Sudanese kingdom on the Guinea Coast with no fixed political boundaries and no single ethnic or national identity. Each community preserved its historical traditions and political autonomy. After what is present-day Ghana became the British Gold Coast Colony in the late nineteenth century, the boundaries of this new entity were set by colonial administrators. Decolonization after World War II brought independence in 1957, the first for an African country south of the Sahara.
Paul H. Nitze
This Report from the National Security Council to President Harry S. Truman laid out the framework for the policy of “containment” that guided US actions throughout the Cold War. Its main author was Paul H. Nitze, then the director of policy planning for the Department of State. The passage below discusses the conflict of ideas and values between the US and the Soviet Union.
From the National Archives “A Report to the National Security Council – NC 68,” April 12, 1950. President’s Secretary’s File, Truman Papers.
Just as the United States distrusted the Soviet Union, so the Soviet Union distrusted the United States, believing it to be inherently imperialist and bent on Soviet destruction. Intended as a retort to George Kennan’s “Long Telegram,” in which the American diplomat described Soviet postwar intentions, here Soviet ambassador to the United States, Novikov (1900–1976) described how he saw American foreign policy, suggesting in particular that what drove the United States was the imperialist tendencies of “monopolistic capitalism.” His view both informed and expressed the core of Soviet foreign policy in the postwar years.
From Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996, pp. 209–18.
Two years after becoming first secretary of the Soviet Politburo in 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev (b. 1931) launched his two trademark economic and political programs, perestroika (“restructuring”) and glasnost (“openness”). Hoping to revitalize communism, he restructured and partially dismantled the command economy that had dominated the Soviet Union since the Bolshevik Revolution. While perestroika did not work out as intended, glasnost, which permitted frank commentary and the exposure of incompetence and cover-ups by the Soviet leadership, had more wide-ranging consequences for the Soviet Union, which finally collapsed in 1991. Gorbachev summarized his attitude toward domestic politics for Western readers in a book published in English in 1987. However, a significant portion of the book also deals with Cold War tensions, as he was negotiating with President Reagan (1981–1989) of the United States, especially over the destruction of nuclear weapons.
Mikhail Gorbachev, Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World (New York: Harper & Row, 1987), 218–221.
Gamal Abdel Nasser
On June 9th, 1967, President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt resigned his office, after the failure of the Egyptian-led Six Day War against Israel. Nasser had held the presidency since 1956. He was out of office only briefly, however, since a series of nation-wide demonstrations by the people called for his reinstatement. He remained in power until his death in 1970. He blames the Arab defeat in the war on a secret alliance between Israel, Britain, and the United States, and ends with a renewed call for Arab nationalism and unity.
From Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin, The Arab-Israeli Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict, 7th edn. (2008), pp. 103–105.
The colonial history of Tanzania (then known as Tanganyika) bears many similarities to the experiences of other African colonies. The primary intention of both the German and British colonizers was the extraction of raw materials to be processed and sold in Europe. But although the production of such cash crops as cotton, coffee, sisal, and peanuts was ultimately dependent upon low-cost African labor, there was very little reciprocal European investment in local food production, education, or public health. Overall, the colonial economy in Tanzania (as in most other African colonies) was created by Europeans to serve their interests and their profits, and for many decades Tanzania was a net exporter of goods and wealth to Europe.
When Tanzanians began to demand self-rule in the 1950s, they found a ready leader and eloquent spokesman in Julius Nyerere, known fondly as mwalimu, or teacher in the national language of Kiswahili. Nyerere was born in a small rural village in colonial Tanzania in 1922, and as a young boy, he is reputed to have walked twenty-six miles to attend one of the few primary schools established by British missionaries. His superior academic performance and hard work led to a scholarship to study at Makerere University in neighboring Uganda, and later he became the first Tanzanian to study at a British University (the University of Edinburgh). Graduating with an M.A. in history and economics, Nyerere left Britain and returned to Tanzania in 1952, where he taught for several years.
In the 1950s, Nyerere became increasing involved in the national struggle for Tanzanian independence. In 1954, he founded the Tanganyika Africa National Union (TANU), a broad-based political party that advocated self-rule through national unity and nonviolent protest. After a period of difficult and protracted negotiations, Britain agreed to grant Tanzania complete independence in 1961, and Nyerere was duly elected president in the nations first democratic elections. Serving four successive terms from 1961 to 1985, Nyerere emerged as one of Africas most popular, respected, and idealistic leaders. He was one of the founders of the Organization of African Unity, a leader of the international nonaligned movement during the Cold War, and an active opponent of racism and apartheid in colonial Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) and South Africa.
Julius Nyerere, Socialism and Rural Development, in Freedom and Socialism: A Selection from Writings and Speeches 19651967, 33739, 340, 34548, 35152, 36466. Copyright 1968 Oxford University Press, Inc.
The Soviet view of the Cold War world is reflected in Ambassador Nikolai Novikov’s extended 1946 analysis of the postwar global situation and of U.S. policies and goals. Novikov’s assessment is significant, both because he was based in Washington, D.C., and because his assessment was produced almost exactly one year after the surrender of Japan had ended World War II. In a lengthy telegram to Moscow, Novikov surveyed American involvement in the main global arenas, assessed U.S. goals, and analyzed the roots of anti-Soviet sentiments in America. He concluded that America was an aggressive power that was actively preparing for a future war with Russia in order to achieve complete “world domination.”
Nikolai Novikov, “Telegram to Moscow” (27 September 1946), in Origins of the Cold War, ed. Kenneth M. Jensen (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 1991), 3–10, 12–16.
Ho Chi Minh (Nguyen Ai Quoc)
In September 1945, the same month that World War II officially ended, Ho Chi Minh (1890–1969) declared both Vietnamese independence and the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Ho, the head of the Vietminh (the League for the Independence of Vietnam), was both a Communist and the main leader of the Vietnamese nationalist, anticolonial movement. Ho had been raised in a pro-independence family, and he actually tried to present a petition for Vietnamese independence to President Woodrow Wilson in Paris in 1919. Rebuffed by the West, Ho turned to Communism and the Soviet Union, where he trained as a revolutionary in the 1920s. Having worked in the 1920s and 1930s as a revolutionary organizer in China and Moscow, Ho returned to Vietnam with the outbreak of World War II. There he established the Vietminh and cooperated, especially with American intelligence agents, in the war against the Japanese. The Japanese had ruled Indochina through the remaining French colonial authorities up to the very end of the war, when they set up direct Japanese rule. Thus, when the Japanese forces withdrew, there was no established government in Vietnam. Ho took advantage of this vacuum to proclaim the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence (1945), hoping that the United States would support his cause.
Ho Chi Minh, Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, in On Revolution, ed. Bernard B. Fall, 143–45. Copyright © 1967 by Praeger Publishers.