"Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick provide a critical overview of US foreign policy during the past few decades. There is much here to reflect upon. Such a perspective is indispensable at a time when decisions are being taken that will shape America's role in the global world of the twenty-first century. At stake is whether the United States will choose to be the policeman of a "Pax Americana", which is a recipe for disaster, or partner with other nations on the way to a safer, more just and sustainable future."
‘We all live in a fog’ is as good a tag line for The Untold History of the United States as you could imagine after you watched this ten part 2012 documentary series directed, produced, and narrated by Oliver Stone. It is a critical examination of the history of the United States of America from WW2 up to the and including the Obama administration. The history involves many things that the viewer may have suspected but that have now been ‘confirmed’ by Stone and historian Peter Kuznick. Drawing on archival findings and recently declassified documents Stone tells us in the introduction to the series that “History is exciting, and I want to make it as exciting as it can be. We take a history subject, and we make it not only dramatic, but we are compassionate. I always felt there’s a disconnect about what’s officially reported and what actually happened. We can’t accept the stuff that’s handed down. This is the key to the whole series, is to find out how we got to where we are and who we are”. Without spoiling your ‘enjoyment’, if that’s the right word, of the series I will give you a brief synopsis of each of the episodes to hopefully wet your appetite for viewing this extremely important and eye opening documentary.
Chapter One. World War Two.
|Churchill with Roosevelt.|
Set’s out to prove that without the Soviet Union Germany would not have been defeated.
Chapter Two. Roosevelt, Truman and Wallace.
The 1943 Detroit race riots and the domestic and international implications.
Chapter Three. The Bomb.
Contrary to what’s taught in schools across the USA, the filmmakers found the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were militarily unnecessary and morally indefensible because Japan were already defeated before the bomb’s were dropped. The main reason for this action was to scare the Soviets!
Chapter Four. The Cold War.
The United States, not the Soviet Union, bore the lion’s share of responsibility for perpetuating the Cold War by exaggerating Soviet aggression. Between 1945 and 1950 the USA controlled over 50% of world trade, two thirds of the 70million who died in WW2 were civilians. Britain’s acceptance of some very large loans after the war, to be repaid over fifty years, meant that it virtually became another state of US. The American Dream meant that their public became the most armed in the world and the country’s ambition was to become the world’s police force. It was American propaganda that put pay to the East and the West ever living side by side and it was during this period that the CIA was formed to protect the USA’s capitalist interest around the world by any means possible.
Chapter Five. The 50’s: Eisenhower, The Bomb and the Third World.
The USA gets ever more powerful after the death of Stalin in 1953. With the help of the CIA they instigated wars against ordinary people to increase their capitalism in the third world. Before Cuba freed its people from America’s yolk the USA controlled 80% of their production. Increasing the nuclear arsenal to exaggerate the Dr Strangelove paranoid scenario. The world becomes a far more dangerous place after Eisenhower’s presidential tenure.
Chapter Six. JFK: To The Brink.
|Cuba was America's obsession.|
The 1960 American presidential election was fought over the subject of communism with a fight between Richard Nixon and Kennedy. On January 15th 1961 JFK became the first catholic President of the United States of America. Again the threat from the Eastern block countries was still being exaggerated by the US, but the figures spoke for themselves USA had 25000 nuclear weapons and 1500 bombers whereas the USSR has 2500 nuclear weapons and 192 bombers. Stands to reason who was the biggest threat to world peace! The Berlin wall was erected because of the constant threat from America and this single act did more to defuse the treat of nuclear war than any other at the time. Cuba was still being obsessed over by the very near neighbours who made various attempts on Fidel Castro’s life. JFK instigated a nuclear test ban treaty and campaigned for an end to the cold war between the US and the USSR and because of this made many enemies resulting in his execution in Dallas Texas. Agent orange was used in Vietnam and this war was swiftly becoming an ever more frightening nightmare of America’s own making.
Chapter Seven. Johnson, Nixon and Vietnam. The reversal of Fortune.
Continuing their fight against mans freedom the military might of America not only extended its influence across the world but also on its own people. The US influence in Brazil made the gap between rich and poor even more pronounced as it did in many other countries where it supported right wing governments crushing peoples wish for freedom. This included Indonesia where the CIA removed the anti US president killing approximately one million people in the process, many in their own homes. In Greece the CIA put their own man in as leader of the country. Lyndon Johnson reversed JFK’s peace treaty; his lies and covert action have been blamed for starting the US hostilities in North Vietnam. Robert Kennedy was assassinated. Nixon becomes President of the United States of America, which led to more chaos and disorder at home and away, including the invasion of Cambodia and Laos. Also the My Lai massacre took place at this time where between 347 and 504 men, women, children and baby’s were slaughtered by the Americans. Nixon was re-elected in 1972; the American army, made up in most part by working class kids, finally left Vietnam in March 1973 with their tails between their legs. Then came Watergate and the resignation of Richard Nixon. When Gerald Ford (who it was said could not chew gum and fart at the same time) became President America’s attention turned to Latin America exerting CIA influence across countries including Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru. Where the CIA trained Secret Police and Death Squads continued to excerpt US influence against mainly the human rights and freedoms of inhabitants of these countries.
