presidents truman eisenhower and kennedy essay

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The 1st three postwar American presidents were responsible for molding the United States’ strategy and tactics to get the growing and developing Cold Battle. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy each had similar yet unique approaches to the task. Certain common threads looked in each policy; communism was found by every men as an extreme global risk that must be comprised, if not rolled backside.

They were likewise all receiving, to somewhat varying deg, of the idea that all communist movements on the globe were orchestrated by Moscow and geared towards furthering the aim of total global communist domination.

Each guy was offered different challenges and exercised different options in working with those difficulties. This paper is going to assess which usually of the three immediate postwar American presidents carried out the most effective containment in the Soviet Union.


In the quick aftermath of World War II, the United States was the best force the world had ever seen. To give just one example, by the end of the war the United States produced an impossible fifty percent from the entire planet’s goods and services.

[1]It was in this ambiance of unmatched economic may and armed service dominance that Harry Truman stepped after the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

In the end of America’s previous battles, the nation experienced retreated to domestic pursuits. Truman would form a policy that was with no precedent in American record; this coverage would demand large ranking armies in peacetime, a radically focused and central executive, and a motivation to task American pressure around the world, at times without immediate congressional acceptance. The underlying logic to this trend in American government was the need to contain the expansionist designs of the Soviet Union.

Western The european countries was very vulnerable to communist ideology and influence amid the say destruction made by the conflict. The Truman government understood it turned out in America’s self-interest to assist Western The european countries back to the feet. A good infusion of American aid presents markets for America’s avalanche of goods and services, and also making communism a much less desirable option for the newly rich Europeans.

The Marshall Plan was the name provided the massive infusion of economic aid in to Western The european countries. Between 1948 and 1952, this aid totaled $13 billion dollars.[2]Comparable aid was also offered to the communist states of Eastern European countries, but it was rejected by the communists like a thinly-veiled efforts at infiltration an influence, as a great imperialist Trojan viruses horse. In acknowledging western aid, Western European countries averted a slide in communism. In turn, by rejectingeuropean aid, East Europe and the Soviet Union showed themselves to be more worried about with ideological purity than with the immediate physical well being of their citizens. This was a public relations hen house for america, and Truman is to be acknowledged for his foresight.

While the Marshall Plan avoided the possibility of the expansion of Soviet ideology, Truman also developed of positive steps to develop the physicaldevelopment of Soviet power too. In 1946, the Soviet Union had failed to end their occupation of northern Serbia, as essential by previous agreement. Truman directed Secretary of State Adam Byrnes towards the United Nations to protest this violation.[3]Sooner or later, Stalin opted for withdraw, having been held to account within the world stage for his duplicity.

Stalin’s the case intent in Iran are unable to ultimately end up being known. He may have got planned to operate a vehicle south and seize Iran’s massive olive oil fields, or perhaps he may have been simply dragging his foot in rewarding his responsibilities to pull away. The simple fact remains, yet , that Truman took the proactive step of dialling out the Soviet Union and politically dealing with its activities on the world stage. The precedent this set ought not to be underestimated; the us made it crystal clear to the Soviet Union it would not gently accept noticeable attempts in further territorial expansion in the expense of weaker neighbours. That this signal arrived early and forcefully in the Cold Conflict is once again a credit to Truman’s leadership and foresight.

A similar circumstance played in 1946 in Turkey. Stalin demanded from the Turkish government distributed access to the Straits relating the Black Sea with the Mediterranean.[4]Again, Truman lined up firmly behind the weaker country, and Stalin was forced to take away his demand. Once again, in 49, Truman broke the Soviet blockade of Berlin by ordering a massive, around the clock portage.[5]These shows of resolve were important for Many allies as well as its trustworthiness.

These episodes certain Truman that the Soviet Union was curved on growth and that it must be American policy to help threatened states avoid this aggression. Here the plan of hold came into target, articulated many effectively inside the Long Telegram of 1946, authored simply by Ambassador George Kennan.[6]

The identified communist subversion in Portugal and Chicken led Truman to articulate the Truman Doctrine, which usually called about America to aid any region subjected to communist infiltration. This new plan was accompanied by a radical reorganization, rearrangement, reshuffling of the American government.

