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The Truman Doctrine

Updated on June 1, 2019
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Jeff Zod is an avid reader, writer and researcher. He enjoys exploring new and old concepts.

The Truman Doctrine was established in 1947 under President Harry S. Truman (Barney, 2010). The fundamental purpose of the Truman Doctrine was to contain the spread of communism throughout the world. The Truman Doctrine involved the Unites States provide military, economic and political assistance to democratic nations under threat of communism by the Soviet Union (Barney, 2010).

One of the precursors to the Cold war and the cause of the Truman Doctrine was the Soviet Union’s aggression particularly towards Poland. The Soviet Union had already sent military troops to Poland as well installation of a communist provisional government against the provisions of the Yalta conference (Barney, 2010). Therefore, the United States realized that it had to implement zealous international foreign policy to prevent the threat of communism to democracy and sovereignty of nations

The relationship that existed between the Unites States and Russia was of mutual distrust and differences in political, economic and military ideologies. The United States advocated for a capitalistic society where free and fair democratic elections are conducted as well as personal freedom and freedom of the press. On the other hand, the Soviet Union advocated for communism where there is no free and fair democratic elections and the society heavily controlled through censorship of the media and the state (Hastedt, 2009).

The cold war relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union was also synonymous with the arms race that saw the United States the Soviet Union develop intercontinental ballistic range missiles. The Soviet Union covertly installed ballistic missiles in Cuba with the ability to reach mainland United States and launch a nuclear attack (Hastedt, 2009). This led to the Cuban missile crisis that forced the United States to impose a blockade on Cuba through diplomatic sanctions.

In addition, the cultural and ideological differences during the nuclear proliferation lead to the doctrine of the Mutual Assured destruction (Hastedt, 2009). The doctrine effectively meant that both the United States and the Soviet Union had the nuclear capability not only annihilate each other’s countries but the entire world.

The bilateral relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States is constantly deteriorating particularly due to military, political and economic ideological differences (Merkin, & Ramadan, 2016). For instance, the United States and Russia are engaged in a proxy war in regards to the management of the civil war in Syria (Merkin & Ramadan, 2016).

The United States supports the National Coalition that is the main opposition in Syria whereas the Soviet Union supports the current Syrian regime under President Bashar al-Assad (Merkin, & Ramadan, 2016). Therefore, the Soviet Union has extensively supplied military and economic aid to the Syrian regime and military as well as conduct airstrikes on Syrian rebels with the aim of securing its interests within Syria and the region.

On the other hand, the United States opposes the Syrian President whom they accuse of heinous crimes against the Syrian people (Merkin, & Ramadan, 2016). As a result, the United States has armed the National Coalition and moderate rebels as well as conduct airstrikes on both the Syrian military and terrorist organizations (Merkin, & Ramadan, 2016). Such fundamental diplomatic differences currently describe the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The immediate effect of the Truman Doctrine was that it contained the spread of communism in some nations. The United States effectively curbed the spread of communism in Greece and Turkey that were under threat of communism. The United States provided Turkey and Greece with a military and economic aid package of about $400 million dollars and as a result both Turkey and Greece survived the threat of communism (Berle, 2015).

In addition, the Truman Doctrine led the United States to play a more active role in international affairs and abandon its otherwise neutral stance (Hastedt, 2009). In addition, the Truman Doctrine led to the implementation of the Marshall Plan that was meant at not only containing the spread of communism but also provide economic and political aid to many nations in Europe to assist in the reconstruction period after the devastation of the Second World War.

The United States provided up to 13$ billion that led contributed to the massive economic growth and industrialization in Europe (Berle, 2015).The Truman Doctrine was successful at containing the spread of communism. For instance, Turkey and Greece through the aid of the United States had the economic and military aid to survive the threat of communism (Barney, 2010).

Also,the Truman Doctrine ensured that the Soviet Union would not engage in armed nuclear conflict. Due to the nature of the Truman Doctrine, the Soviet Union engaged in economic and ideological conflict as opposed to direct military conflict (Barney, 2010). Consequently, the ‘doomsday’ scenario of nuclear war and complete annihilation was never realized.


Barney, T., (2010),. Proclaiming the Truman Doctrine: The Cold War Call to Arms. Rhetoric & Public Affairs, 13(1), pp. 151-154.

Berle Jr., A. A. (2015). The Marshall Plan in the European Struggle. Social Research, 82(1), 199-218.

Hastedt, G. P. (2009). American foreign policy: past, present, future. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Merkin, R. S., & Ramadan, R. (2016). Communication practices in the US and Syria. SpringerPlus, 5(1), 845. Retrieved from:

The Truman Doctrine

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    • Asad Dillz profile image

      Asad Dillz Khan 

      21 months ago from United Kingdom

      You're Welcome!

    • Erudite Scholar profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Zod 

      21 months ago from Nairobi

      Thank you so much Asad.

    • Asad Dillz profile image

      Asad Dillz Khan 

      21 months ago from United Kingdom

      A good historic and informative article Jeff... Very interesting article to read.... Excellent Job! Jeff...

    • Erudite Scholar profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Zod 

      22 months ago from Nairobi

      Hi Pam,

      Thanks for the support.Your kind words give me the motivation to continue writing. I am really humbled.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      22 months ago from Sunny Florida

      This well-written article gives us a good view of historical events and the effect of the Truman Doctrine. I enjoyed reading this excellent article.


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