Chapter 8. Reagan, Gorbachev and the Third World: Rise of the Right.
|Who would you trust?|
The Republican Party moved further to the right and America became ever more obsessed with stopping Communism any where in the world. In 1972 Nixon signed a treaty with China and in 1973 as I have said, pulled out of Vietnam. Following Ford’s presidency Jimmy Carter was elected in 1977, which the Iran crisis destroyed. When Russia invaded Afghanistan it was the Americans that provided arms for the Taliban to fight their Holy War. Then in 1981 America became under the power of the moneymen again and Ronald Reagan became America’s figurehead. It was before and during Reagan’s time in the White House that the USA supported more anti communist rebels in countries like Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Granada. Over 70000 civilians died in these conflicts and even after Congress banned the US support Reagan continued with it. It was the USA that provided Saddam Hussein with the means of chemical warfare. At this time the US had 11200 strategic warheads and the USSR had 9900. Demonstrations against the arms race continued, Gorbachev reduced his spending but Reagan’s nuclear space wars programme went ahead unabated. Reagan could at this time with the willing support of the USSR rid the world of nuclear weapons but the opportunity slipped through his fingers.
Chapter 9. Bush and Clinton: Triumphalism, New World Order.
Certain sections of American society had supported the Nazis during WW2 including George W Bush’s father, Ford Motors made military vehicles for there war effort, some of America’s biggest company’s traded with Germany up to 1941. Even some of the Nazis looted gold ended up in American bank vaults allowing Germany access to war funds. In 1989 George W Bush was elected President, Gorbachev was still trying for worlds peace and was reforming Russia and the Berlin Wall came down. America rescinded on its promise that Nato would not expand into Russian territories. The same year the US invaded Panama and removed Noriega who was said to be on the CIA’s payroll. In 1990 America turn their attention to the Middle East and 70000 troops take part in Desert Storm. Bill Clinton, whose presidency from 1993 to 2001was marred by sexual shenanigans, then we had the return of Bush Jr who regained the highest position in America by cheating! He increased defence spending, had fewer press conferences and spent more time away from the Pentagon than any president before him. It was under his watch that 9/11 Twin Tower attack took place. Help from Putin was ignored and the USA voiced the language of violence becoming in their eyes the new Roman Empire. Its military might intent on world domination.
Chapter 10. Bush and Obama: Age of Terror.
Martin Luther King begins the final chapter in this intriguing series when he questions the priorities of United States of America by asking why do they (the USA power elite) continue to spend money on military weapons instead of social uplift? Which is about to happen in the UK with the upgrading of Trident. Bush and Chaney continue to build up the strength of the armed forces and their weapons of mass destruction. Considering the US turned a blind eye to Saddam Hussein atrocities they decide to invade Iraq and threaten other Middle Eastern countries accusing them of harbouring terrorists. Saddam is accused of having weapons of mass destruction, something that’s never been proved. Moving into the technological age of electronic spying and intercepts with the US Homeland Security spying on their own people, something else the UK government is keen on doing. After the invasion of Afghanistan in 2003 the USA lock up 680 people suspected of terrorist acts, although only 8% of this number was ever proved. By 2012 it still houses 166 people from 20 different countries.
|Henry Wallace could of made such a difference to world peace.|
At present America is the greatest threat to world peace even under Obama whose presidency promised so much when he was elected 2009 but has been a tremendous let down. Even with the collapse of the banks in 2008 Obama’s neoliberal bankers still have a great deal of influence. The present poverty rate is higher that at any time since the 1960’s with the richest 1% having more total wealth than the bottom 99% of the population. National electronic snooping has got far worse with the like of Bradley Manning locked up for exposing the truth and we are all at the mercy of the ‘security state’. Although promises have been made to decrease the military there is a greater dependence on outer space and cyberspace with drones being used as a new deadly type of warfare. In 2011 78% of the worlds arm sales were made by the USA. Who do they sell this weaponry too? America is moving back to Asia, who is their next target – China? It is a proven fact that the US and the UK’s invasion of Iraq ramped up the Islamist Brigade’s across the Middle East, which at present other than America itself are the biggest threat in 2015. If Henry Wallace had became the President of the United States in 1948 there seems not doubt that the US would not have spread death and bloodshed across the modern world.
 A term applied to the historical concept of relative peace in the Western Hemisphere and later the Western world resulting from the preponderance of power enjoyed by the United States beginning around the middle of the 20th century.
 Mikhail Gorbachev October 2012.
 Oliver Stone.