Containment In 1945 Britain and the United States pushed the Soviets to hold free elections in Eastern Europe, but they refused. George Kennan, a U.S. diplomat suggested that the United States keep the Soviet Union from expanding its power until communism fell apart from its own weaknesses. Thus, the policy of containment referred to keeping communism within its territory through diplomatic, military, and economic actions.
Soviets in the Middle East Soon after, Soviet-related crises erupted in the Middle East, specifically Iran and in Turkey. In Iran, Soviet troops remained in the northern part of Iran and Stalin demanded access to Iran's oil supplies. Soviet troops also helped Iranian Communists establish a separate government. However, the Soviets backed down only under threats of force from the United States (flexing our nuclear bomb power).
Communists in Greece In August of 1947, Greek Communist launched a guerrilla war against the Greek government. President Truman asked Congress for money to help Greece and Turkey fight communism. His Truman Doctrine was meant to aid (money) “free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”
Marshall Plan To weaken the appeal of communism, Secretary of State George C. Marshall proposed the European Recovery Program or Marshall Plan which gave Europe aid (money) to rebuild its economies. The U.S. had come to a conclusion in early 1948 that the Soviet Union was deliberately trying to undermine Germany's economy.
Combining the Three Zones In 1948 the United States, France, and Britain combined or merged their zones (along with the zones in West Berlin) to create West Germany. – The Soviets blockaded Berlin in anger.
Berlin Airlift Truman ordered the Berlin airlift, in which cargo planes brought food and other supplies to the city. President Truman wanted to keep West Berlin alive without provoking war with the Soviets.
NATO Stalin finally lifted the blockade, but Americans and Western Europe were moved to form North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO members (12 nations) agreed to help each other if attacked. The Soviets set up the Warsaw Pact alliance.
China Besides Europe, the Cold War spread to Asia (including China and Korea). In China, Mao Zedong led Communist forces in a revolt against Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist, government. Their fight began in the 1920s. However, the two sides stopped fighting during World War II and joined forces to stop the Japanese invasion.
Sending Aid After the war ended, the two groups began fighting again. The United States wanted to stop the spread of communism in Asia. It sent Chiang Kai-shek $2 billion in aid. However, the Communists captured the capital Beijing and moved south.
Taiwan and One China The Nationalists left the mainland and fled to Taiwan. The United States set up formal relations with the Nationalists on Taiwan. In 1949 the Communists set up the People’s Republic of China. By using the veto power in the United Nations Security Council, the U.S. kept representatives of Communist China out of the United Nations.
China & Soviet Union In the same year, the Soviet Union tested its first atomic weapon. In 1950 it signed a treaty of alliance with China. Americans feared that these allies would support Communist revolutions around the world.
Japan The United States also changed it policy toward Japan. General Douglas MacArthur mission was to introduce democracy to Japan and keep it from threatening war again. Americans saw Japan as a way to defend Asia against communism.
Korea After World War II, the Allies divided Korea at the 38th parallel. The Soviet-controlled north became Communist. In the U.S.-controlled south, an American- backed government was set up.
North Korean Invasion The Soviets gave military aid to North Korea, which built a huge army and invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950.
What to do in Korea… President Truman saw this as a test of the containment policy. President Truman was able to get the United Nations to act on Korea since the Soviet delegate had boycotted the Security Council on another matter; they (Soviets) were not present to veto the American proposal.
United Nation Troops He sent MacArthur and the American military to Korea. Truman also asked the United Nations for troops to help. In September 1950, MacArthur ordered an invasion.
China Getting Involved The North Koreans were taken by surprise, and they retreated across the 38th parallel. MacArthur pushed the North Koreans toward the Chinese border. The Chinese were afraid of a UN invasion and warned the UN troops to retreat. Then the Chinese invaded Korea and pushed UN troops south.
Firing a General General MacArthur wanted to expand the war into China. He criticized Truman for wanting a limited war, a war fought to achieve limited goals. – In response, Truman fired MacArthur. During the Cold War, one of the biggest concerns that shaped American foreign policy was all-out war might lead to nuclear war.
By 1951 the UN forces drove the Chinese and North Koreans back over the 38th parallel. An armistice was signed in July 1953. By then more than 35,000 Americans had died in the war.
After the War During the Korean War, the United States began a military buildup. In the past, the United States focused on Europe to contain communism. Now it had to focus its military on Asia. Defense agreements were signed and aid was given to those fighting communism in Asia.