Truman’s Ulterior Motives

3 Observations

1. In his address to Congress to request aid for the reconstruction of Greece and Turkey due to the damages done during the Second World War, President Truman justified his request by saying that if the United States didn’t provide assistance to these countries, another power could potentially impose upon their respective sovereignty. He omitted what seemed to be his true intention: the inhibition of communist ideas. He seemed to believe that if the United States did not act promptly, the Soviet Union would instead try to impose communism upon these nations, even though he did not once mention the Soviet Union by name. His true intention was to instill democracy before the USSR could instill communism.

2. It is not uncommon for the President of the United States to request that Congress work with the Executive rather than against it. While most of the time this plea falls upon deaf ears, Truman managed to win the approval of the Legislature with his appeals to preserving the sovereignty of the two countries. He managed to do so with a variety of tactics, the most prominent of which was appealing to Congress’s sympathies with the Greek people, of whom he says “Greece is not a rich country. Lack of sufficient natural resources has always forced the Greek people to work hard to make both ends meet. Since 1940, this industrious and peace loving country has suffered invasion, four years of cruel enemy occupation, and bitter internal strife.”

3. I must provide credit for the following point to its source: (http://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/truman-doctrine). This page brought up an interesting point which I felt compelled to include in this post: the Truman Doctrine changed the United States’ policy on foreign involvement. While normally the US tended to keep out of international affairs prior to World War II, Truman’s call for aiding Greece and Turkey caused the US to become more active in shaping the global economy and network.

2 Questions

1. In what way(s) might the Truman Doctrine be considered a factor of the initiation of hostilities between the Soviet Union and the United States?

2. Upon reading the Brezhnev Doctrine, do you think it is a response/reaction to the Truman Doctrine?

Interesting Idea

The Truman Doctrine was seemingly the United States’ first attempt to impose democracy in the Middle East. Not only does the United States provide aid to Turkey in order for the nation to rebuild, but one year after he issued this request to Congress, the United States became the first country to officially recognize the sovereignty of Israel. In quick succession, President Truman established relations with two sovereign nations in this region of the world, perhaps to further prevent the spread of communism.

5 thoughts on “Truman’s Ulterior Motives

  1. President Truman stated: “it must be the policy of the United States to support free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” Because the Soviet Union was a “totalitarian regime” they were a threat to freedom and peace of Europe and the United States and needed to be stopped.

  2. In response to your first question, the Truman Doctrine could be interpreted as a political maneuver in direct opposition to Soviet-Communist expansion ideologies. Truman was most interested in supporting democratic countries to combat the spreading of communism. Ironically, our history would prove that sometimes the United States will turn a blind eye to human rights violations in order to support democratic agendas.

  3. The Brezhnev Doctrine certainly has many things in common with the Truman Doctrine in that they are basically opposites, but they are separated by 20 years. It is unlikely that the Brezhnev Doctrine was a direct response to the Truman Doctrine, or it would have come much sooner.

  4. The Truman Doctrine, as you were getting at, was the start of nation building for the US. Not only did it put the US at conflict with all socialist countries, but it set a precedent for the United States’ involvement in the business of other nations. The US is now almost seen as an international police force defending the principles of democracy. Any nation facing a threat to democracy turns to the US for help.

  5. In your main point 1, it was also important point that British could not continue the assistance , and this situation promoted United States to support these two countries.

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