APC: Truman DoctrinOn 12 March 1947, President Truman spoke to Congress. This speech is what came later to be known as the Truman Doctrine. Truman began by outlining the situation in Greece. Without help, Greece would fall to Communism, and nearby Turkey, he added, was in a similar situation. Getting involved in Greece, Truman knew, that this would go against the belief of many Americans that the United States should not get involved in European affairs. Therefore the key part of his speech was designed to explain and justify his change in foreign policy to the Congress. Truman reminded Congress that the United States had fought the World War II, and joined the United Nations to protect freedom and democracy. He then claimed that the power of Communism was growing, and told Congress the nations of the world were faced with a choice. This part of his speech is very famous, where Truman defined the Cold War as a conflict between good and bad, and as a choice between capitalism and communism, dictatorship and democracy, and freedom and oppression. In such a situation in the world, Truman told Congress, that the United States was obliged to get involved. Truman’s speech was an event of great importance in the Cold War, and it set out many of the principles by which the United States was to fight the Cold War for the next 30 years. Before 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 must stay out of European affairs. Yet the Truman Doctrine overturned the Monroe Doctrine absolutely. In this way, the Truman Doctrine led directly to the Marshall Plan, an idea to contain communism by helping the economies of Europe to get going again, and this was ratified by Congress in 1948. Also in his speech, Truman convinced Congress that it was essential to confront the Soviets. Truman introduced an idea which had been explained to him earlier by Undersecretary Dean Acheson, if the United States let one country fall to Communism, all the countries around would follow like a line of dominoes. This idea later became known as the domino theory, and it was later to inspire the American interventions in Korean and Vietnam. Another result of the Truman Doctrine was that it set a precedent for the principle of collective security, which built up a network of allies and friendly states to which the United States gave military aid free of charge, and this ultimately, it was to lead to NATO. In the United States, Truman’s presentation of the global threat of Communism brought anti-Communist hysteria, which was to end in the Red Scare of the 1950s. In Russia, the address of Truman’s speech convinced the Soviets that America was indeed a threat to Soviet Communism, and it essentially started the Cold War.


SMR- The Cold War in Asia
Following World War II, hostility between the United States and the USSR grew. The increased Russian influence in Manchuria and the American-imposed democracy in Japan gave way to a split Korea. The United States focused on rebuilding the ruined Japanese government. Although at first, it was the United States’ intent to keep Japan’s economy and government weak, the Cold War switched the policy to strengthening Japan to make it an important ally. As a result of the strengthening of Japan, the Japanese economy flourished, helping international trade. While at the end of World War II, the United States favored a national self-determination policy and were against imperialism, American opposition to communism resulted in American aid to the reinstatement of French rule in Indochina. The United States fought tirelessly to end the spread of communism, however the civil war in China was much too great to be quelled. When Communist leader, Moa, gained control over the Nationalists, the United States refused to recognize the People’s Communist Republic of China as a legitimate government and refused their entry into the United Nations. The result was an unhappy American population, who believed that America’s power rested in Asia, not Europe. The Cold War was amplified by the increased competition in an international arms race. Although the United States had shocked the world in World War II with the atomic bomb, Soviet scientists were quickly developing weapons of equal destruction. The Soviet advancement in arms led to an upsurge in domestic protection in the United States; public schools held air-raid drills, Americans volunteered for Sky Watchers, and millions constructed bomb shelters. Later, when the United States developed the first hydrogen bomb, and the USSR dropped theirs nine months later, the danger of a nuclear war skyrocketed. Truman’s response switched from containment of communism to a military offensive approach. Massive increases in nuclear arsenals, a large standing army, and exponential covert actions by the CIA became the new United States foreign policy.

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