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What were some of the essential themes of the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and the policy of “containment?”

 

Use only the sources provided

 

Sources:

Give me liberty (see attachment)

Henry A. Wallace, Letter to President Truman (1946)

Title:

Henry A. Wallace, Letter to President Truman (1946)

 

Introduction:

Commerce Secretary Henry A. Wallace — one of the few liberal idealists in Truman’s cabinet — sought to discourage the hardening of the government’s approach to the Soviet Union, and to encourage initiatives to ease the growing Cold War tensions.  In the following excerpt from a letter dated July 23, 1946, Wallace urges Truman to build “mutual trust and confidence” in order to achieve “an enduring international order.”  Soon after, Truman asked Wallace to resign, and went on in the following year to issue his “Truman Doctrine” of containment.

 

Question to consider:

How do the assumptions and arguments adopted by Wallace compare with those found in the previous statements by Truman and the National Security Council?

 

Source:

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6906 (Links to an external site.)

 

 

The Truman Doctrine: Address to Congress (1947)

Title

The Truman Doctrine: Address to Congress (1947)

 

Introduction

President Truman proclaimed the Doctrine on March 12, 1947 as an attempt to contain Communism.  The Doctrine shifted American foreign policy towards theSoviet Union from Détente — meaning easing or relaxing — to the containment of Soviet expansion.  It is often used by historians as the starting date of the Cold War.

 

Question to consider

How does Truman define “freedom” in the postwar world?

 

Abridged Text

The Truman Doctrine: Address to Congress, March 1947

 

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Congress of the United States:

 

The gravity of the situation which confronts the world today necessitates my appearance before a joint session of the Congress. The foreign policy and the national security of this country are involved.

 

One aspect of the present situation, which I wish to present to you at this time for your consideration and decision, concerns Greece and Turkey.

 

The United States has received from the Greek Government an urgent appeal for financial and economic assistance. Preliminary reports from the American Economic Mission now in Greece and reports from the American Ambassador in Greece corroborate the statement of the Greek Government that assistance is imperative if Greece is to survive as a free nation.

 

I do not believe that the American people and the Congress wish to turn a deaf ear to the appeal of the Greek Government….

 

The very existence of the Greek state is today threatened by the terrorist activities of several thousand armed men, led by Communists, who defy the government’s authority at a number of points, particularly along the northern boundaries. A Commission appointed by the United Nations security Council is at present investigating disturbed conditions in northern Greece and alleged border violations along the frontier between Greece on the one hand and Albania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia on the other.

 

Meanwhile, the Greek Government is unable to cope with the situation. The Greek army is small and poorly equipped. It needs supplies and equipment if it is to restore the authority of the government throughout Greek territory. Greece must have assistance if it is to become a self-supporting and self-respecting democracy….

 

We have considered how the United Nations might assist in this crisis. But the situation is an urgent one requiring immediate action and the United Nations and its related organizations are not in a position to extend help of the kind that is required….

 

The Greek Government has been operating in an atmosphere of chaos and extremism. It has made mistakes. The extension of aid by this country does not mean that the United States condones everything that the Greek Government has done or will do. We have condemned in the past, and we condemn now, extremist measures of the right or the left. We have in the past advised tolerance, and we advise tolerance now.

 

Greece’s neighbor, Turkey, also deserves our attention.

 

The future of Turkey as an independent and economically sound state is clearly no less important to the freedom-loving peoples of the world than the future of Greece. The circumstances in which Turkey finds itself today are considerably different from those of Greece. Turkey has been spared the disasters that have beset Greece. And during the war, the United States and Great Britain furnished Turkey with material aid.

 

Nevertheless, Turkey now needs our support….

 

At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life. The choice is too often not a free one.

 

One way of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression.

 

The second way of life is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon the majority. It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio; fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms.

 

I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.

 

I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way….

 

The free peoples of the world look to us for support in maintaining their freedoms.

 

If we falter in our leadership, we may endanger the peace of the world — and we shall surely endanger the welfare of our own nation.

 

Great responsibilities have been placed upon us by the swift movement of events.

 

 

I am confident that the Congress will face these responsibilities squarely.

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