The Cold War and U. S. Diplomacy: the Truman Doctrine

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The Cold War and U. S. Diplomacy: The Truman Doctrine
Ardell Simmons
Professor Muhammad Sohna
Politics 300
Friday, December 2, 2011

The Truman Doctrine: Contain the Expansion of Communism, Presumably Everywhere

Summarize a situation that required U.S. diplomatic efforts during the president’s time in office. According to Woolsey (2008), “WWII had bled the British Forces to the bone. The Battle of Britain, and the huge casualties suffered in Africa and the Continent had made it impossible for them to continue the level of support for affairs in the Balkans and the Middle East. It was with an understanding of this situation that President Truman and his advisors decided that the US had to become involved. And it was from this understanding that the Truman Doctrine was born. So, on March 12, 1947 President Truman issued a Presidential pronouncement declaring immediate economic and military aid to the governments of Greece, threatened by Communist insurrection, and to Turkey, under pressure from Soviet expansion in the Mediterranean area. Great Britain announced that it could no longer afford aid to those key countries. Both Turkey and Greece were targets for the Russians to bring them in as Communistic satellites. Congress appropriated $400 million to support the implementation of this doctrine. This was in addition to the $3 trillion loan which the US had made to Great Britain in late 1946, (p. 5). Explicate the diplomatic doctrine the president followed, with reference to specific actions or events that occurred. According to Roskin and Berry (2010), “A few weeks later, at the 1947 Harvard commencement, Secretary of State George C. Marshall proposed a massive program of U.S. aid to help war-torn Europe recover. Almost unnoticed at the time, this began foreign aid a permanent part of U.S. foreign policy. The Marshall Plan, which began in 1948, pumped some $12 billion into Europe and was a major part of the U.S. effort to contain Communist expansion, (p. 31). According to Roskin and Berry (2010), Kennan turned a 1946 internal memo into an article for the influential Foreign Affairs quarterly. “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” appeared in the July 1947 issue and portrayed the Soviet Union as relentlessly expansionist both on ideological and geopolitical grounds, (p. 31). Describe the effects of these diplomatic efforts for the U.S. and other countries. According to Frazier (2009), “Although most of the American press and public approved of the Truman Doctrine speech, a minority objected to it on grounds that it would lead to the expenditure of large sums of money, not just for Greece and Turkey, but for other countries. Some also feared that it would lead to a complete breakdown in relations with the Soviet Union or even war. Many, including Henry Wallace, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the influential journalist Walter Lippmann, felt that the problem should have been taken up with the United Nations. A number of senior legislators, when faced with the request to provide aid to Greece and Turkey, asked whether such a step would commit the United States to similar action in every case of Soviet aggressive action. Dean Acheson, who oversaw the drafting of the Truman Doctrine, quickly explained to the congressmen that the United States would take action only when circumstances made it suitable and within its capabilities. This allayed most of the concerns, as evidenced by the passage of the aid legislation by greater than 70 percent majorities in both houses of Congress, (p. 4-5). Assess, in conclusion, the advantages and disadvantages of the particular doctrine that was followed. According to Time Magazine (1973), “Only months later, Truman initiated Secretary of State George Marshall's plan for the economic revival of Europe. Along with the largely military Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan probably staved off imminent revolution in some countries and provided Western Europe with the means to rebuild its cities and...
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