Truman And The Cold War Essay, Research Paper

Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president from 1945-1953 greatly overdone Russia s power and scared the U.S. citizens and authorities into a Cold War and power battle. After World War II it was inevitable at that place would be a power battle, as the two most powerful yet wholly different states, Russia and the US emerged as the universe leaders. Russia and the US were Alliess during the war, but with their entirely different authorities constructions, and the power-hungry Stalin and the anti-isolationist Truman, Russia and the US clashed caputs.

The Cold War contention was ab initio publically ignited by Churchill s public address at Westminster college on March 5, 1946. Churchill stated that, From what I have seen of our Russian friends and Alliess during the war, I am convinced that there is nil they admire so much as strength and there is nil for which they have less respect than military failing.

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Truman was urged by his cabinet non to back Churchill s statements, but Truman, being acrimonious from Stalin s broken promise of allowing the Polish people finding their ain signifier of authorities that he promised at the meeting at Potsdam, Truman publically endorsed the address. Truman was besides wary if Stalin s remarks in his February 9th address that stated, another war was inevitable since the American and Soviet systems were basically incompatible. ( Feinberg p. 81 ) .

Truman s public backup of Churchill s sentiments came as a daze to the American populace, because fresh off World War II, Russia was still considered a loyal ally to the US. These remarks caused a batch of ill will and Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace urged Truman to handle Stalin with the same regard. Truman, taking Wallace s advice invited Stalin to Missouri to show his point of views, but Stalin in cold blood rejected the offer.

It was like a Domino consequence, because on March 2, 1946, Russian military personnels were supposed to retreat from Iran as a promise of the Teheran conference of 1943. They were non removed, nevertheless, as Stalin wanted to derive as much oil as possible, and it took a austere demand from Truman for Stalin to keep true to his word, which he did so easy as military personnels eventually withdrew in May.

At first, Truman tried to avoid the inevitable struggle with Stalin, but due to these events Stalin seemingly struck a nervus, and Truman shed the American isolationist policy that they contained for about 200 old ages. America and Russia couldn t co-exist as universe powers as they were shortly to happen out.

At Potsdam Stalin had made a petition to command the Turkish passs, saying the Soviets needed a warm-water ports, but the U.S. and Britain rejected his offer fearing Communism would act upon Turkey. It didn t halt Stalin, and in mid-1946 he marched into Turkey and setup a Turkey-Soviet defence barrier across the waterway much against Turkey s petition. He besides set it up so that surrounding countries- Romania and Bulgaria controlled the Straits. This apparatus Truman s new foreign policy as the populace was shown Stalin s new fierceness and thrust for power.

The U.S. and Britain responded to Russia with disapproval messages and the U.S. sent a naval undertaking force to the Mediterranean to implement the U.S. disapproval. Stalin backed down and decided it wasn t worth the problem, but the Turks fearing an invasion from their boundary lines were forced to keep a large ground forces they could hardly afford. The first American-Russian direct competition happened in late 1946.

In Greece a civil war broke out and Soviet controlled states, Albania, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria supported the revolution motion and Britain supported the authorities. Britain had to retreat from Greece, because they couldn t afford to back up due to the monolithic war harm costs. Truman decided to take over Britain s duties in order to forestall Communism influence in yet another European state. This direct competition clearly showed Truman had shed the United State s volatile isolationist policy, as Truman defended US intervention by saying that, This was a clip to aline the United States clearly on the side, and the caput, of the free universe.

It was clear now to the American citizens that Russia really posed a menace and were no longer considered a valorous ally, they besides backed Truman as they realized he meant concern. Although most of the populace supported Truman s new foreign policy, many people led by Henry Wallace, thought the President overreacted to Stalin s empty menaces, and wondered whether it was in the best involvement of the United States to pass the money and resources to protect free states around the Earth. Secretary of Commerce Wallace s outward bitterness of Truman s traffics with the state of affairss covering with Russia caused a splash among the cabinet, Congress and American populace. Truman forced Wallace to vacate on September 20, 1946. The slate was cleaner for Truman to transport out his new foreign policy and construct up the United States defence in what was known as the Arms Race.

Truman was hesitating to cast the United States isolationist policy but felt it was necessary. In his memoirs Truman admitted, I know that George Washington s spirit would be invoked against me, and Henry Clay s, and all the other frequenter saints of the isolationists. But I was convinced that the policy I was approximately to proclaim was so every bit much required by the conditions of my twenty-four hours as was Washington s. ( Hillman-p.130 )

Was this genuinely Truman s ain decision, or was he programmed into believing this by his defence specializer cabinet? The military began taking over the authorities, the former Army Chief of Staff was Secretary of State, 10 of the 20 executive officers of the State Department were brought in from military service, General Hilring was named Assistant Secretary, and the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council were formed. This mobilization of the American authorities affected the manner Truman carried out his foreign policy.

