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?

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: ( 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.

Dialogue between Plato and More

Plato and More meet to discuss the idea of democracy as a form of government.


Plato: A democracy being a proper form of government – you cannot be serious Thomas.


More: Yes I am quite serious. It will allow for the country to prosper and for the citizens to elect officials and create a society full of happiness.


P: Democracy is a joke and does not work. Look at the state and Greece and Athens right now. Does it really look like democracy is working?


M: The democracy that Greece has is not a true democracy and is severely corrupted. A true democracy would never be run the way Greece is.


P: Thomas even if you create a democracy it will fail because over time it will become corrupted.


M: You really need to have more faith in the members of society. You make them seem so selfish and greedy. If a proper society is created individuals will want what is best for the overall community and not just what is best for them.


P: You are way too idealistic. Society needs rulers who have been trained their entire life. These individuals will be taken at a young age and learn what it takes to rule and how to rule a society. These individuals will be called philosopher kings and they surely will not have their minds corrupted by this idea of democracy.


M: That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard Plato you make people seem like they are sheep and need a shepherd to lead them. Your perception of man disgusts me. You must have more faith in people. People will work together so that they can have an overall better way of life. Democracy is a just form of government because not only is it “a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system”( but it is the way to forming a utopia.


P: You must have lost your mind. This is truly the most bizarre thing I have heard. I don’t understand why you have such a difficult time understanding that democracy will never work. Democracy leads to chaos because it creates class separation in which the classes will eventually clash and the poor will revolt against the individuals in power. In addition, democracy makes society veer further and further away from a utopia.


M: If you were truly educated as you brag that you are, Plato, than you would know from reading my book Utopia that a society is most happy when the government is not involved and citizens feel that they aren’t being ruled. Your idea of the philosopher king is creating an elitist society where only the strongest and smartest can rule. These individuals cannot relate to the common man and will not know how to rule common people because these “philosopher kings” have an unrealistic perception of society and expect more from people than they really can do.


P: Thomas you have made a very good point. I want to sleep on this new concept that you have made me think about. Want to meet tomorrow for lunch to discuss further?


M: Most certainly.

The Justice of Dharma: A comparison between two seminal concepts of the West and the East

Final Paper Proposal

My final paper will compare the idea of justice as defined in Republic, written by Classical Greek philosopher Plato, to the Hindu concept of dharma. Justice is defined in Republic as balance in society on both the individual and State level, where the desires, emotions, and reasoning of each individual’s mind are balanced and each individual uses his/her natural talents to play his/her role in bettering society. Dharma, a concept originating in Vedic India, can be defined as achieving harmony within the individual and society. These two concepts both deal with justice on the individual and social level; given that they originated on the opposite sides of the world, the Eastern and Western spheres of humanity, why are these ideas so similar? I will attempt to answer this question and more by researching historical contexts, tracing theorized roots, and attempting to make connections between the two ideas as well as the cultures in which they originated.