Policy Of Containment Essay

992 words - 4 pages

The Policy of ContainmentAmericans believe that if Franklin D. Roosevelt would have lived longer, that he would have been able to stem the tide of tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. His successor lacked greatly the Talent of FDR. The new president, who was more comfortable with machine politicians than with polished New Dealers, liked to talk tough and act defiantly. Truman complained that the U.S. Negotiations had been a "one way street" just ten days after he took office. He then vowed to not "baby" the Soviet no longer.A crisis in the Mediterranean prompted President Truman to show his colors. On February 21, 1947, amid a civil war in Greece, Great Britain informed the U.S. State Department that it could no longer afford to prop up the anti-Communist government there and announced it's intention to withdraw all aid. Truman concluded, Greece, Turkey, and perhaps the entire oil-rich Middle East would fall under Soviet control, without U.S. Intervention.On March 12, 1947, the President made his argument before Congress in bold terms: "At the present moment in world history, nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life... One way of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished be free institutions...and freedom from political oppression. The second way of life is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed on the majority... And the suppression of personal freedoms." Never mentioning the Soviet Union by name, he appealed for all-out resistance to a "certain ideology" wherever it appeared in the world. The preservation of peace and the freedom of all Americans depended, the president insisted, on containing communism.Congress approved a $400 million appropriation in aid for Greece and Turkey, which helped the monarchy and right-wing military crush the rebel movement. Truman's victory buoyed his popularity for the upcoming 1948 election. It also helped to generate popular support for a campaign against communism, both at home and abroad.The significance of what became known as the Truman Doctrine far outlasted the events in the Mediterranean: the United States had declared it's right to intervene to save other nations from communism. As early as February 1946, foreign-policy adviser George F. Kennan had sent an 8,000-word "long telegram" to the State Department insisting that Soviet fanaticism made cooperation impossible. The USSR intended to extend it's realm not by military means alone, he explained, but by "subversion" within "free" nations. The Truman Doctrine described the differences between the United States and the Soviet Union as absolute and irreconcilable, as an ideological breach that resonated far beyond foreign policy. It was now the responsibility of the United States, Truman insisted to safeguard the "Free World" by diplomatic, economic, and, if necessary, military means. He had, in sum, fused anti communism and internationalism into an aggressive foreign...

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