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South Valley Academy

Harry S. Truman:

His opposition to soviet communism

Manuel Armendariz

U.S. History

Ms. Vargas

April 30, 2018


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Without knowing any of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s intention regarding the development of

the atomic bombs, the unfolding difficulties with Soviet Russia, and being poorly prepared to

assume international responsibilities such as foreign affairs, Harry S. Truman became president of

the United States on April 12, 1945 to give America an entirely new perspective on what he

thought was a threatening governmental system being madetated by the Soviets. The thought and

fear that president Truman had towards the geopolitical expansion of Communist ideology

influenced by the USSR made him feel the need to call upon a political response, involving the

American congress, to initiate the formulation of a foreign policy which would make it clear that

the United States was ready and would not hesitant to help any democratic nation fight off any

communist threats presented by the Soviet Union. The focus and priority that President Truman

implied in the attempt to avert Soviet communism altered a long preserved American policy

known as isolationism1 which had been in place since America’s foundational times. Determined

to contain the spread of Soviet Communism, Harry S. Truman publicly announced the widely

known “Truman Doctrine” speech in which he pronounced that the U.S. would provide economic

and military aid to the greek and turkish governments in the effort to help them fight against the

risk of becoming communist countries and warn the Soviets about American opposition.

With the successive dropping of the atomic bombs in Japanese soil World War II had

finally come to a concluding end with an unimaginable catastrophe count leaving various nations

in complete ruins on multiple factors2. With the exhaustion of the long and extensive war, Asian

and European countries seeked for a method that could provide them the opportunity to get back

up in their feet, this is where George C. Marshall comes in. Years after the war, the United states

1
Isolationism- a policy of remaining apart from the political affairs or interests of other countries
2
Factors- Things that were affected or destroyed by the war​;​ this includes populations, infrastructures,
capital, governments, etc.
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consolidated its position as the world's richest country by becoming an international leader for its

capability of providing industrial goods to other nations thus being the cause for such a

phenomenal economic growth. To continue growing economically “the United States needed a

strong free-market oriented Europe, and to a less extent to Asia, so that the goods they were

making could find happy homes” (John Green, 2:13). As a way to accommodate both necessities

Secretary of state George C. Marshall created his European recovery plan. The otherwise known

as Marshall Plan was signed into law by President Truman on April 3, 1948, this recovery plan

provided 13 billion dollars to many Asian and European countries who needed the help to restore

their civilized structures. “The Marshall plan was a brilliant move to bring the peace... the United

States was being a friend using its considerable resources to help war torn Europe”(History.com)

but there were other reasons to implement the plan as well. “By investing in the Economies of

European Countries the U.S. helped create new markets for its exports” (Britanica). Though the

recovery plan had great intentions, the soviets saw America rebuilding efforts in Europe and

Japan as the U.S. trying to expand its markets and this rose tension for soviet politicians. On the

other hand, the U.S. saw the expansion of communism to neighboring countries as the USSR

trying to destroy democratic and capitalist institutions. Tension between the two nations was

Arising.

The individual strategies being executed by both world powers after World War II brought

upon great commotion3 on both sides of the spectrum. The Soviet Union perceived the Marshall

Plan as a tactic that could potentially lead to American domination of European commerce and, at

the same time, the United States did not realize that the reason behind the spreading of communist

3
Commotion- a state of confused and noisy disturbance
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ideology to Countries like Romania, Bulgaria and Poland was the soviets attempt to create a

communist buffer between them and Germany to prevent yet another German invasion. This was

what President Truman did not understand, the miscommunication between both nations lead to

the unawareness of what the true intention behind the governmental mobilization was causing

stress on the relationship between these world powers. The first to take action was Harry S.

Truman. On March 12, 1947 the American president first announced the modernly known

Truman Doctrine​ Speech in which we stated that “it must be the policy of the United States to

support free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside

pressures.”(Truman). This anti-communist enunciation was the primary trail of the United States

to stand up to soviet geopolitical expansion and the first direct warning to the Soviet Union.