Truman created the Truman Doctrine on March 12, 1947, it was an anti-communist program that revolved around Truman s new containment policy. Truman went before Congress with his Truman Doctrine: I believe it must be the policy of the United States to back up free people who a

rhenium defying attempted subjection by armed minorities or by outside force per unit areas. Containment as explained by State Department contriver and specializer George Kennan was Using military and economic force per unit areas to restrict the Soviet Union within its boundary lines and to forestall its farther enlargement. ( Feinberg-p.84 )

The Truman Doctrine was Harry Truman s official statement to the populace and to Russia that the United States would assist out states around the universe to be free, and resist communism. The Truman Doctrine persuaded Congress to allow $ 400 million in military and economic assistance for Greece anti-revolutionary motions, and Turkey in order to protect its boundary lines from leaking communism. The chief point of the Truman Doctrine was propaganda as it helped to rock American blessing of a cold war with Russia.

Truman s strategians realized that the United States would necessitate aid from its Western European Alliess if they went to war with Russia, but European recovery from World War II was traveling highly slow. In 1947 Truman came up with the Marshall Plan, named after respected Secretary Of State George C. Marshall. The Marshall Plan consisted of giving fiscal assistance to Western European states in order to rush up their economic recovery. Truman chose to call it the Marshall Plan for propaganda fortunes, because George C. Marshall was a really established adult male, and was really well-thought-of across the state and in the Congress as good. ( Feinberg-p.88 ) The European states asked for $ 21.7 billion, but Congress was really loath to be so generous, and followings of Henry Wallace saw this as an Anti-Russian program. When the Czechoslovakia putsch occurred and communism took over, the resistance to the Marshall Plan decreased. In April 1948, Congress granted $ 5.1 billion the first twelvemonth and an extra $ 12 billion for the following three old ages. The chief receivers of the assistance were France, Britain ( non surprisingly ) , and West Germany.

Truman made a error as he intentionally showed that he wanted to assist and gripe up United States Alliess Western states merely. Stalin responded with his COMECON, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, his ain recovery program for Eastern Europe. Not merely did the Marshall Plan heighten tensenesss between the United States and Russia, it heightened tensenesss between Western and Eastern Europe as good.

Truman and Stalin showed off their musculus as they competed for power in Germany. In the spring of 1948, the Soviet Union slowed down Western European recovery by deluging the economic system with imitative money. It was obvious that Stalin felt threatened by the Western-Eastern struggle that was lifting. The Soviet Union and the United States argued as to how to command Germany after the war, so they divided it into two different parts: West Germany, controlled by the Western Europeans and East Germany, controlled by Communist Russia. Stalin wanted to decelerate the recovery even more, so the Soviets occupied Berlin and closed it off, doing all Americans have to be checked at the boundary line, besides all lading and trains had to be checked. Stalin did this in order to use the Soviet currency in Berlin to counter the Western circulation of the Deutsche Mark. Stalin ordered a encirclement of all main road, rail, and H2O traffic to Berlin. The citizens of Berlin began to hunger due to the deficiency of resources brought in. Truman saw this as a aureate chance to demo Berlin that the United States was an ally and came up with the Berlin Airlift. The Airlift consisted of 2,243,315 dozenss of nutrient and coal at a entire cost of $ 224 million. Truman stated to the American populace that, The Berlin encirclement was a move to prove our capacity and will to defy. This action and the old efforts to take over Greece and Turkey were portion of a Russian program to examine soft musca volitanss in the Western Allies places all around the margin. ( Feinberg-p.92 )

Was all this generousness on the portion of the United States necessary? Were human rights in that much danger? Truman truly exaggerated the power of Russia, and invested a ton of American money into defence physique up, and lifted the military budget from $ 15 billion to $ 50 billion. ( Cochran-p.273 ) In the long tally, the immense military buildup was unneeded, but at the clip it seemed like the logical common theory was to halt communism before it leaked all over the universe.

It is clear that Truman overestimated the influence of communism, as it seemed merely a test authorities for those states in demand of revolution and reform, merely as the manner communism was formed in Russia. It is besides clear that Truman exaggerated Russia s power, and he increased the armed forces so much that Russia was forced to make the same. Truman sent undercover agents to the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union sent undercover agents to the United States. Both states overestimated each other, and they spent a pathetic sum keeping a immense ground forces, so that if they did travel to war, both states would be decimated, which is why they didn t go to war. Truman and Stalin set the tone for the Cold War and their actions combined with their overestimate s started a power battle and universe struggle that lasted for about 40 old ages. Truman felt tremendous force per unit area when he inherited the Post World War II load of being a universe leader, particularly since he was faced with the immense determination of casting the Isolationist policy the United States had maintained since its birth.


1. Barbara Feinberg, Harry S. Truman ( New York: Impact Biography, 1994 ) , 81-92.

2. Bert Cochran, Harry Truman and the Crisis Presidency ( New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1973 ) , 271-273.

3. William Hillman, Harry S. Truman In His Own Words ( New York: Bonanza Books, 1974 ) , 130.


1. Cochran, Bert. Harry Truman and the Crisis Presidency. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1973.

2. Feinberg, Barbara Silberdick. Harry S. Truman. New York: Impact Biography, 1994.

4. Fleming, Thomas. Harry S. Truman, President. New York: Walker and Company, 1993.

5. Hillman, William. Harry S. Truman In His Own Words. New York: Bonanza Books, 1984.

6. Jenkins, Roy. Truman. New York: Harper and Row, 1986.

7. Truman, Harry S. Memoirs: Old ages of Trial and Hope. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1956.

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