Truman Doctrine: Anti-Communist Foreign Policy

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In his speech to Congress in March 1947, Harry Truman stressed the significance of backing individuals who face oppression from armed minorities or external forces. He specifically targeted small nations that were being influenced by communism during that period. The introduction of the Truman Doctrine was a major turning point in foreign policy, as it aimed to counteract communism and had profound global repercussions.

Turkey and Greece were at risk from rebels backed by the Soviet Union whose objective was to overthrow their governments and establish communist rule. This situation caused concern for the United States, particularly Truman. As a response, the Marshall Plan was created as a direct influence on the Doctrine. The goal of this initiative was to provide assistance to European nations that had suffered during World War II. The plan proved highly advantageous for countries like Italy and France, which had experienced significant damages. By aiding these countries, the United States effectively countered communism on an economic level. This approach was strategically designed by the United States to avoid directly provoking the Communists’ anger. However, this strategy would not remain effective in future times.

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The Truman Doctrine was established after a difficult and demanding process. After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union emerged as major global powers with similar military, economic, and nuclear capabilities. However, the US had concerns about the Soviet Union’s desire to expand its territory, which posed a significant threat to Greece, Turkey, and Iran. As a result, President Harry S. Truman delivered a speech to Congress on March 12, 1947 that became known as the Truman Doctrine.

The Truman Doctrine requested a total of 400 million dollars for both Greece and Turkey (Freeland pg. 87). Greece would receive a combination of economic and military aid, while Turkey would solely receive military aid. Truman transformed the debate on two modest proposals into a vote of confidence in his administration’s foreign policy and a test of American determination to resist a threat that endangered the fundamental security and values of American society (Pemberton pg. 92). This move put Congress in a difficult position, as they could not oppose Truman since his speech was broadcast nationally, creating fear among the people. Congressman Francis Case remarked, “The situation was seen as a done deal. You had spoken to the world” (Evernton pg. 84). As everyone became aware of the threat, they naturally desired protection, leaving no option for Congress but to approve the plea. Furthermore, rejecting this plea would have severely damaged Truman and his administration.

Political figures experienced significant tensions due to the passing of foreign aid. The sudden prominence of this speech caught congressional leaders off guard, leaving them unprepared. The United States had to respond promptly to the abrupt withdrawal of British troops from Greece. Additionally, there were concerns about governance and corruption in both Greece and Turkey, with Turkey maintaining neutrality during World War II. Nevertheless, these concerns were relieved after the bill was successfully passed.

Truman faced the failure of economic struggles in Europe and the threat of communism. In response, the Marshall Plan was implemented and offered aid to all nations. Consequently, within months, the US transformed into a highly internationalist state.

The United States engaging in unconstitutional actions in other countries marked the first instance of witnessing direct money flow to foreign nations to assist our own country. These actions were conducted in order to combat communism and encountered many adversaries along the way. An example is when North Koreans attempted to take control of South Korea, prompting the United States to deploy a large number of troops to intervene and impede the spread of communism. However, we faced a formidable opposition that overwhelmed us and resulted in the deaths of our soldiers, unfortunately unnoticed by American society. This obliviousness revealed that this was not the wisest course of action. While we eventually gained control, it came at a heavy cost of 60,000 lives – an excessive level of involvement for the US. I believe Truman was aware of this situation. The battles yielded little benefit for the United States except for a slight expansion of communism and a new border in Korea. Additionally, another significant failure related to Truman Doctrine occurred during our engagement in Vietnam War when Ho Chi Minh invaded South Vietnam. Perceiving an imminent threat, we quickly became involved once again.
Despite employing airstrikes and deploying numerous troops, our relentless attacks on North Vietnamese forces did not result in any significant progress. Eventually, we were forced to withdraw from the war. Unfortunately, this time there was no substantial advancement made. Even though we lost approximately 65,000 troops, communism continued to thrive. What made it even more disheartening was the lack of interest from American society due to the war being distant from home.

Despite its failures, the Truman Doctrine had both successes and some positive impacts. Its primary objective was to counter communism, and it is evident that the Soviet Union no longer exists as a result of this doctrine. The United States’ involvement can be attributed to this outcome.

On a global scale, communism has become relatively insignificant and we are no longer actively engaged in combatting it. Through the implementation of the Truman Doctrine, the US assumed the role of a worldwide mediator. Although there are those who view this role negatively, it is essential for someone to assume such responsibility in order to prevent continued exploitation of smaller nations.

The Gulf War, which occurred more recently, showcased the application of the Truman Doctrine. In this case, the conflict did not revolve around communism but instead involved a larger nation seeking to dominate a smaller one. Additionally, concerns about oil availability added to the motivations for this war, going beyond just territorial expansion. As a result, this particular conflict had dual justifications. It is worth noting that what resonated well with American society was the relatively low number of human casualties. Consequently, our nation regained pride in deploying troops overseas because of this war. Undeniably, without the existence of the Truman Doctrine, any form of foreign involvement would not have been pursued.

The US has engaged in small conflicts globally and provided assistance to numerous regions, demonstrating the influence of the Truman Doctrine on its foreign policy. The country has aided Europe and formed alliances to combat communism and uphold stable democracies worldwide. Consequently, the Truman Doctrine has enabled the US to achieve national supremacy while sustaining favorable relationships with most nations.

The Truman Doctrine had a significant impact on the United States and countries worldwide. Some argue that it influenced America’s involvement in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Without its implementation, communism may have continued spreading influence, potentially affecting the US as well. Truman aimed to restore balance rather than impose American authority globally. However, the Truman Doctrine mandates using American lives to protect freedom even without a direct threat to America (Freeland pg. 124). In conclusion, despite some negative views, I believe the Truman Doctrine is a defining factor of the United States.

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Truman Doctrine: Anti-Communist Foreign Policy. (2018, Dec 08). Retrieved from

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