Friday, June 21, 2013

America's Policy of Containing Communism

I.0.0 Introduction On the the 12th of March the year 1947 the then American President, Truman, gave a speech that was aimed at dramatically presenting the threat poised by Communist Soviet Union, not only to America but also the rest of Europe. Such a dramatic representation of the threat posed by the Soviet Union was intended to persuade the American Congress to vote in favor of giving the nations of Greece and Turkey the assistance that they had requested from the United States of America. In this speech, President Truman succeeded in separating the world into two main parts: The regions in support of Communism and those against it. This speech, which was later on to be referred to as the Truman Doctrine pledged the American nation to “Assist the free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures” (Merril, 2006, p. 27). In spite of the fact that the Truman Doctrine was initially aimed at addressing the threat posed by the Soviet Union, it was quickly adopted to underpin the American policy towards Europe and the rest of the world during the Cold War era. This paper aims at discussing the Truman Doctrine in detail with particular inclination towards analyzing the success of America’s policy of containing communism in the 1945-1974 period. 2.0.0 America's Policy of Containing Communism The American policy of containment in the period 1947-1974 was uncomplicated and an example of one of the rare incidents in which politicians in America actually did what they had committed themselves to doing. In his speech, President Truman, was appealing to the American Congress to endorse the $400 million worth of millitary and financial assistance that the nations of Greece and Turkey had requested from the United States of America so as to ward off any from of subjugation by the Soviet Union. President Truman was persuaded that these two nations were actually being confronted by the threat of Communist aggression and America had the responsibility of stepping in to prevent it. It was then that President Truman made it clear that America should adopt a fresh foreign policy doctrine by stating that “It must be the policy of the United States of America to assist the free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures” (Merril, 2006, p. 27). Campbell (1965, p. 3) claims that the captive countries in the eastern part of Europe during America’s activity of Communism containment from 1947-1974 have been a topic of great interest in any deliberations made in the history of American foreign policy. This is due to the fact that, regardless of America doing everything in its power to ensure that Communism did not spread, these nations were influenced by the Soviet Union into embracing the ideology of Communism after the Second World War. In a manner different from President Truman, former American President John F. Kennedy was convinced that any nation that inclined towards the Communism ideology should not necessarily be perceived and treated differently by the United States of America as a consequence of these nation’s different circumstances and conditions (Campbell, 1965, p. 3). President Kennedy consequently took it upon himself to make contact and associations with the Soviet Union while making sure that, at all times, America possessed the necessary defence strength and capacity in case of any unexpected enventualities. According to Campbell (1965, p. 3) President Johnson was not as enthusiastic to “build bridges” with the Communist nations. As a matter of fact, when President Johnson attained victory over his rival Senator Barry Goldwater on the November of the year 1964, he made it clear that the American nation was committed to perpetrating a widespread offensive aimed at ensuring the defeat of Communism. In the period 1947-1974 the nation of America and the Soviet Union were engaged in a war, albeit a cold one, to gain influence and dominance in the region of European as well as the rest of the world. Investigations into the history of Europe at this time reveal that the nations between Germany and Austria on one side, and Turkey and Russia on the other side formed a border between the opposing nations and often time acted as the battle grounds (Campbell, 1965, p. 4). The people in the Baltic region, the Poles, Croats and Serbs, Hungarians, Albanian, Czechs and Slovaks as well as the Greeks and Albanians, were not able to set up strong political systems and stable states. The major reason for this was the fact that these nations were characterized by great diversity and fragmentstion amongst its peoples. Consequently, the fate of the nations in third world and Eastern Europe regions was less dependent on the actions of the United States of America and more dependent on the geographical position of of Eastern Europe between the nations of Russia and Germany. Dulles (1972, p. 150) posits that in spite of the fact that the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China did not have any significat formal associations after WW2, numerous studies have been conducted on the diplomacy between these two nations during the 1949-1969 period. This was a time in which the American nation had already committed itself to the principles of the Truman Doctrine and was doing everything necessary to make sure that the ideology of Communism did not spread to the third