The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy “The Truman Doctrine”
Luis A. Rodriguez
Professor Miriam Altman
POL 300 Contemporary International Problems
Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States, had no knowledge or interest in foreign policy before becoming president, and depended on the State Department for foreign policy advice. Truman shifted from FDR's détente to containment as soon as Dean Acheson convinced him the Soviet Union was a long-term threat to American interests. They viewed communism as a secular, millennial religion that informed the Kremlin's worldview and actions and made it the chief threat to American security, liberty, and world peace. They rejected the moral equivalence of democratic and Communist governments and concluded that until the regime in Moscow changed only American and Allied strength could curb the Soviets. In early 1947 the British government, which was socialist but anti-Communist, secretly told Washington its treasury was empty and it could no longer give military and economic aid to Greece or Turkey, requested the U.S. take over. Acheson convinced Truman to act quickly lest Greece be taken over by its communist partisans who were at the time strongly supported by the Soviet government working through the communist Bulgarian and Yugoslav governments. If Greece fell, Turkey would be helpless and soon the eastern Mediterranean would fall under Stalin’s control. Following Acheson's advice, Truman in 1947 announced the Truman Doctrine of containing Communist expansion by furnishing military and economic American aid to Europe and Asia, and particularly to Greece and Turkey. The Republican Congress, after extensive hearings, approved this historic change in U. S. foreign policy in a bill signed May 22, 1947. To whip up American support for the policy of containment, Truman overstated the Soviet threat to the United States. In turn, his statements inspired a wave of hysterical anti-communism throughout the...
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