The Cold War/The Truman Doctrine

As the USA realized that it was being faced with the rapid spread of what is saw as the new threat of Communism, it decided to tackle it by supporting non-Communist governments and armed groups fighting against the spread of Communism to their nations. This new and more aggressive attitude of "containing" Communism within its own borders was introduced by US President Harry S. Truman, and so was named the Truman Doctrine.

Speech to CongressEdit

On March 12th 1947, he made a dramatic and famous speech to Congress and it was this quote that signalled the start of the Truman Doctrine:

I believe 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...

This meant that Truman believed that the USA should support non-Communist countries which were coming under attack internally by Communist movements or being faced with the threat of invasion by Communist countries. This was a declaration of proxy war on the Soviet Union. Truman carried on with a stinging attack on the communist way of life, saying that it was "evil", and "denied human rights" and "living standards were low".

Congress listened in uneasy silence. One member commented soon after that Truman had "scared the hell out of them". But nevertheless, they unanimously voted for a sum of $400 million to Greece and Turkey, and this money helped the Greek government in defeating the communist rebels and served as a warning sign to the USSR to keep out of Turkey.

The Truman Doctrine not only greatly influenced American Cold War politics and relations with the Soviet Union for the next 40 or so years, but it has also influenced American foreign politics today and was one of the major factors in turning the USA from isolationist in foreign policy to the moderately interventionist one it has today, in global affairs.

Last modified on 14 March 2011, at 12:39