Truman Doctrine Essay, Research Paper
“I believe 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 pressure.” (Harry Truman mach 1947). This is part of the speech Harry S. Truman gave to congress on the behalf of small countries falling to the pressures of communism. The Truman Doctrine was a anti-communist foreign policy that would change of the world.
Turkey and Greece were under a great threat by the Soviet-supported rebels seeking to topple the government and install communist power. This made the United States and especially Truman very nervous. This is why the Marshall Plan which is one of the direct influence to the Doctrine was thought up. This plan was designed to give aid to any european country damaged during WW2. It tremendously helped ravaged European nations such as Italy and France. By helping these countries the United States was economically forcing away communism. This was the way the United States had it all planned out. We weren’t making the Communist very mad cause it was very indirect but later on this wouldn’t be the case.
The process by which the Truman Doctrine came about was a long and tedious one. After WW2 the US and Soviet Union were at the top of all world powers. Everything was pretty much equal such as military, economics, and nuclear power. The one thing that scared the US the most was the fact that the Soviets were greedy and wanted more and more land. This is where we began to see a huge threat to Greece, Turkey, and Iran. Because of all this on March 12, 1947 President Harry S. Truman gave a speech to congress that would later be call the Truman Doctrine.
The Truman Doctrine would ask for a total of 400 million dollars for both Greece and Turkey (Freeland pg. 87). The money for Greece would be split between economic and military aid and for Turkey the aid was entirely for military purposes. The President had turned debate on two modest proposals into a vote of confidence on his administration’s foreign policy and a test of American willingness to resist a threat defined to endanger the basic security and values of the American society
(Pemberton pg. 92). By Truman doing this it almost put congress at a no win situation. Congress couldn’t go against Truman cause this speech was nationally broadcast which would mean the people would be scared. For example, Congressman Francis Case stated, ” The situation was regarded as an accomplished fact. You had spoken to the world.” (Evernton pg. 84). By everyone hearing that there is such a threat of course they wanted to be protected so turning this down was not an option. Also if congress denied this plea it would have put a huge dent on Truman and his administration.
By this foreign aid being passed it caused a lot of stirrups between major political figures. Many congressional leaders were confused by the fact that this speech was raised so quickly that congress had no time to prepare. The fact was that Britain withdrew their troops so quickly from Greece that we need to react. Questions also arose due to the stand of Greece and Turkeys governments. The Greek government was very undemocratic and corrupt and Turkey was about the same and remained neutral through WW2. These questions all came to a halt when the bill passed.
One of the failures that came about to Truman was that most of Europe was struggling economically and now they were in somewhat of a threat from communist. This brought about the earlier stated Marshall Plan. This plan offered aid to all nations. The US had now become a very internationalists state in a matter of months.
Was the US taking an unconstitutional role in other countries? This was the first time that we could direct see money flow to foreign countries in order to help our country out. In order to stop communism we did very unconstitutional acts and made many enemies on the way. Such as when North Koreans tried to take over South Korea. The US was right in the way and sent a bunch of troops over there to fight and stop communism. We were up against more then we could handle. Many of our men were dying and no-one was seeing this. The American society was oblivious to the fact that this wasn’t the best move. Yes we finally gained control but not after the deaths of 60,000 of our men. This was a little to much involvement for the US and I think Truman knew this. The US gained nothing for fighting except a little spread of communism and a new border in Korea.
Another major failure of the Truman Doctrine was the involvement we had in the Vietnam war. A man by the name of Ho Chi Minh invaded the southern part of Vietnam. The US became quickly involved due to the fact that we saw the huge red flash in front of our eyes again. We began bombing and attacking with many troops but once again to no avail. The north vietnamese were relentless and the US had no chance so we withdrew from the war. This time nothing was accomplished. Nearly 65,000 troops died and communism was not stopped. The worst part was that the american society had lost interest in the war due to the war was fought to far away.
Even though the Truman Doctrine had many failures it had its share of successes to. The goal of the Truman Doctrine was to stop communism and if you look there is no Soviet Union. Obviously the US had something to do with this. Communism is very minute around the world and we no longer are fighting it. The Truman Doctrine made the US play somewhat of a role as peace maker to the world. Some people consider this bad but someone has to do it or little countries would be taken advantage of all the time.
The Truman Doctrine could also be seen recently in the Gulf War. No longer was it a fight against communism but it was a war against a country that was trying to take over a smaller one. It was also deeper then that cause yes we were also worried about the oil. The fact was we need oil so this was a war that had two right causes. The most successful part that the american society liked was the human casualties were slim to none. With this war we gained national pride back in troops being sent away and without the Truman Doctrine no foreign involvement would have been attempted.
The US has fought in little wars around the world and has also given aid to many places. This illustrates the impact of the Truman Doctrine on our foreign policy. We have aided and joined alliances with Europe to battle communism and maintain a steady democracy all over. The Truman Doctrine has helped the US gain national superiority and still maintain a steady relationship with most of the world.
The Truman Doctrine has affected everyone in the US and nearly every country in the world. Many people blame the involvement in the wars in Korea and Vietnam on the doctrine. But what if the doctrine wasn’t passed? Communism most likely would still be trying to take over and we might have been one of those countries. Truman wanted to restore balance and didn’t have the intention of policing the world. The Truman Doctrine ensures that even without a direct threat to america we must use American lives to protect our freedom (Freeland pg. 124). In conclusion, people believe the Truman Doctrine was a very bad thing for America, but I on the other hand think that it is what makes us who we are today: The United States of America.