The Truman Doctrine

1364 WordsNov 10, 20086 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…show more content…
Another example of the Truman Doctrine’s inconsistencies with American society is found in the witch hunts of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Once again, while Truman spoke of protecting other peoples of the world from political oppression, he did not protect U.S. citizens from those very oppressions. In the Tydings Committee Report, which criticized McCarthyism, it is written that: “The spectacle (McCarthyism) is one we would expect in a totalitarian nation where the rights of the individual are crushed beneath the juggernaut of statism and oppression; it has no place in America where government exists to serve people, not to destroy them.”⁵ This statement demonstrates the extent of the problem in American society just a few years after Truman gave his speech concerning the superior freedoms present in the American way of life. Although developments in American society contradicted what Truman articulated in his 1947 doctrine, the ideals he highlighted are, and have always been, ones that Americans like to think are deeply rooted in what it means to be a U.S. citizen living in “the land of the free.” At the time Truman gave his speech, the three most important factors influencing his policy formation were the American monopoly on the atomic bomb, the disastrous state of Western
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