Was the policy of containment correct for the U.S. to follow after WWII?
The containment policy was a strategy that was adopted by the United States of America in 1947 in its bid to check the spread of communism. The idea was a brainchild of George Kenan who by then was the director of the State Department’s policy planning staff. The containment policy was adopted by Truman’s Doctrine and tried to assist Turkey and Greece to counter the USSR’s advancements by providing those governments with financial aid especially after the United Kingdom decided to withdraw its support.
This research paper is going to discuss and critically look at whether the containment policy was an appropriate action to be taken by the United States after the Second World War. The rationale behind the formation of the containment policy was a belief that communism ideologies were like water that would trickle down to other nations very fast and thus, unless a control measure was taken it would pose a big threat to the whole world. In a bid to defend democracy and promote open market system, the then US president Harry Truman adopted the policy of containment.
What prompted the US policy maker Kenan to come with such a policy was the marching of the Red army to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and within a short moment the governments of Bulgaria and Romania were dancing to the tunes of the USSR. By 1945, the Soviet Union under the wing of Lublin Regime had taken over Poland’s leadership. Other nations that were in danger of being conquered were Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Stalin also had an idea of making the whole of Germany a communist republic but the US was not to sit aside and watch USSR pursue its selfish motives at their own cost (US Department of State).
It is for this reason that Truman adopted this strategy geared to support the minorities who were fighting against majorities’ subjugation and to check the spread of communism ideologies in the Cold War era. This was a strategy that proved to be very successful as it was able to keep USSR away from taking over the Turkish and Greece governments. The US government did this by asking the congress to approve the provision of financial and military assistance to these nations amounting to 400 million US dollars something that was done without much ado.
Three months later after the congress approved the provision of assistance to Greece and Turkey, the US secretary of State George C. Marshall came up with an economic recovery plan for the European nations. The main idea was to provide the uneconomically stable European nations with financial and material assistance to boost their production and recover from the W. W. II’s economic shock (US History). An Act under the name of the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) was signed to take care of this and its main aims were to ensure that European nations used one currency to enhance international trade.
The Marshall plan also aimed at checking the spread of communism through national communist parties. To ensure their dreams became a reality they formed the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) which after some time came to be known as the Organization for European Economic Cooperation and Development (Hogan 78). This plan worked until its activities were put under the mutual security agency. The plan was a success though it was with a lot of resistance by the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries.
It worked help the countries that had been destroyed by the Second World War to uplift their economies (Schain and Judt 14) Also as a containment policy due to the domination of the Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union (Info Please), a strategy known as collective security whereby an attack of one nation was considered an attack to all nations was adopted by the US. To this end, an alliance known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed. The organization was aimed offering military assistance to any country that was under threat of the Soviet Union (Duiker 52).
The US’ containment policy was a good strategy of keeping communism ideologies that were being spread by the Soviet Union in check. It helped in controlling the Soviet Union’s advancements in Greece and Turkey and it has helped the European nations in recovering from their economic shock after the Second World War.
US Department of State. Kennan and Containment, 1947. Accessed from http://www. state. gov/r/pa/ho/time/cwr/17601. htm Info Please. The Marshall Plan.The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Columbia University Press, 2007. Available at http://www. infoplease. com/ce6/history/A0831964. html US History. Postwar Challenges: Containment and the Marshall Plan. 2008. Accessed from http://www. ushistory. org/us/52c. asp Hogan, Michael J. The Marshall Plan: America, Britain, and the reconstruction of Western Europe, 1947-1952. Cambridge University Press, 1989 Duiker, William J. U. S. containment policy and the conflict in Indochina. Stanford University Press, 1994. Schain, M. and Judt, Tony. The Marshall plan: fifty years after. Palgrave Macmillan, 2001Sample Essay of Eduzaurus.com