What do the following quotes from Cold War era US presidents have in common?Words of Cold Warriors   Force is the only thing the Russians understand, Stalin showed what he was after...the Russians...

What do the following quotes from Cold War era US presidents have in common?

Words of Cold Warriors


Force is the only thing the Russians understand, Stalin showed what he was after...the Russians were planning world conquest -Harry S. Truman July 1945

There are only two ways: peaceful coexistance, or the most destructive war in history. There is no third way - Nikita Khrushchev. 1956

I am not going to be the president who saw Southeast Asia go the way China went - U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964

The Soviet Union is an evil empire with which talks are fruitless. Soviet leaders reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat -Ronald Reagan, 1980


The comments made by presidents Truman, Johnson and Reagan are similar in that they appear to

A. reject diplomatic solutions to conflict

B. accept detente between the superpowers

C. reject confrontation because of the risk of nuclear war

D. accept collective security as a means of encouraging negotiations

Expert Answers
askteacherz eNotes educator| Certified Educator
From the response provided prior I am in agreement. The presidents and the quotes that are provided prompt a hardline approach to dealing with the Soviet Union. I guess for the sake of being more analytical I am curious as to why the quote from Khrushchev? "...under pressure from communist hard-liners, Khrushchev would routinely switch between being friendly and challenging the West. Despite his personal gestures to Kennedy, Khrushchev would talk tough in public." Khrushchev is an interesting player in the Cold War and the presence of the quote would indicate that there's is some relevance. From the brief quote above from the eNotes reference area there may be an even more vital thread of similarity not just between the presidential quotes but rather from all four of them. Here is that common thread: ALL of them have in common the fact that they must provide a public stance of being tough, firm and unwavering in opposition their perspective foe. However, the underlined, perhaps closet agenda of all of them was to avoid war and be that leader that forged a peaceful coexistence between the two super powers. One only has to look ahead in the Soviet Union to Gorbachev; Perestroika had sweeping effects in not just the Soviet Union, but in the world. Of course, along with Reaganomics, the relationship Reagan developed with Gorbachev and the subsequent breakup of the communist block is viewed as one of his greatest achievements. Reagan will not be remembered for the quote you are using rather he will be remembered for having forged a meaningful relationship with his nemesis as will all these US Presidents. Therefore I submit that the true likeness of all these individual is not what is directly in the words of the quote but rather what is between the lines; a hard shell on the outside protecting ones image with the yoke of peace ready to grow inside.
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The only possible answer to this question is A.  The comments by the three American presidents are similar because they are all fairly aggressive and imply that the presidents will act strongly against their enemies.

If you look at the other options, none of them even make sense.  First of all, there is not a single mention of nuclear weapons or a single mention of the UN or any other collective security group so you would have no reason to pick C or D.  Detente is the lessening of tension between the superpowers.  Do any of these quotes make it sound like the presidents would like to decrease tensions?  No--they all sound like the presidents would like more tension with the communists.

So A is the only possible answer because none of the three sound anything like what you say if you are looking to talk out your differences with your enemies.