post-war foreign policy, maintaining that the Soviet Union was “relentlessly expansionary” and that the ebb of “the flow of Soviet power” required a “firm and vigilant commitment” (Kennedy 554). And it was from this principle, to be known as the “containment doctrine,” that much of the post-1945, anti-Soviet foreign policy of the United States arose in a crescendo of increasing intensity.
The application of the containment doctrine began with a series of policies designed to avert war and Soviet dominance. First, in March of 1947, President Harry S. Truman appeared before Congress to request military equipment and advisers to strengthen the defenses of Greece and Turkey against the communist threat (Brinkley, 782, Kennedy 554-55, Palmer 844-45). In his request, Truman pledged the support of the United States to those “free peoples . . . resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or outside pressures” (Kennedy 555). This rhetoric, historically known as the “Truman Doctrine,” formed the basis for further acts of Soviet containment and, indeed, committed the United States and its foreign policy to a comprehensive, international battle against communism.
To be sure, a fundamental element of the containment policy was the recognized need to aid in the economic recovery of Western Europe, where some countries, particularly France, Italy and Germany, were still afflicted with the social and economic turmoil stemming from World War II and were thus susceptible politically to communist exploitation (Brinkley 782, Kennedy 555, Palmer 845). Consequently, in June of 1947, then-Secretary of State George C. Marshall offered economic aid to all European countries, hoping to reconstruct the economy of Europe and thereby strengthen its resolve against Soviet influence (Kennedy 555, Palmer 845). The Marshall Plan, as it became known, dedicated 12.5 billion