Truman Doctrine

The Truman Doctrine In order to contain Communism,
President Harry S. Truman issued the Truman Doctrine in
1947, which provided aid to Greece and Turkey. The
United States gave aid to those countries, specifically,
because it felt they were most threatened by Communism
during the time of the Cold War (Ferrell, pg.105).
Communism is an economic system in which a single party
controls the means of production with the aim of
establishing a classless society (Encarta). The period after
World War II, up until the year 1990, when The Cold War
ended, was controlled by two superpowers, the United
States and the Soviet Union. The United States was led by
President Harry S. Truman, who was thrown into the
presidency by the unexpected death of Franklin D.
Roosevelt, and the Soviet Union was led by Joseph Stalin
(McCullough, pg. 371). Each expressed different views on
politics, economics and human rights. A number of events
occurred which led the United States and the Soviet Union
to engage in what is now known as the Cold War. The five
areas of conflict were with Poland, Germany, atomic
secrets, Eastern Europe, and economic rebuilding of
Western Europe. The Cold War was not a war in the
typical sense of the word. There were no shots fired, but
rather it was a war with words. In some ways this could be
considered worse than a real war because that type causes
a lot more fear over what could occur at any moment and
weather the threats were real or not. Those countries that
sided with the United States, which were mostly Western
European nations, were known as the free world. The
Soviet Union, on the other hand, occupied the Eastern
European nations which came to be known as the
Communist Bloc (Barrons). During this time, President
Harry S. Truman wanted to contain Communism before it
spread world-wide. He felt that this was the crucial point
and Truman responded by issuing the Truman Doctrine in
1947. Truman feared that third world countries would
accept Communism. Communism 2 sounded tempting to
these countries because it would equalize everyone and it
may even provide those countries with a stable government
(Ferrell, pg. 105). The main objective of the Truman
Doctrine was to support Turkey and Greece because the
United States government felt they were most threatened
by Communism during the Cold War. The United States
did not want Communism to spread, in fear that it would
form in the United States (Encarta). The United States
wanted to show the Soviet Union that they weren’t the
world power and that the Soviets could not force
Communism on other countries, especially weak, smaller
countries. The Soviet Union thought they were the most
powerful Communist government and that all countries
should be Communist like them. The United States
expressed their views differently and believed that they
could contain Communism (McCullough, pg. 730). The
Soviet Union managed to establish Communist
governments in Romania, Hungary and Poland. The United
States was outraged that Communism kept spreading and
waited patiently for what Truman was going to do about it
(Ferrell, pgs. 105, 106, & 280). Truman had many choices
and alternatives to choose from to deal with this
Communist problem. One was that Truman could have
fought the Soviet Union and weakened them to the point
that they could not be able to impress it upon other
countries. He didn’t do this because World War II had just
ended and not even the Soviets and Americans wanted
World War III to occur. Also, Truman was fearful of losing
popularity because of the Americans anti-war sentiments.
Another choice Truman had was that he could have
dropped an atomic bomb on the Soviet Union. He didn’t
do this because the Soviet Union would have then dropped
a bomb on NATO. An atomic war would start and each
side would forget what was really at stake. Also many
innocent lives would be lost and Trumans goal was to
contain Communism and not to kill people. In addition,
Truman could have just let Communism spread
world-wide. He didn’t do this because the United States
did not want Communism to spread because then the
United 3 States would not have any trading partners. The
United States not only found it impossible to trade with
Communist countries, but also thought that was how to give
in to Communism. Truman could have asked the United
Nations for help. He didn’t do this because the United
Nations was not strong enough to handle Communism.
Truman probably believed that the United States was
stronger than the United Nations and that the United States
could contain Communism on their own. Truman could
have made a compromise with the Soviet Union. Truman
could have told the Soviet Union