Change in American Foreign Policy as a Result of World War
This responsibility which the United States put upon herself would cause controversy and debate in the years to come. Is it the United States’ right to intervene with foreign affairs or should she take care Of her own business? NO matter what the correct answer is, America made the decision to aid the neglected and abused nations and accept the criticism she would most definitely be the target of.
The first steps leading to this transformation took place when a bold Harry Truman went before congress on March 12, 1947, and requested support for what would soon be referred to as the Truman Doctrine.He petitioned for our hundred million dollars to uphold Greece and Turkey against Communist pressures (Barnett 97). The United States strongly opposed the Soviet union during the Cold War and feared the spread of Communism, and as a result, congress would comply with any suggestions Truman had to hinder Communist expansion. Additionally, Truman declared that “it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures” (Brinkley 834).This declaration communicated a far-reaching and open-ended commitment of boundless dimensions. Critics then and later assaulted that Truman had overreacted by guarantying unlimited support to any autocrat who claimed to be combating “Communist aggression” (Blue 767). Supporters of Truman defended that Trauma’s fear of rekindled isolationism led him to amplify the Soviet threat and to emit his message in the blitzed language of a ‘holy global war” against Communism (Blue 767).
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Trauma’s fear of isolationism contrasts sharply with previous views on America’s foreign policy.Past Presidents such as Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt prided themselves on their hopes for isolationism, and this pride greatly aided their elections. However, history tells us that both of these presidents prospects for the future were in vain. The United States was simply drawn into foreign affairs, and this policy Of isolationism was clearly not destined to be. Not until World War II would this idealist goal be rejected as impossible. By this time, the United States had learned that she would be unable to ignore the rest of the World.When the United States looked inward, horrible acts would take place throughout the rest of the world, conducts which the United States could not turn her back on.
Particular support of this statement occurred when Hitler was allowed to ease his Nazi army in deliberate defiance of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which followed World War l. Europe and the United States saw it better to appease Hitler and sacrifice minor territories in the hopes of preventing a second war. These naive actions only served to aid Hitter’s dictatorial rise to power.The realization that America must participate in foreign matters would mold much of her foreign policy hereafter and would function to define America as a nation that cared about the unfortunates thousands of miles away. This hasty and pivotal turn in American philosophy marked the final American abandonment of the “One World” vision of general idealists and replaced it with another equally powerful vision. A vision of two worlds, one enslaved and one free, in which every rivalry and every conflict could be defined as a struggle between the united States and the Soviet Union (Brinkley 834).Whether to the praise or protest of other nations, the United States would assume her obligation to protect those who were too vulnerable to shelter themselves.
The Truman Doctrine would forever change the foreign policy of the United States and the World. A direct influence of the Truman Doctrine was, of course, the Marshall Plan. Truman considered the European Recovery Program, or the Marshall Plan, to be one of his presidency’s greatest achievements. It was created to ameliorate the economic despair which resulted from World War II in Europe. The plan succeeded beyond the wildest dreams Of its creators.Four years and thirteen billion dollars later, Rupee’s economy was back on its feet. However, the importance of the Marshall Plan lies not in the firsthand and flourishing effects which it created in participating European countries but rather in its long term effects on Europe and other regions of the World and its legacy for he future (Blue 769).
The Marshall Plan was designed to provide aid to post World War II Rupee’s failing economy, therefore ensuring a stable foreign market for the United States and promoting political stability in Europe.Originally, the plan was, “… Directed not against any party or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos” (Blue 769). Unfortunately, the Soviet Union declined a chance at participating in this program, and as a result, many Eastern European nations rejected the plan due to Soviet pressure, thus creating a larger divide between the Communist bloc and the free World. The effects of he plan in Europe were both rapid and convincing (Brinkley 835).
European cities and factories were rebuilt, production rates rose higher than pre-war levels, employment increased, the European deficit decreased, and rates of inflation stabilized. The American economy also benefited from the Marshall Plan, as the majority of the goods that were purchased with Marshall Plan funds came from American markets. The most notable and lasting effect of the Marshall plan, however, was not its immediate success, but rather the sprit of cooperation which it engendered among the participating European countries (Blue 769).As a requirement of the Marshall Plan, the participating European countries would coordinate their efforts for economic recovery, and present the united States with a program of aid that would apply to Europe as a whole, rather than to a collection of divided European countries. This requirement forced previously autonomous European nations to combine their efforts at reconstruction, therefore unifying the nations economically. Prior to the Marshall Plan, each nation struggled to solve its own daunting problems individually, and detrimental restraints were placed on international trade and the transfer of currencies.In short, the Marshall plan facilitated the combination of European economy efforts, and the streamlining of trade, travel, and industry processes throughout Europe.
