Truman Doctrine

Topics: Cold War, Iraq War, 2003 invasion of Iraq Pages: 9 (1678 words) Published: December 2, 2012
Truman Doctrine

In February of 1947, Britain informed the United States that it could no longer provide

financial aid to Greece and Turkey. The U S had been monitoring Greece economically and their

political problems, paying close attention to the rise of the Communist-led insurgency known as

the National Liberation Front, or the ( Trumanlibrary2011). They were also monitoring events taking

in Turkey. Turkey's government was week and they were being pressured by the Soviets to share

control of the Dardanelle Straits” ( Trumanlibrary2011).

Secretary of State Dean Acheson expressed to Congress and state department officials the

domino theory. Acheson made it known that more was at stake than just Greece and Turkey, and that if

those key states should fall, Communism would likely spread south to Iran and as far east as India

( Trumanlibrary2011). In March, of 1947, President Truman asked a joint session of

Congress for an excessive amount of funds for military and economic assistance for Greece and Turkey

and established the Truman Doctrine, that would guide U.S. diplomacy for the next 40 years


President Truman declared, "It must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are

resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures" ( Trumanlibrary2011).

Aide to Greece and Turkey by Congress indicated the beginning of cold war foreign policy. That later

was referred to as containment.

He also took measures to contain Soviet influence in Europe, including the Marshall Plan and NATO .

Containment required detailed information about Communist activity, and the government

increasingly relied on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). As an extra measure of security he also

approved a statement of containment policy called NSC 20/4 in November 1948, the first statement of

security policy ever created by the United States ( Bowen, 2011).

The Soviets first nuclear test in 1949 caused the National Security Council to create a revised security doctrine known as NSC 68( Bowen, 2011).

The United States prevented Greece from falling to Communism. It added Greece to its

sphere of influence and gained influence in the region. It also supplied the military and

economic power to enable the Greek monarchy to defeat an army of communist-led insurgents in 1947-

49 and won a victory that became a model for U.S. relations toward civil wars and insurgencies

( Barnet, 1968) . Almost two decades later the President of the United States was defending his

intervention in Vietnam by pointing out Truman's success in Greece. The American experience in

Greece set the pattern for subsequent interventions in internal wars and also suggested the criteria for

assessing the success or failure of counter-insurgency operations( Barnet, 1968).

Greece was the first major police task which the United States took on in the postwar world.

The Marshall plan is sad to be the most successful full scale aid program ever orchestrated

( Trumanlibrary2011), and was beneficial for the American economy itself as it allowed the European

to continue buy American goods while cementing the transatlantic political ties (Gaddis, 1974).
With the end of the Cold War, Turkey tried to reposition itself as still useful to the West, opening up its

military bases to the United States and its western European allies in 1990 for the United Nations–

sanctioned war to liberate Kuwait from an Iraqi invasion. But two things have turned the tide against

Turkey’s centrality since then: the 2003 U.S. war on Iraq and the Arab Spring.

First, the Arab Spring of 2011-12 has eroded Turkey’s distinction as leader of the democratic Muslim

world. Now Egypt and Tunisia are fledgling democracies, Jordan and Morocco have been pressured

to liberalize, Iraq had already been dragged bloodily into the democratic...
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