The Truman Doctrine Essay

1367 Words Nov 16th, 2008 6 Pages
The Truman Doctrine and the Development of American Foreign Policy during the Cold War
On March 12, 1947, President Harry S. Truman defined United States foreign policy in the context of its new role as a world superpower. Many historians consider his speech to Congress as the words that officially started the Cold War. The Truman Doctrine was a major break from U.S. historical trends of isolationist foreign policy. His speech led to the Cold War policy of containment. Moreover, it served as a precedent for future U.S. policy of interventionism. According to Stephen Ambrose, an important quote from Truman’s speech, “I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by
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In fact, Truman was even told that he would need “to scare the hell out of the American people.” He did just that with the Truman Doctrine. Truman showed the American people a legitimate threat to their way of life by creating the idea of us-versus-them, the communist way of life versus the American capitalist lifestyle. From that point on, everyone was classified as either a U.S. supporter or as a communist. The Truman Doctrine fulfilled the American desire for all wars to be epic battles between light and darkness, good versus evil, which in the end unified most dissenters to Truman’s cause. Nevertheless, the stipulations outlined in the Truman Doctrine did not accurately depict the development of American society. In 1947, the U.S. was a place of free institutions, representative government, and freedom of religion, in which society’s direction was strongly influenced by the will of the majority. However, the U.S. was not a place that guaranteed individual liberties for everyone nor freedom from oppression. Yet even if Truman’s words were not an accurate depiction of the direction of American society, they undoubtedly affected its progress. The Truman Doctrine facilitated future foreign entanglements such as the Korean War and the Vietnam War, which were justified by the need to defend inherent

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