In 1947, the Nationwide Security Act created the CIA, the Division of Defense, and the Countrywide Security Authorities. This creation of your spy agency, a permanent ranking army, and a substantially strengthened exec changed forever the nature of American government.[7]Walter Lippmann was one highly regarded establishment academics who cautioned that the make an effort to contain communism across the globe “would destroy the metabolism by always creating an all-powerful president as leader in main. [8]

The final innovative change that Truman instituted was the development of CONSUSTANCIAL in 49. NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION represented Many first armed service alliance with Europe since 1778, plainly marking an additional radical break with Many past. This mutually-reinforcing alliance was intended to make it clear to the Soviet bloc that the attack on any western nation would be reacted to as an attack upon all. The Soviet Union responded to each of Truman’s moves, notably simply by forming the Warsaw Pact in response to NATO.[9]The reactive characteristics of Soviet behaviors is usually indicative that Truman was on the questionable.

The second half of Truman’s presidency was characterized relatively by a decrease of focus, maybe inevitable after Truman’s powerful moves in the first term. The Marshall Strategy, the Nationwide Security Work, and the CONSUSTANCIAL treaty essentially laid the whole framework intended for America’s method to the Cool War. Truman’s hard line in Iran and Turkey and the Berlin blockade were essential shows of yankee resolve. As the Cold War became more difficult, however , Truman lost target.

The Chinese Communist victory in China’s civil war, consolidated by 1949, was go through by Truman as further more evidence of a global conspiracy described from Moscow.[10]With this kind of mindset, Truman saw the Korean Conflict as an example of Soviet growth that would have to be resisted forcefully. It really is clearer in retrospect that this was a incredibly oversimplified meaning of this discord and that the commitment of American military might, which eventually received communist Cina directly into the war, in fact did nothing to contain the Soviet Union; this merely savane the United States.


Dwight Eisenhower’s method of containing the Soviet Union is often called the “New Look policy.[11]This approach aimed to make the Chilly War less expensive to wage by concentrating on a rapid indivisible buildup and expansive covert operations rather than huge typical armies. Eisenhower identified that attempting to take on the communists man for person meant, this means that, “bankruptcy.[12]

During Eisenhower’s two conditions, America’s indivisible stockpile grew from you, 000 weaponry to 18, 500, as well as significantly increasing the destructive power of each blast via the introduction of the hydrogen bomb.[13]Cutting edge planes and missiles were developed to supply these weapons.

When it comes to covert operations, the two most infamous these kinds of actions in the Eisenhower years were the CIA-orchestrated traumatisme against chosen leftist commanders in Serbia and Guatemala. Eisenhower, or at least his rhetoric, was executed to replace “containment with “rollback.[14]

These effet were indicative of Many black and white outlook at this time of the cool war; leftists were communists, and communists were Soviets. Simply no ambiguity, zero internal contradictions, no shades of gray. Eisenhower was handed to very simplistic interpretations of universe affairs. “Freedom is usually pitted against slavery, lightness against darker. [15]Consequently , Eisenhower may well characterize overthrowing the leftist governments of Guatemala and Iran because “containing the Soviet Union, but this really is a difficult look at to promote in retrospection.

When Mohammad Mosaddeq demanded a greater share of cash in on the Anglo-Iranian Oil Business, the British government was able to help influence the Eisenhower administration that the could just be a communism plot. As Serbia bordered the Soviet Union and contained huge supplies of olive oil, the danger of Iran heading communist was clear. Eisenhower purchased the CIA to orchestrate a hen house that would empower the shah, or emperor, at the price of the elected government. Overthrowing an elected govt, even a left-wing one, might only be imaginable if the hen house organizers got managed to influence themselves which the Soviet Union was really at your workplace behind the scenes.

