WORLD CUP OF SOCCER GROUP C: THROUGH A COLD WAR LENS
Group C teams include England, Algeria, USA, and Slovenia. Stats and team info are courtesy of ESPN.
Nickname: THE THREE LIONS
Record: W 25/ D 17/ L 13
Best Performance: Winners in ’66
Group Stage Schedule:
June 12 vs. USA- Draw
June 18 vs. Algeria –
June 23 vs. Slovenia at 9:30 AM ET
The country that invented the game hasn’t raised the trophy in 44 long years, but 2010 might be THE THREE LIONS’ best chance. In World Cup of Soccer South Africa, the English will look to Italian manager Fabio Capello and stars Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, and Steven Gerrard to help them finally get ’66 off their backs.
It’s interesting to look at England’s role in the early Cold War through the eyes of Russia’s leader, Joseph Stalin. Marxist-Leninist ideology influenced his assumptions.
Stalin’s most important belief centered on his opinion that the capitalists — the United States and Great Britain — would never be able to cooperate with one another over the long haul. Their inherent greediness and their desire to place profits above politics would prevail. It was inevitable the the communists would succeed, so they just needed to wait it out and observe their adversaries self-destruction. The capitalists would come running to the Soviet Union for assistance instead of the other way around.
According to this line of thinking, Great Britain would sooner or later split with the US over economic rivalries. As late as 1952, Stalin insisted that “The inevitability of wars between capitalist countries remains in force.”
The capitalists would soon begin quarreling with one another, and the Europeans would embrace communism.
Clearly, Stalin’s thinking was out of line with British objectives. Gaddis says that Churchill’s goal was simple: survive at all costs, even if this means relinquishing leadership of the Anglo-American coalition to Washington, weakening the British Empire, and — even — collaborating with the Soviet Union.
Of course, the British would attempt to influence the Americans as much as possible, but they would not be at odds with them. This was evident quite early on when Churchill and Truman met in Missouri. Churchill’s speech there gave a name to the division between the Allies and the Soviets. He called it an Iron Curtain. The transcript of the Iron Curtain speech is at Winston Churchill, “The Sinews of Peace”. Go here for a recording of the same speech.
Nickname: LES FENNECS (The Desert Foxes)
Record: W 2/ D 1/ L 3
Best Performance: Group Stage in ’82, ’86
Group Stage Schedule:
June 13 vs. Slovenia – Loss
June 18 vs. England – Draw
June 23 vs. USA at 9:30 AM ET
One of the biggest World Cup of Soccer upsets came in 1982 when Algeria beat West Germany in Spain. LES FENNECS qualified for the 1986 tournament also, but have remained silent since. After their 2009 upset over Egypt qualified them for South Africa, Goalkeeper Frouzi Chrouchi showed just how important 2010 is for Algeria and Africa.
Algeria was a colony of France from 1830 until it gained independence in 1962. In 1954, the National Liberation Front (FLN) launched a guerrilla campaign that became the Algerian War of Independence.
Algeria’s War of Independence is a good example of the wars of liberation that were prevalent during the Cold War era.
So far as the superpowers were concerned, decolonization was not a significant issue during the early Cold War years. The Soviet Union remained anti-imperialist but advancing revolution in the Third World was less important to Stalin than recovering from the World War II and attempting to spread his influence as much as possible in Europe.
The United States, for its part, was not about to defend European colonialism.
The situation could not last, however. It was not long before issues of nationalism and anticolonialism became central to superpower strategy.
In the case of Algeria, the French humiliation after the Suez Crisis complicated the war being fought in Algeria. France asserted that Algeria was not a colony but part of France itself. One of the French motives in attacking Egypt had been to stop Nasser’s support of the Algerian independence movement, the FLN. The plan backfired though.
After Suez, Nasser’s support for the FLN intensified, and Soviet propaganda in the Middle East began to focus on Algeria as a symbol of Western imperialism.
The war became increasingly controversial in France after the newspaper Le Monde published a secret report that acknowledged the systematic use of torture as a central feature of the French campaign.
The Americans were in a bind. They believed that colonialism could only discredit the West, and weaken the European allies who still had colonies. But the US couldn’t detach itself from its British, French, Dutch, and Portuguese allies. Restoring security and prosperity in postwar Europe was too important.
The risk that Third World nationalists would associate the Americans with imperialism was high. In fact, Khruschev was counting on this.
Importantly, it was widely acknowledged that the choices of newly independent states like Algeria could tip the balance of power in the Cold War.
Although Algeria attended the Bandung Conference of non-aligned nations, the country was socialist, receiving most of its military supplies from the Soviet Union.
Its primary military supplier has been the former Soviet Union, which has sold various types of sophisticated equipment under military trade agreements, and the People’s Republic of China. Algeria has attempted, in recent years, to diversify its sources of military material.
United States of America (USA)
Nickname: THE YANKS
Record: W 6/ D 3/ L 16
Best Performance: Third place in ’30
Group Stage Schedule:
June 12 vs. England – Draw
June 18 vs. Slovenia – Draw
June 23 vs. Algeria at 9:30 AM ET
The USA enters South Africa World Cup of Soccer with momentum. The team won its region in qualifying, toppled #1 ranked Spain and placed 2nd at the 2009 FICA Confederations Cup. In the teams 6th straight appearance, Landon Donovan will the the USA into battle in Group C against historic rival England in what could be the biggest game in US soccer history.
