Policies of Containment

10 October 2016

Policies of Containment From the time Truman first took office to when Eisenhower left, communism was spreading all over the world. The force of communism was so strong that the U. S. had trouble stopping it. The only thing possible was to assess the situation and contain it. Containing communism was the main goal for both Truman and Eisenhower throughout their presidential terms. In order to do so, certain policies had to be enforced to prevent Soviet influence onto vulnerable nations. Though the two presidents practiced containment during the Cold War, the methods they used had similarities and differences.

Truman was more readily focused on limiting war and keeping taxes low when trying to stop the spread of communism. His plan for containment consisted mainly of giving struggling countries money to stabilize their economies and make communism unnecessary. One example of this was the Truman Doctrine, which made the fight against communism a key part of domestic and foreign policy. It specifically supported Greece and Turkey by giving them $400 million in financial aid to prevent Soviet influence. Once the Soviets began making their way to Czechoslovakia, Truman instituted the Marshall Plan.

Policies of Containment Essay Example

This gave $16 billion to Western Europe in order to aid in their recovery and stop communism from spreading further. The plan served to benefit the U. S. economy because the Europeans would eventually buy their goods after receiving the money. A third example of containment implemented by Truman was the formation of NATO. Soviet domination of Eastern Europe alarmed the West, so the U. S. created this military alliance, which proclaimed that an attack against a non-communist nation was considered to be an attack against all non-communist nations, which was to be met by appropriate force.

Rather than engage in war immediately, this allowed for doing so only when necessary, thus limiting war. These actions highlight Truman’s main policies of containment, which will be shown to contrast Eisenhower’s methods of stopping communism. Eisenhower implemented containment with brinkmanship to stop communism in a more aggressive manner. Unlike Truman, he was less soft on Communism and looked towards using military force. One thing he did was create the New Look policy, which committed the U. S. to a smaller army and navy while uilding up nuclear weapons reserves and expanding the air force. By doing so, he was essentially threatening the Soviets with nuclear warfare if they continued spreading communism. Truman was shown to have used more conservative methods during his presidency. Eisenhower followed this policy with the idea of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), which suggested that retaliation from one side would produce the same on the other. As so, the U. S. looked to increasing its cache of nuclear weapons in order to make communist nations fear them.

The idea of another major war seemed possible with Eisenhower’s harsh containment actions. He further used covert operations and the CIA to gain information on those considered enemies of the U. S. Rather than trying to protect non-communist nations, he resorted to a more in-depth approach by combating communism from the source. This was obviously a risky method that could have lead to conflict if done improperly, which is why Truman never thought of doing something so drastic. It can be seen that Eisenhower created harsh containment policies that greatly contrasted those formed by Truman.

Aside from the many differences between the two leaders, both shared the idea of stopping the spread of communism. Truman was the initiator of the containment policy, and Eisenhower greatly expanded on it. Both thought about the American public first before making any kind of decision. For instance, Truman made acceptable foreign policies to benefit the people of the U. S. , while Eisenhower started the “New Deal”, which stated the he would help out the Americans when they needed it. They also focused on containing communism in Europe rather than in Latin America.

Although Truman started the Mutual Security Act of 1951, which provided $38 million of military assistance for Latin America, it did not prove to benefit them much at all. Whether it was the Truman Doctrine or Eisenhower’s use of the CIA, each action of containment performed by these two were directed towards European nations. Both presidents were highly against McCarthyism as well, and as a result had trust in their supporters when making decisions. Overall, Truman and Eisenhower had their own ways of containing communism, which were followed by both successes and failures.

There were relationships and distinctions in the ways the two leaders tried to stop communism. They had unique plans due to the problems going on during their leadership; the main importance was to find the most efficient way possible to practice containment. Personality traits may have also played a role in their decision-making, in that Eisenhower was a rather aggressive man while Truman was more conservative. The real question is, who proved to be more successful in keeping the majority of the world non-communist? The two presidents proved to demonstrate two different ways in which the same problem could be solved.

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