world. As a consequence, the relationship between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China during this period was characterized by “policies, political maneuvering, and conflict” (Dulles, 1972, p. 150). There are a number of factors that caused the People’s Republic of China to oppose the United States of America and embrace Communism. Dulles (1972, p. 150) points out that the antagonism and hostility that China harbored towards the American nation was a consequence of a great number of myths in the People’s Republic of China regarding American as well as the diplomatic offensives and missionary impudence that characterized the international affairs between these two nations. According to Campbell (1965, p. 7) the United States of America disregarded the transformations that had been brought about by Germany and Italy’s military confrontation in Eastern Europe and went ahead to acknowledge the governments of Poland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Greece. The American president at the time, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, formulated the Atlantic Charter of the year 1941. In this Charter, these two American leaders made clear their intention to ignore and completely disregard any territorial transformations that were against the free will of the people concerned and their liberty to chose for themselves the types of political systems and ideologies that they wanted to incline towards. In spite of this, most of the regions in Eastern Europe, with the exception of Greece, were invaded by Stalin and his armies, and within a short time, most of the political power in Eastern Europe was in the hands of the Soviet Union Communists. It is interesting that the Soviet Union did not engage in the establishment of full blown Communist dictatorial regimes; on the contrary, Campbell (1965, p. 8) states that it spread slowly and inclined towards the formation and preservation of coalitions in its areas of influence. In order to indicate that it was serious in its commitment to contain the spread of Communism, the nation of America engaged in a number of activities in the period lasting 1947-1974. To begin with, the NATO agency was formulated to act as a first line of defence, firstly to America and then to those nations that needed America’s help in resisting the threat of Communism from the Soviet Union. In addition to this, Schuessler (2009) claims that tthe United States of America participated in the Korean and Vietnam Wars so as to send a clear message to the Soviet Union that America was ready to engage in a military confrontation in the containment of Communism, if need be. America was committed to supporting the rebuilding of Europe after the World War 2 and this was indicated by the monetary resources, time and energy that the America nation injected into the process (Leffler, 2011). When the the Afghanistan nation was faced with the threat of the Soviet Union and its Communist ideologies, the United States of America wasted no time in providing the Mujahideed with the military resources that they needed to fight Soviet Union. The closest that the world came to a third world war was when the American nation committed itself wholeheartedly to ensuring that Russian missiles were not placed in Cuba. The commitment of America to the Truman Doctrine during the 1947-1974 period was clearly evident in the massive amount of money spent in foreign aid as well as in ensuring that nations in the third world did not embrace the ideology of Communism (Corke, 2001, p. 150). 3.0.0 Conclusion This paper has deliberated upon the Truman Doctrine of containing Communism and its spread in the third world nations. As already indicated in the discussions presented in this essay, the policy of American containment of Communism cannot be said to have been completely successful. This is due to the fact that although America attained great victory in ensuring that Communism did not spread as predominantly the Russians would have liked, there are still a number of nations, for instance the People’s Republic of China that embraced Communism. In addition to this, this essay has clearly showed that the fate of the nations in third world and Eastern Europe regions was less dependent on the actions of the United States of America and more dependent on the geographical position of Easter Europe, between the nations of Russia and Germany. 4.0.0 Work Cited Campbell, J. C., (1965), “ American Policy Toward Communist Eastern Europe”, Minnesota Archive Editions- University of Minnesota Corke, S-J., (2001), "History, historians and the Naming of Foreign Policy: A Postmodern Reflection on American Strategic Thinking during the Truman Administration," Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 16 Issue 3, pp. 146–63 Dulles, F. R., (1972), “American Policy Toward Communist China: The Historical Record 1949- 1969”, The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 32, Issue 1, pp. 150-151 Leffler, M. P., (2011), “The Spectre of Communism: The United States and the Origins of the Cold War 1917-1953”, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 160 pages Merril, D., (2006), “Truman Doctrine: Containing Communism and Modernity”, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp 27-34 Schuessler, J. M., (2009), "Absorbing The First Blow: Truman And The Cold War," White House Studies 9#3, pp 215-23