The Truman Doctrine: An Overview

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The Truman Doctrine: An overview The Truman Doctrine was the first, formal statement by a US president that America would intervene in the affairs of the world in a formal and consistent manner. It was the death knell of American isolationism and was an open acknowledgement of America's position as a world power willing to take aggressive action in international affairs. Truman unambiguously characterized the Soviet Union as evil, casting America's commitment to aid the Greek government against communist insurgents in a moral light (Coffey 1984: 233). In a speech to a joint session of Congress in 1947 in which he outlined the doctrine, Truman stated: "One of the primary objectives of the foreign policy of the United States is the creation of conditions in which we and other nations will be able to work out a way of life free from coercion. This was a fundamental issue in the war with Germany and Japan. Our victory was won over countries which sought to impose their will, and their way of life, upon other nations" (Truman 1947). Truman believed that the US must learn the lessons of World War II, which he saw as illustrating the dangers of appeasement of aggressive powers. "World War II convinced Truman that America must not again shirk its responsibility to international collective security as it did after World War I" (Coffey 1984: 236). The first part of Truman's speech was specifically focused upon what he believed was the strategic and moral imperative to provide
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