Now European nations could unite to catalyst their recovery and facilitate their Rexroth. This was a grand change in United States foreign policy that saw the transition from isolationist to internationalist. The Truman Doctrine directly contrasts the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine operated as the United States’ foreign policy for well over one hundred and fifty years.It essentially stated that America would not intervene in the World’s affairs as long as no en interfered with hers. With the Truman Doctrine, America completely reversed that role which had been only briefly breached during the World Wars. Effects of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan appear frequently over the next few decades following their creation.
The first instance of the Truman Doctrine in action takes place regarding Turkey and Greece. In fact, the doctrine was created to deal with this immediate problem.Turkey and Greece lay easily within the realms of Soviet influence and the United States would go to any measures necessary to hinder the Soviet cause and ultimately halt Communist expansion. If Greece or Turkey fell to the Soviets, the strategic eastern Mediterranean would be lost and the United State’s military and commercial interests in the Middle East would be devastated. Since the days of Peter the Great, the Soviets had always desired a warm water port which they were never able to obtain. Now, a perfect opportunity arose for them to seize this strategic unicorn.As a means to oppose these possible advances, the Truman Doctrine came into existence.
Luckily, the Soviets never invaded Greece or Turkey, but the fateful doctrine would always e there if the United States deemed it necessary to call upon in the future. Closely following this near dilemma, the Communist powers of North Korea made the daring decision, in 1 950, to invade the Democratic South Koreans. The United States antennas again perked when Communism attempted to spread corrupt, and before too long the United States took a unanimous vote to declare war on North Korea.During this war, the United States lost approximately sixty-thousand lives in the attempts to secure freedom for the South Koreans. As a result, no borders changed and the united States only succeeded in a minor containment of Communism. Many would argue that this war was fought in vain, and the thousands of American lives sacrificed served no essential purpose (Blue 780). To much extent, this is probably true; however, to the United States, a firm precedent was set.
No matter how minor the issue, the Ignited States would not watch passively as nations became subjugated to oppressive forces against their will.Just when Americans thought their sacrifices Were achieving their goals, another instance of the spread of Communism arose, where the United States’ determination would again be tested. The next result of the Truman Doctrine arose in another Communist entailment effort in Vietnam. Ho Chi Mini, the Communist leader of North Vietnam, invaded the Democratic North Vietnamese. Immediately, the united States began pouring troops, numbering over five hundred thousand at is peak, into the jungles of Vietnam. Again, nearly sixty-thousand American troops lost their lives, and this time, not even saving the defended country.The Vietnam War greatly hurt American spirits and the overall American attitude towards the philosophies which inspired the Truman Doctrine (Blue 837).
Soldiers returned not as heroes, but as national disgraces and the reminders of the only completely failed American war. American liberators were now seen as American imperialists (Brinkley 937). Although the Vietnam War greatly stunned the American cause of spreading freedom, this cause would not easily die, and the Truman Doctrine would live to see another day.For a few decades the Truman Doctrine would prove to be inactive and still debilitated (Brinkley 937). However, in 1990, when Sad Hussein of Iraq invaded neighboring Kuwait, President George Bush of the United States decided to take action. Iraq acquired a huge debt in her war against Iran, and the abundant oil supply in Kuwait was an attractive means of erasing this bet. With Iraq in control of a large amount of the World’s oil supply, the United States would be at Sad Hussein’s mercy.
In addition to the Kuwaiti oppression, the United States could not let this monopoly take place.President Bush commanded a prolonged series of bombings on Iraq which resulted in Hussein’s eventual withdrawal from Kuwait. This was not a war of containment, but it served a similar purpose in that it sought to prevent an aggressor from overtaking a weaker neighbor. Also, the United States fought for her oily supply, giving the war significant purpose in contrast to wide pinions concerning the Vietnam War (Chiropractors 55). Thus, the Gulf War received exponentially more praise and reestablished the validity of the Truman Doctrine (Chiropractors 54).The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan have impacted everyone in the United States and nearly every country in the World since their declarations in 1947 (Barnett 127). All over the world, American troops sit waiting to protect Democracy.
The Truman Doctrine ensures that even without a valid threat to American security, we must sacrifice American lives to protect all free peoples. Also, thanks to the Marshall Plan, a European unity arose following World War II. This unity proved to be invaluable in revitalization the struggling nations of the World following such a grave and costly crisis.x