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?