Essay on containment (cold war)

Containment was a policy used by the Americans used stop the spread of Communism and communist expansion through military, political and economic means. Specifically in the Cold War era, the U. S. implemented this policy through the Truman Doctrine and the founding of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Another factor of the containment policy was the Soviet Union’s rejection of the Marhsall plan. Containment started in 1949 with the Truman Doctrine. The development of the Truman Doctrine initiated in February of 1947 when England, weakened by an unprofitable economy, informed the United States that it could no longer afford to supply military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey. This doctrine asked Congress to provide assistance to Greece and Turkey and support any country resisting Communism. Specifically, Truman wanted $400 million in military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey. The conditions in Greece were deteriorating with a severe economic depression and a civil war. In addition to Greece, Turkey was experiencing serious economic problems. This included inflation and territorial threats from the Soviet Union, who demanded control over the Dardanelles Straits and Eastern Asia Minor. Although Truman was only asking for money, it was clear that he had declared a worldwide war against Communism. The Truman Doctrine contained the official declaration of the Cold War. The Marshall Plan extended was a recovery program created by George C. Marshall, the Secretary of State under Truman. The main goal of the Marshall Plan’s main goals were to improve the economic conditions in Western Europe, effectively ending the desire to revolt and convert to Communism, as well as to pry the Eastern bloc out of Soviet control. This plan offered American financial aid to Europe. It was a relief for Europe, as many countries lay in ruins after WWII. Millions of people had been killed or wounded. Various industrial centers were destroyed. In addition, Europe was on the brink of famine. However, this plan was made with huge disadvantages to Russia, including openly disclosing information about a country’s economy. In addition, the United States joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949. The original purpose of NATO was to form a defensive alliance to “ contain” superpower Russia. In addition, it was constructed to maintain stability, improve morale, block revolution, and ease fears about the revival of West Germany. This was crucial at this time, since western European governments feared armed insurrection, Soviet military expansion, and the power of a revived West Germany. In response this, however, Eastern Europe formed the Warsaw Pact. This further alienated Soviet Russia from the US and Western Europe. I believe that containment was the correct step for the U. S. to take. Stalin had taken over much of Eastern Europe and his ambition of world domination was evident. It was known that Stalin was paranoid about Western ideas in his country, as he feared these concepts would cause the Soviets to revolt. This fear of revolt led to the Soviets’ refusal to accept the Marshall Plan, which in part led to the Truman Doctrine, NATO and the Warsaw Pact, which in turn led to the Cold War. If Stalin had accepted the Marshall plan, the Cold War could have been avoided. However, he went up against the U. S. and lost. This was done by bankrupting the Soviets. By the end of the Cold War, Soviet Russia collapsed and with it, Communism. For the new Russia, that emerged out of the ruins of the Soviet one, rejected Communism and embraced perestroika (” reconstruction”), and glasnost (openness Citations: 1) Bernstein, Barton J. ” Containment.” Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy. Ed. Richard Dean Burns, Alexander DeConde, and Fredrik Logevall. 2nd ed. Vol. 2) New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002. 345-364. Gale U. S. History In Context. Web. 6 May. 2011. 3) Heineman, Kenneth J. ” Communism and Anticommunism.” Americans at War. Ed. John P. Resch. Vol. 4: 1946-Present. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 43-46. Gale U. S. History In Context. Web. 6 May. 2011.