1. Name of President- Harry S. Truman
2. Dates in Office- 1945-1952
3. Political Party- Democrat
4. Presidential Cold War Philosophy
President Trumans philosophy was to come to the defense of those countries in danger of Soviet takeover, but the US would not start a war with the Soviet Union. He also made alliances with Europe through NATO, which was a contrast to the past because from the time of Washingtons Farewell Address, Americans have strongly favored avoiding all foreign entanglements. He also was taken over by the paranoia created by the Red Scare because he ordered investigations of 3 million federal employees for security risks.
5. Actions taken during presidency in regard to Cold War.
a. The Beginning of the Cold War- The end of World War II raised the issue of the shape of the
new world and what new political alliances would be formed. This would become the major
source of contention between the worlds leading political-economic system, capitalism and
communism. The American economy was growing more dependent on exports, while American
industry needed to import metals. This required open trade and friendly relations with those
nations that provided metal. With many economies in shambles, competition for the few healthy
economies became fierce. Germany, Japan, and Great Britain, who had been the strongest before
war had either been defeated or their influence was greatly reduced. The United States and the
Soviet Union became the worlds leading two powers, and they quickly became enemies.
b. The Truman Doctrine- After the Soviet Union had spread communism to Hungary
and Czechoslovakia, it threatened to take over Greece and Turkey. Truman was intent on
preventing this. The Truman Doctrine states that the US would support the free peoples who
were resisting the attempted subjugation of the Soviet Union. This was the cornerstone of a
larger policy called containment, which provided that while the US would not go to war with
the Soviet Union, it would come to the defense of countries in danger of Soviet takeover.
c. The Marshall Plan- This was a way to gain alliances. This plan sent more than $12 billion
to Europe to help rebuild its cities and economy. In return for that money, those countries
were expected to become American allies. It was offered to Eastern Europe, but no country
d. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)- This was a mutual defense alliance
with Western Europe. It was formed due to the aggressive actions of the Soviet Union.
Truman did not have an easy time convincing Congress that NATO was necessary because since
Washingtons Farewell Address, American sentiment strongly favored avoiding foreign alliances.
e. Berlin Blockade- In 1945 Germany was divided into four sectors, with England, France, US,
and the Soviet Union each controlling one. Berlin, although deep in the Soviet territory, had been
similarly divided. After learning that the three western Allies planned to merge their sectors into
one big country and bring that country into the western economy, the Soviets responded by
imposing a blockade on Berlin. Truman refused to surrender the city and sent airlifts to keep the
portion under western control supplied with food and fuel. This continued for about a year, after
which the Soviets gave up. Afterward Germany was split into West Germany and East Germany.
f. Korean War- The Korean War began when Communist North Korea invaded South Korea,
which the US backed. Truman believed the Soviet Union to have engineered the invasion, so
he took stiff countermeasures. Originally intending only to repel the invasion, Truman decided
to attempt a reunification of Korea. When America attacked North Korea, it provoked China,
who were not keen on having hostile American troops on their border. When China entered the
war, American and South Korean soldiers were pushed back to the border. US commander
Douglas MacArthur recommended an all-out confrontation with China, trying to overthrow the
Communists. Truman thought a war with the worlds largest country might be dangerous and
Decided against it. Peace talks began soon after.
g. McCarthyism- The conflict with Communists resurrected the paranoia at home know as
the Red Scare. In 1947 Truman ordered the investigations of 3 million federal
employees. Those found that were potentially threatening were dismissed without a hearing. In
1949, Alger Hiss was found guilty of consorting with a Communist spy and a scientist was found
guilty for passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. In this atmosphere,
a man named Joseph McCarthy claimed to have a list of more than 200 known Communists
working for the State Department. Without uncovering a single Communist, he held years of
hearings. His demise came in 1954, when he accused the army of harboring communists. He
was made to look foolish and the public turned its back on him.
6. Did this presidents decisions reflect a change in policy over time?
The actions taken by Harry S. Truman remained constant throughout his term. The Truman Doctrine stated his policies for his whole presidency. This policy was designed to support free people resisting communism and gaining alliances with other European countries, which was achieved through the Marshall Plan and NATO.
7. Did this president change the US role when compared with the previous president?
This president did change the role, but just because the war had ended and a rivalry was heating up between the United States and Russia. As the two leading powers after the war had ended, Harry S. Truman designed his policies to combat the Soviet Union. This was different from Roosevelt because the rivalry wasnt as intense when Roosevelt was president.
8. What is your evaluation of this presidents Cold War policy?
Trumans presidency set the stage for the rest of the cold war. I think that if the United States had not gotten involved as much as it had that the consequences would have been less for our own countrys interests. But if the United States had not gotten involved, communism would have spread a lot faster and to many more places, so I think that it was partly justified for Truman to interfere with Russia and communism to protect our own countrys interests.