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An overview of the ways with which the united states tried to contain communism

News magazine shows the beginnings of American containment policy. Communism was on the march. Soon communist forces dominated the governments of Romania and Bulgaria.

  • In July 1947 a majority of the American public had never even heard of the Marshall Plan;
  • By the target date of the program four years later, Western European industries were producing twice as much as they had been the year before war broke out;
  • It was only a matter of time before Hungary and Czechoslovakia fell into the Soviet orbit;
  • By vigorously pursuing this policy, the United States might be able to contain communism within its current borders.

By the fall of 1945, it was clear that the Soviet-backed Lublin regime had complete control of Poland, violating the Yalta promise of free and unfettered elections there. It was only a matter of time before Hungary and Czechoslovakia fell into the Soviet orbit. Yugoslavia had an independent communist leader named Tito.

When Harry Truman approved the Marshall Plan in 1948, his official statement said, "Few presidents have had the opportunity to sign legislation of such importance. How many dominoes would fall? United States diplomats saw a continent ravaged by war looking for strong leadership and aid of any sort, providing a climate ripe for revolution. Would the Soviets get all of Germany? Or Italy and France? President Truman was determined to reverse this trend. Greece and Turkey were the first nations spiraling into crisis that had not been directly occupied by the Soviet Army.

Both countries were on the verge of being taken over by Soviet-backed guerrilla movements. Truman decided to draw a line in the sand. Within two years the communist threat had passed, and both nations were comfortably in the western sphere of influence.

52c. Containment and the Marshall Plan

A mid-level diplomat in the State Department named George Kennan proposed the policy of containment. Since the American people were weary from war and had no desire to send United States troops into Eastern Europe, rolling back the gains of the Red Army would have been impossible. In July 1947 a majority of the American public had never even heard of the Marshall Plan.

But to win passage in Congress, the Truman administration needed strong public support, so it launched a massive public relations campaign. But in places where communism threatened to expand, American aid might prevent a takeover. By vigorously pursuing this policy, the United States might be able to contain communism within its current borders.

The policy became known as the Truman Doctrine, as the President outlined these intentions with his request for monetary aid for Greece and Turkey.

The war had ruined crop fields and destroyed infrastructure, leaving most of Europe in dire need. To avoid antagonizing the Soviet Union, Marshall announced that the purpose of sending aid to Western Europe was completely humanitarian, and even offered aid to the communist states in the east.

Marshall proposed that a post-war European aid program be initiated. Less than a year later, the Marshall Plan was a reality. The Marshall Plan created an economic miracle in Western Europe. By the target date of the program four years later, Western European industries were producing twice as much as they had been the year before war broke out. Some Americans grumbled about the costs, but the nation spent more on liquor during the years of the Marshall Plan than they sent overseas to Europe.

The aid also produced record levels of trade with American firms, fueling a postwar economic boom in the United States. Lastly and much to Truman's delight, none of these nations of western Europe faced a serious threat of communist takeover for the duration of the Cold War. George Marshall devised a plan for long-term economic and industrial recovery for most of Europe. This website has a summary of all the parts of the Marshall Plan and its results.

  • By vigorously pursuing this policy, the United States might be able to contain communism within its current borders;
  • The Marshall Plan created an economic miracle in Western Europe;
  • The policy became known as the Truman Doctrine, as the President outlined these intentions with his request for monetary aid for Greece and Turkey.

Select from the many titles in the index to find an overview and a link to each document. The Truman Doctrine There's nothing American presidents like more than getting their own doctrine.

Like the Monroe doctrine, the Truman doctrine states the American stance on potential aggression and what the consequences might be. This webpage offers the full text of the March 12, 1947, speech Harry Truman gave to a joint session of Congress.

Although Tito died in 1980, his cohorts were able to maintain control for another 12 years. This illustrated webpage takes a brief look at Tito's rule and its effects on the nation.