Late 20th century United States history - Essay Example

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The hammer fell the hardest in Europe, leaving a majority of the countries that had existed since the 1400s in shambles. This left the United States and the Soviet Union as the two dominant forces on the…
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Late 20th century United States history
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Policy of Containment The struggle for power in the world really began after World War II. The hammer fell the hardest in Europe, leaving a majorityof the countries that had existed since the 1400s in shambles. This left the United States and the Soviet Union as the two dominant forces on the planet. The power struggle was rooted in the differencing philosophies of democracy versus communism. Therefore, each respective country wanted to expand its power and influence beyond that of its borders. Thus, the United States took upon a policy of containment, a policy, which was meant to stop the spread of Communism.
Truman operated on the policy of containment through war by proxy. This was due to the Truman doctrine that said that the United States would supply aid and weapons to those people in nations that were being threatened by communist pressures. In addition, the Truman administration made great use of the CIA, Central Intelligence Agency. This was in order to gain intel on the enemy and combat their espionage program, the KGB. Thus, the Truman administration took a far greater stance on containment than did any other president, most notably with the failed attempt in Vietnam.
The Regan administration, seeing the response and failures of his predecessor, took a different route on containment. He was more in favor of peaceful coexistence, which was achieved through diplomatic channels. Rather than aiding forces directly with American troops, the Regan doctrine allowed the United States to supply enemies of communism with weapons and economic support. Because the United States had a stronger economy, Regan built up a nuclear stockpile in which the Soviets could not keep up. Ultimately, this along with other internal failures, lead to the fall of the Soviet Union and the survival of the world’s last superpower.
Between the two presidents, there was a lot learned from the differing strategies on the policy of containment. Adaptive leadership helped the United States adapt and overcome obstacles, which lead to the fall of the Soviet Union.
Paterson, Thomas. Meeting the communist threat: Truman to Reagan. New York, NY:
Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. Read More
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