Jacobo Arbenz Guzman was chosen to power in Guatemala in 51. His sin was to propose property reform within a country where poorest 50 percent of the persons owned only three percent of the land.[16]Although only four communists sat inside the fifty-six member national Our elected representatives, the United States overthrew this government in the name of anti-communism.[17]

Throughout all of the specific technical actions taken in the 1940’s and 50’s, the overarching strategy of building thousands of elemental weapons, growing intelligence capacities and covert operations, and maintaining a massive military machine was most based on the predicate of any Soviet menace.

The prominent force in international affairs during the early Cold Warfare was not the reds or democracy, but anti-colonialism. This is something that america could not objectively accept. As a bunch upon many new nations emerged from your remnants of European colonialism, both the United states of america and the Soviet Union desired to generate them while allies and clients.

The American govt proved struggling to appreciate that lots of of the new nations worldwide were wary of American electricity and impact but that this did not indicate they were communists. A large number of nations, such as India, Egypt, and Dalam negri, joined a nonaligned movements, oriented toward neither the Soviet Union nor the usa. To numerous American policymakers, including many of Eisenhower’s leading advisors, “neutral was a skinny code phrase for “communist.

Eisenhower articulated his own cortège in 1957. Supported by fear of leftist effect in the Middle East, especially coming from Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt, Eisenhower mentioned his purpose to use American force to protect anycountry from “armed attack by any region controlled by simply international communism.[18]

The Eisenhower règle rivals the National Reliability Act of 1947 regarding its influence on American govt. A republic which usually, just twenty years earlier, had been isolationist to the point where it would not intervene also after the fall of ls Europe in 1940 was now pledging to use power anywhere in the world if it perceived communists to be at the job. It was an open-ended commitment, to last till “the President shall decide that the peace and protection of the international locations in the basic area¦are assured. [19]It is now 2007, and this doctrine must still be essentially, since the Middle section East continues to be short on “peace and security.

Eisenhower’s capability to constructively indulge the Soviets was fatally undermined for the American secret agent plane was shot down over the Soviet Union towards end of his term. The resulting chilly atmosphere with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushev, as well as the recent rise of Fidel Castro in Emborrachar, would control the plan of Eisenhower’s successor.


Certainly one of John N. Kennedy’s 1st priorities was going to temper Eisenhower’s New Look coverage; covert makes and nuclear arsenals might continue to be accumulated, but Kennedy would change Eisenhower’s neglect of standard military makes. In 1961, Khrushev predicted that the around the world socialist trend would success via countrywide wars of liberation. Kennedy recognized that surface troops would be far more useful in such wars than indivisible weapons, an overall total weapon unsuitable for limited wars.

By the time Kennedy took office, the Frosty War experienced lost some of the unambiguous, black and white characteristics that had seemed thus clear initially. It absolutely was beginning to turn into clear that the Soviet Union and Cina were faraway from the best of friends, which many international locations of the totally free world weren’t exactly totally free.[20]This new blurriness proved hard to apply as practical American policy, even so.

The Soviet Union, of course , selected Kennedy’s term to attempt two of its biggest gambles of the entire Cold War. Around 1962, the Soviets attempted to travel the Allies from West Berlin because they build the Berlin Wall.[21]Kennedy effectively and forcefully caused it to be known that America will not withdraw by West Bremen. A significant line was drawn by young leader.

In 62, the Soviet Union located nuclear weaponry and the missiles to deliver these people in Emborrachar, ninety kilometers from Florida. Kennedy is to be recommended for his handling with this very real crisis. A diplomatic settlement was reached whereby the Soviet Union will remove the missiles via Cuba and the United States could remove its missiles coming from Turky, and Kennedy can be stated to have thrown back the Soviet Union in the one particular case in which they actually threatened the physical security states from very close range.

