President Harry Truman who was sworn in as the 33rd president of the USA, after the sudden demise of President Franklin Roosevelt, played a huge part in shaping the diplomatic policies of America. His first achievement in office was bringing an end to the Second World War (Roskin & Berry, 1999). He achieved this by dropping the atomic bomb on Japan. Before President Trumans term, the USA was not directly involved in regional conflicts, and it remained silent and non-participant on such issues. However, President Truman changed the status quo through his policies. In 1947, he created a policy which was later referred to as the Trumans Doctrine. The doctrine stated that the USA would provide military, economic and political assistance to nations that were threatened by external forces or internal pressures. President Truman declared the policy in a joint session of Congress through a speech which many historians say triggered the start of the cold war. The Truman doctrine was aimed at stopping the spread of communism in Asia, Africa, Middle-East and Europe.
The Truman doctrine was inspired by the withdrawal of British governments financial and military support from Greek in its civil war against Greek communist. The withdrawal of the British government gave Trumans a chance to fight communism head on. President Truman believed the Soviet Union was aiding communists in Greece and he also felt that if the communists won the fight in Greek and Turkey, the Soviet Union would move to expand its horizons. He also believed that a communist win in Greece would bring political instability in the Middle East and eventually disrupt international peace. President Truman asked the Congress to provide financial aid in equal measures to both Greece and Turkey. To defend his doctrine, Truman argued that the USA be obliged to help the free people against a system of government that undermined democracy (Gaddis, 1974). President Truman wanted to contain the expansion of communism, presumably everywhere and this led to the USA involvement in issues that even its own Congress was against.
The Truman doctrine laid the foundation of American foreign policy till today. In 1949, the doctrine led to the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). A military alliance between states of North America and European nations based on North Atlantic, that still works even today (McGhee, 2016). Another effect of the Truman Doctrine was that it was the official start of the cold war between the Soviet Union and the NATO nations. Finally, since President Trumans term, the United States of America, has been involved in international affairs and provides military and economic assistance to nations facing civil war all around the world. As a result of Trumans doctrine, the United States of America became a super power nation.
In conclusion, the main advantage of President Trumans doctrine was that the USA took up a leadership role to guide other countries of the world as it was a super power. Through Trumans doctrine, the USA provided financial and military assistance to other nations that were in need of help (Truman, 1947); a policy that has been in effect until today. For example, today the USA provides military assistance in countries of the Middle East that face civil wars. The main disadvantage of Trumans doctrine was that it led to the start of the cold war. Truman was determined to see the end of the spread of communism and was ready to help any nation fighting against communism and the Soviet Union. The cold war finally ended in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, but for many years the cold war had been on driven by Trumans doctrine.
Gaddis, J. L. (1974). Was the Truman Doctrine a real turning point? Foreign Affairs, 52(2), 386-402.
McGhee, G. (2016). The US-Turkish-NATO Middle East Connection: How the Truman doctrine and Turkey's NATO entry contained the Soviets. Springer.
Roskin, M. G., & Berry, N. O. (1999). IR: The new world of international relations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Truman, H. S. (1947, March). The Truman Doctrine. In Address, Joint Session of Congress, US Capitol.
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