The Truman Doctrine By Jordan Haas, Beau Swan, and Jordain Vachon
What was the Truman Doctrine The Truman Doctrine grew out of George Kennan’s 1946 ‘long telegram’ which argued that the US should follow a policy of ‘containment’ to stop Russian expansion. Then, in February 1947, the British announced that they were withdrawing their soldiers from Greece. On 12 March 1947, Truman warned Congress that, without help, Greece would fall to Communism – and that Turkey and other countries would follow. He said that the Cold War was a choice between freedom and oppression and that Americans were OBLIGED to ‘to support free peoples’ and to abandon their decision not to get involved in European affairs.
However, Truman’s speech did not mention ‘containment’, and most of the $338 million he sent to Greece went on dive bombers and napalm bombs. In fact, many people in the Truman administration wanted actively to oppose Russia, and Truman said that: ‘We hope that in years ahead more and more nations will come to know the advantages of freedom and liberty.’ It arguable that the Truman Doctrine was not just a policy of ‘containment’ but was ‘an American challenge to Soviet ambitions’.
Background Events The Truman Doctrine was a response to a crisis. Behind it lay the Communist/Soviet takeover of many of the countries of eastern Europe by ‘salami tactics’ – which, Truman alleged, was in breach of Stalin’s promises at the Yalta Conference. Definition of Salami tactics: also known as the salami-slice strategy, is a divide and conquer process of threats and alliances used to overcome opposition
Then, in February 1947, the British government – which had been helping the Greek government resist Communist rebels – announced that it could no longer afford to keep its soldiers there. It seemed to Truman and his advisers that, of they did nothing, it was only a matter of time before the communists took over YET ANOTHER country.
Consequences of Truman’s Speech Truman’s Speech was an event of immense importance in the Cold War, and it set out many of the principles by which the USA was to fight the Cold War for the next 30 years. Up until Truman’s speech, the most powerful influence in American foreign policy had been the ‘Monroe Doctrine’ – a statement in 1823 by American President James Monroe that America ought to keep out of European affairs. The Truman Doctrine overturned the Monroe Doctrine absolutely
the Truman Doctrine led directly to the Marshall Plan – the plan to contain communism by helping the economies of Europe to get going again – which was ratified by Congress in 1948. Marshall Plan
The reasons for Truman asking for help. Henry Wallace, Secretary of Commerce, favoured co-operation with the Soviet Union. In private he disagreed with Harry S. Truman about what he considered to be an aggressive foreign policy. Wallace went public about his fears at a meeting in New York City in September, 1946. As a result, Truman sacked Wallace from his administration.Henry WallaceSoviet UnionHarry S. TrumanNew York City
On 12th March, 1947, Harry S. Truman, announced details to Congress of what eventually became known as the Truman Doctrine. In his speech he pledged American support for "free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures". This speech also included a request that Congress agree to give military and economic aid to Greece in its fight against communism. Truman asked for $400,000,000 for this aid programme. He also explained that he intended to send American military and economic advisers to countries whose political stability was threatened by communism.Harry S. Truman Greece