Months past the United States granted a 400 million dollar supply aid to the Turkish and Greek

governments to help with war efforts against communist threats. Also, “One of the ways to

accomplish this4 was by establishing NATO so the Western European nations had a defense

against communist influence.”(Boundless). To further extend his policy president Truman

gathered with closely known western European countries to discuss their incorporation into his

containment plan to ensure a mutual support that could benefit the cause. The Alliance became a

reality, and like previously mentioned, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization “parties agree that

an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an

attack against them all.”(NATO.inc). Knowing that he was being supported brought extra comfort

to president Truman but that comfort lasted only until 1955 when the Soviet Union assembled its

own network of communist allies. The Warsaw pact, as it was known, was composed by eight

4
This- Referring to the Containment plan and/or the​ Truman Doctrine
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communist nations that mimicked the primary purpose of the NATO nations. Now that both

government systems had alliances things could only get worse from there.

The rage and chaos from World War II had just cooled when a new conflict rapidly came

to disturb the working peace in Europe. To prevent another German invasion, as experienced on

1941 during World War II, the Soviet Union planned on articulating communism to neighboring

eastern European countries as a way to create some sort of extraphysical barrier that could keep

Germans away from Soviet soil. Meanwhile, here in America, President Truman feared that if the

USSR continued to expand its political ideology the anti-democratic and totalitarian nature of

communism could potentially infiltrate the United States so, in response to the mobilization of the

Soviet government, Truman announced an anti communist speech to express his thoughts

referring to the spread of communism. Furthermore, American politicians encourage large

corporations such as film producers to aggrandize the movement of soviet ideology in an attempt

to strike fear among the american people so that they two supported the containment policy. In

response to the encouraged media America soon became a completely anti Soviet country having

no trust whatsoever towards the USSR. The Soviet Union also had reasons to doubt the U.S. as

the marshall plan seemed as if America was helping reconstruct Europe to allow its markets to

spread continentally. The tension rising from both of these nations lead to the formation of

ideological based security agreements coming from each side. Out of fear, Harry S. Truman

gathered the western blocs and formed the NATO nations which were determined to fight against

any outside pressures that oppressed participant allies. On the other hand, the USSR assembled its

own allied group composed by satellite states who supported the idea of communism. With two

opposing parties being ready and prepared to fight the cold war began to shine upon the horizon.
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Work cited

Primary Sources:

britishpathe. “Truman's Speech ‘A Fateful Hour’ (1947).” YouTube, YouTube, 13 Apr. 2014,

www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2MQldviRtE​.

George Kennan's "Long Telegram",

nsarchive2.gwu.edu//coldwar/documents/episode-1/kennan.htm

Harris, James T., and Frank Freidel. “United States.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia

Britannica, Inc., 22 Apr. 2018,

www.britannica.com/place/United-States/World-War-II#ref613164​.

“Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum.” The Truman Doctrine,

www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/doctrine/large/

NATO. “The North Atlantic Treaty.” NATO,

www.nato.int/cps/ic/natohq/official_texts_17120.htm​.

Secondary Sources:

“American Aid to Greece.” CQ Researcher by CQ Press,

library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre1949020900

Boundless. “Boundless Political Science.” Lumen,

courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-politicalscience/chapter/the-history-of-american-foreign-p

olicy​/.

crashcourse. “USA vs USSR Fight! The Cold War: Crash Course World History #39.” YouTube,

YouTube, 18 Oct. 2012, ​www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9HjvHZfCUI​.


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“NATO & Warsaw Pacts.” National Cold War Exhibition,

www.nationalcoldwarexhibition.org/schools-colleges/national-curriculum/nato-warsaw-pacts/

U.S. Department of State​, U.S. Department of State,

history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/truman-doctrine​.