History Brief: The Truman Doctrine


In March of 1947, President Harry Truman delivered
a speech regarding the potential fate of two nations, Greece and Turkey. Both countries were experiencing economic
and political turmoil, and Truman concluded that the US should do everything within its
power to assist these nations. He feared that if Greece and Turkey were left
to their own accord, they would become communist states. Truman believed communism must be halted and
not allowed to spread to other nations. Many feel that this speech was the beginning
of what became known as the Cold War. It effectively established the Truman Doctrine
as America’s policy towards communism. The Truman Doctrine was a policy of containment. This suggested that the US would not try to
eliminate communism, but instead, simply confine it to the nations where communism already
existed. The reason for the containment policy was
known as the Domino Theory. Foreign policy experts believed that if one
nation in a region fell to communism, nearby nations would fall as well, similar to dominoes
falling upon each other. Financial aid to Greece and Turkey was one
of the first actions of the Truman Doctrine policy. The two nations were given more than $400
million to help rebuild their economy and firmly establish their government. However, this was just the beginning. In 1948, the US began assisting other nations
in Western Europe. The Marshall Plan (named after Secretary of
State George Marshall) was a monetary assistance program. Over the course of four years, the nations
of Western Europe were given more than $12 billion to aid in rebuilding after the widespread
destruction of World War II. This was done in the hopes that it would help
these nations resist communism and prevent them from falling under the influence of the
Soviet Union. The Truman Doctrine and the policy of containment
were also responsible for the US entry into multiple military conflicts throughout the
1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. The most prominent being the Korean Conflict
and the Vietnam Conflict. In both cases, the US was attempting to prevent
the spread of communism. This effort proved successful for South Korea,
but it failed in Vietnam. Containment continued to be one of the dominant
forms of dealing with the communist threat throughout the remainder of the Cold War.


8 Responses

  1. accent77

    November 22, 2016 4:32 am

    This is where America started giving its wealth away and putting their nose in where it really didn't belong.

  2. Karin Radke Cahoon

    June 27, 2017 6:28 am

    I'm presenting on this in my social studies class. Thank you for the helpful video!


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