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Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy - Research Paper Example

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In 1945, Harry S. Truman became the President of the United States upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt, as President, had seen the United States through the Great Depression, the recovering years of the 1930s, and much of World War II; Truman would see the nation through to end of the war, as well as combat the growing threat of Communism brought about by the policies of Joseph Stalin…
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Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy
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Download file to see previous pages During his tenure as president from 1945 to 1953, President Truman called upon his own diplomatic skills on several occasions, most notably in providing aid to nations and areas being threatened by unwanted communist control, while tirelessly preaching that communism had to be contained, lest it spread and take over the world. A Call For Aid One of the most notable occasions for diplomacy came in 1947. In March, Great Britain informed the United States that it could no longer send aid to Greece (Roskin & Berry, 2011). This was mainly due to their own financial woes after World War II; the country was near bankruptcy and unable to provide any more financial support (Roskin & Berry, 2011). Greece, however, was in the midst of a civil war from communist guerrillas; if the guerrillas were successful, communism would be the form of government in Greece (Roskin & Berry, 2011). This, to the free world, was unacceptable. In addition, Turkey felt pressure when Stalin cancelled a treaty of friendship between the two countries (Davidson & Stoff, 1998). Turkey was not experiencing a civil war; however, it was considered to be vital in strategy in the Mediterranean and the Middle East (Merrill, 2006). It should be added that both nations had suffered during World War II, Greece arguably more so, and the Nazi forces, upon withdrawing, had left a broken, war-torn, used-up country behind (Merrill, 2006). Both requests for aid gave Truman an opportunity to establish his position on Communism before Congress, which he did willingly, stating that Greece and Turkey had called for aid to sustain their free governments, and that the United States must provide it (Truman, 1947). He stated categorically, “I believe that 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” (Truman, 1947). This speech, which came to be known as the Truman Doctrine, served two very important points in history. First, it won over the Republicans which controlled both houses of Congress, and became the first modern foreign policy with global effects. Though other presidents had attempted such policies, they had focused mainly on the Western Hemisphere, while the Truman Doctrine focused globally (Merrill, 2006). It also solidified the position of the President that containment must be the answer in regards to Communism, and that it was the duty of all American citizens to provide aid against the spread of this awful form of government. The Truman Doctrine Without a doubt, the Truman Doctrine held as its bottom line one single principle: containment. Communist control was seen as an awful thing, a form of government which took away a principle held dear to all Americans since the War for Independence, which was choice. Under a communist government, people no longer had choices in their leaders; their voices would fall silent, and it would be up to a ruling party to determine the greater good. This was something that not only Truman, but members of his cabinet and indeed the entire nation could not stomach. Communism had to be contained at any cost, even if that cost meant war, or the risk facing the nation and the world would be unstoppable. Americans would one day wake to find themselves a communist nation, just as Poland, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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