The Truman Doctrine

Author: Harry S. Truman- He was the 33rd president of the US. He was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s vice president before Roosevelt died.  He helped to end World War II when he dropped an atomic bomb on Japan. He helped to start the Cold War using communist containment. [1]

Context: He was giving this speech during the Cold War, which was not a physical war fought with weapons, but rather a period of military tension after World War II between the capitalist US and its allies and the communist Soviet Union and its allies. [2] In addition, this was also taking place during the time of the Greek Civil War, which left Greece essentially economically devastated.

Language: Truman uses persuasive and simple, clear language to get his point across to those that he is addressing. He lays out his viewpoints very well.

Audience: He is addressing Congress during a joint session.

Intent: This was Truman’s attempt to stop Soviet expansion during the Cold War. His intent was to contain communism throughout Europe and to provide help to any country threatened by communism.

Message: Truman’s message was that communism needed to be contained. He uses Greece as an example for this. He describes how the Greek Civil War has left Greece with “cruel enemy occupation, and bitter internal strife.” He argues that Greece’s very existence is highly threatened by Communist activities and that the US must provide support for Greece, Turkey, and any other country in need under the threat of communism.




Why do you think Truman was so adamant about containing communism?

One thought on “The Truman Doctrine

  1. It is my opinion that Truman was so adamant about containing communism because he recognized that the war-ravaged regions of eastern Europe were prone to institute radical forms of government. As a Western leader, Truman opposed communism, and more than likely considered it to be a radical political ideology. Churchill, in his “Iron Curtain Speech,” stated how most politicians in the pre-WWII era did not heed his warnings that proclaimed that a dangerous government was brewing in Germany. Hitler’s radical Nazi regime took advantage of the Germany’s tumultuous economic and political conditions and was able to rise to power, something that would have been unfathomable if Germany hadn’t been completely subjugated by the Versailles treat. I believe that Truman was trying to learn from previous politicians’ mistakes by denouncing communism right from the get go, and not allow it to engulf certain volatile countries (Greece in particular).

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