The Cuban Missile Turmoil also resulted in a thawing of US-Soviet relations, because both nations around the world were given a reminder of how harmful their retenue were to each other and to themselves. This new sobriety generated the initial arms-control pact between the two powers that kicks off in august 1963.[22] Kennedy’s speech by American College or university in 06 of 1963 made it crystal clear that the policy of the United States from there forward could be the gradual although inevitable pursuit of detente with the Soviet Union.[23]

The ultimate shadow dangling over Kennedy’s legacy, of course , is Vietnam. During Kennedy’s period, the number of American advisors increased rapidly. While Kennedy was obviously not satisfied together with the course of incidents in Vietnam, it remains unclear what he would have done had he lived. If he had pursued the course that his successor did and sent in hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, his anti-communist legacy could have been weakened considerably. Vietnam, like Korea, was a turmoil that experienced much more regarding local background politics compared to the Soviet Union. As in Korea, American discovered this lessons much too later in Vietnam.


It seems clear in retrospection that Harry Truman got the best record of that contains the Soviet Union. Firstly, Truman benefits in this judgment via simply having been there at the beginning. Over and above being there, however , this individual oversaw the creation with the tools and institutions that might be used to deal with communism over the Cold War: the Division of Defense, the CIA, and CONSUSTANCIAL. Pertaining to his experience his placing of precedents alone, Truman deserves a lion’s talk about of the credit.

Additionally to supervising these new institutions, nevertheless , Truman was also up against what he perceived to become instances of attempted Soviet growth. Usa, Greece, and Turkey every lay simply beyond the borders with the Soviet Union and, while the Soviets may have felt that they had been simply obtaining their borders by meddling in these countries, the People in the usa were inclined to see their very own behavior in these countries as being aggressive. Wherever Truman detected this “aggression, this individual ultimately required the Soviets to back down.

By the time Truman left workplace, the Soviets were confident that any kind of overt attempt at territorial development would be met head on by the United States. Indeed, in the event anything, america was prone to jump the gun and intervene in the event that there was however, smallest hint of communist subversion in a strategic country.

Eisenhower backed Truman’s hold policy, and talked from time to time of a more aggressive “roll back insurance plan, but he did not include a direct conflict with Soviet power of the sort that Truman did, therefore in the broad sense, his presidency basically held the queue and undermined certain leftist governments that were not directly regulated by the Soviet Union.

It truly is unfair to talk about that Eisenhower contained the Soviet Union by overthrowing the government of Iran, although that was his explained intention at that time. Eisenhower should be condemned, furthermore, by simply ordering house of thousands of nuclear weaponry that could have never have all recently been used, and which must now be ruined before they will fall into an unacceptable hands.

Kennedy deserves nearly all the credit while Truman as they, too, was confronted with directSoviet dangers including the Cuban Missile Crisis, which was one of the most dangerous second of globe history by a certain perspective. Kennedy’s containment in the Soviets in Berlin, his rollback with the Soviets by Cuba, great subsequent look for better relationships before his death combines to be a sign of very strong Cold War leadership.

[1] Walter LaFeber, The American Age, Quantity2 (New York: T. W. Norton & Co., 1994), 457.

[2] Ibid., 479.

[3] Ibid., 469.

[4] Ibid., 469-70.

[5] Bernard Bailyn, et al., The truly great Republic(Lexington: D. C. Heath and Company, 1992), 452.

[6] Lafeber, The American Grow older474-5.

[7] Ibid., 483.

[8] Ibid., 484.

[9] Bailyn, The truly amazing Republic461.

[10] Lafeber, The American Age502-4.

[11] Bailyn, The Great Republic502.

[12] Lafeber, The American Era541.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Bailyn, The truly amazing Republic502.

[15] Ibid., 500.

[16] LaFeber, The American Age, 546.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.564-5.

[19] Rich B. Morris, ed., Significant Documents in United States Record, Volume 2(New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Organization, 1969), 201.

[20] Bailyn, The Great Republic525.

[21] Morris, Significant Documents225-8.

[22] Lafeber, The American Age604.

[23] Morris, Signifcant Paperwork247-53.

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