For the last half of the twentieth century, the US was preoccupied with Communism and the Red Scare. In the context of the American – Soviet rivalry, postwar rhetoric about Godless Commies infused American popular culture.
For decades, a propaganda war intruded into Americans’ everyday lives. People truly believed that REDS were around every corner and under every bed.
America’s fear of communism was not new.
Years before World War II and the US engaged alliance with the USSR, Americans were conditioned by politicians, businessmen, clergy, and the press to fear Communists.
A brief history:
After the Russian Revolution, communism was the dread of America’s industrial leaders who feared labor unrest. In turn, they convinced average Americans that their lives were threatened by Communists who were among the immigrants entering the United States.
Years before the American Communist Party was founded, the word “communism” was synonymous with un-Americanism.
During the Great Depression, communism gained a foothold among American working and intellectual classes who opposed the policies of President Hoover that had plunged the nation into economic disaster.
Throughout Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency, FDR’s congressional opponents spent much of their time proposing bills that would limit immigration, free speech, and free assembly for suspected Communists and deport foreign-born Communists.
Congress often flirted with the idea of legally prohibiting the Communist Party.
The war against Germany and the wartime alliance with the Soviet Union temporarily changed the dominant stereotypes. But, by 1948, anti-Communist militancy was sweeping the country.
During the Cold War, communism was blamed for a multitude of sins, escalating America’s fears. The Soviet menace was clearly visible in actions like the blockade of Berlin.
Fear of spies, threats of a Communist takeover, and paranoia about nuclear war were exploited as reality as well as fantasy, influencing generations for years to come.
The most forceful period of Red-Baiting in the US reached its height in the mid- to late ’50s. It remained dominant until replaced by fears of the “Evil Empire.”
Soon after President Reagan’s Evil Empire Speech, the Cold War began to wind down, the Red Scare dissipated, and Moscow’s first McDonald’s opened.
Nickname: THE ZMAJCEKI (Dragons)
Record: W 0/ D 0/ L 3
Best Performance: Group Stage in ’02
Group Stage Schedule:
June 13 vs. Algeria – Draw
June 18 vs. USA – Draw
June 23 vs. England – at 9:30 AM ET
Slovenia caught everyone by surprise by slaying the giant bear of Russia to Qualify for its second ever World Cup of Soccer. Led by Striker Milivoje Novakovic, Slovenis is the smallest country in the 2010 World Cup (population:2 million). Still, it is certainly one to keep an eye on — especially for fellow Group C teams USA, England, and Algeria.
At the end of World War II, Slovenia became part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a socialist state established under the leadership of the Communist, Josip Tito.
Yugoslavia was one of the Soviet Union’s most reliable allies at the end of World War II, but its leader, Josip Broz Tito, had come to power on his own. He and his partisans had driven out the Nazis, and, unlike other Eastern European leaders, he did not depend on Stalin’s support to stay in power. By the end of 1948, he had openly broken with Moscow.
After the Tito-Soviet split, Tito began to pioneer the process of non-alignment. He remained a dedicated communist, but he was determined not to sacrifice his country’s sovereignty for ideological solidarity.
His idea was to commit to neither side in the Cold War, but to leave open the possibility of taking sides with either. That way, if pressure from one superpower became too great, the smaller power could defend itself by threatening to align itself with the other superpower.
He put this in practice when the Americans quickly offered him economic assistance after his break with Stalin. Although Tito accepted American financial assistance, he thought that it would not do for him to become too dependent on the US.
Tito thought that it would be smarter to leave the way open for reconciliation with the Soviet Union, and he did so to his benefit. When Stalin died, Khruschev traveled to Belgrade to apologize for Stalin’s behavior.
Tito treated him with respect but, at the same time, considered himself an equal. From that time on, Khruschev felt obliged to consult Tito on big decisions. For example, Tito gave his approval to the Soviet decision to suppress the 1956 Hungarian uprising.
Tito’s interest in non-alignment went well beyond Eastern Europe, to Asia and beyond. Along with Nehru (India) and Zhou (China), he convened the first conference of “non-aligned” nations at Bandung in Indonesia in April 1955. Its purpose was to expand autonomy by encouraging neutrality in the Cold War.
So far as Slovenia was concerned, from the late 1950s onward, dissident circles started to be formed, mostly around short-lived independent journals.
In the 1980s, the country experienced a rise of cultural pluralism. Numerous grassroots political, artistic, and intellectual movements emerged. By the mid 1980s, a reformist faction took control of the Slovenian Communist Party and began a gradual move toward market socialism and controlled political pluralism.
In April 1990, the first free and democratic elections were held, and the Democratic Opposition of Slovenia defeated the former Communist party.After 1990, a stable democratic system evolved, with economic liberalization and gradual growth of prosperity.
Slovenia joined NATO on 29 March 2004 and the European Union on 1 May 2004.