President Truman declared in 1947 that one of the primary objectives of American
foreign policy was the creation of conditions in which we and other nations will be
able to work out a way of life free from coercion. We shall not realize our objectives
unless we are willing to help free people to maintain their free institutions, and their
national integrity against aggressive movements that seek to impose on them totalitarian regimes. .... I believe that it must be the
policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted
subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.
The Truman Doctrine was the result of a perceived threat of communist expansion
and the policy developed from it gave shape to the cold war and
the polarization of the world into peoples in the sphere of influence of the two dominant
world powers (the Soviet Union and the United States).
With the Truman Doctrine, President Harry S. Truman established that the United
States would provide political, military and economic assistance to all democratic nations
under threat from external or internal authoritarian forces. The Truman Doctrine
effectively reoriented U.S. foreign policy, away from its usual stance of withdrawal from
regional conflicts not directly involving the United States, to one of possible
intervention in far away conflicts.
On Dec. 31, 1946, President Truman declared an end to the period of World War II
hostilities. Early in 1947 the British said they could not support the Greek government
after March 31. Many diplomats feared that the Soviet Union would then spread its power
throughout the Middle East. President Truman met the problem by asking Congress for 400
million dollars to aid Greece and Turkey. Congress appropriated the money. This policy of
aid, popularly known as the Truman Doctrine, was an American challenge to Soviet ambitions
throughout the world. - writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/truman-doctrine.html
The Truman Doctrine arose from a speech delivered by President Truman before a
joint session of Congress on March 12, 1947. The immediate cause for the speech was a
recent announcement by the British Government that, as of March 31, it would no longer
provide military and economic assistance to the Greek Government in its civil war against
the Greek Communist Party. Truman asked Congress to support the Greek Government against
the Communists. He also asked Congress to provide assistance for Turkey, since that
nation, too, had previously been dependent on British aid.
Addressing a joint session of Congress on March 12, 1947, President Harry S.
Truman asked for $400 million in military and economic assistance for Greece and Turkey
and established a doctrine, aptly characterized the Truman Doctrine, that would guide U.S.
diplomacy for the next forty years. President Truman declared, "It must be the policy
of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by
armed minorities or by outside pressures." The sanction of aid to Greece and Turkey
by a Republican Congress indicated the beginning of a long and enduring bipartisan cold
war foreign policy. The Truman Doctrine has raised profound questions from historians
regarding its origins, long-term consequences, and the relationship between domestic and
foreign policy. However, one thing is for certain, the Truman Doctrine signaled America's
post war embrace of global leadership and ended its longstanding policy of isolationism. -
The Truman Doctrine grew out of George Kennans 1946 long
telegram which argued that the US should follow a policy of containment
to stop Russian expansion. Then, in February 1947, the British announced that they were
withdrawing their soldiers from Greece. On 12 March 1947, Truman warned Congress that,
without help, Greece would fall to Communism and that Turkey and other countries
would follow. He said that the Cold War was a choice between freedom and oppression and
that Americans were OBLIGED to to support free peoples and to abandon their
decision not to get involved in European affairs.
However, Trumans speech did not mention containment, and most of the
$338 million he sent to Greece went on dive bombers and napalm bombs. In fact, many people
in the Truman administration wanted actively to oppose Russia, and Truman said that:
We hope that in years ahead more and more nations will come to know the advantages
of freedom and liberty. It is arguable that the Truman Doctrine was not just a
policy of containment but was an American challenge to Soviet
ambitions. - johndclare.net/EC8.htm
The Truman Doctrine also aided the French in their pursuit to maintain the
Vietnamese colonies in the country now known as Vietnam.
Excerpt from the Truman Doctrine:
At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between alternative
ways of life. The choice is too often not a free one. One way of life is based upon the
will of the majority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representative
government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and
religion, and freedom from political oppression.
"Acheson and the Formulation of the Truman Doctrine" - Frazier, Robert
1922. Journal of Modern Greek Studies - Volume 17, Number 2, October 1999, The Johns
Hopkins Univ. Press.
Abstract: The Truman Doctrine speech marked a major change in American foreign policy.
Literally it was only a request to the Congress for funds in peacetime to defend two Near
Eastern countries from pro-communist and Soviet pressure. The American administration
justified this request by emphasizing the danger of totalitarianism as opposed to
democracy rather than playing on fears of Soviet aggression or invoking the specter of
communism. Dean Acheson was almost completely responsible for this approach, but his
motives can only be suggested. Nevertheless the Congress and the American people
recognized the real issues and supported the request.
President Harry Truman
The Truman Doctrine was named after President Harry Truman, an unlikely, but
effective leader who played a major role in guiding the world through the end of World War
Two, and cemented the promotion of democracy as the centre piece of U.S. policy.
When he took office in April 1945 after the death of President Roosevelt, Truman seemed to
be everything his predecessor was not. Roosevelt had led the United States out of economic
crisis and through the most devastating war in the history of mankind. Truman was an
inexperienced senator from Missouri who became vice president and then president almost by
Yet this president's accomplishments made him one of the critical figures of the 20th
Century. Harry Truman made the key decisions that shaped the way the world works and
clearly staked U.S. policy on support for subjugated peoples around the globe. This man
developed the Truman Doctrine, the formal commitment of the United States to stand in
defense of freedom after World War Two, which is as relevant today as it was then.
The Truman Doctrine: Turkey - Joseph C. Satterthwaite, University of
Michigan, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol.
401, No. 1, 74-84 (1972)
On February 21, 1947, the U.S. government was informed by the British government that by
April 1 it would have to discontinue, because of its own difficulties, its military and
economic aid to Greece and Turkey. It hoped the United States could take over this burden
in both countries. Presi dent Truman and the State, War, and Navy departments at once
realized that unless the United States did so, Greece would be taken over by its communist
partisans strongly sup ported by the Soviet government working through the com munist
Bulgarian and Yugoslav governments; that if this happened Turkey would find itself in an
untenable position in spite of its large but antiquated army; and that the eastern
Mediterranean and the Near East in that event would inevi tably fall under communist
domination. In a dramatic mes sage to Congress on March 12, 1947, President Truman said
that the U.S. must take immediate and resolute action to sup port Greece and Turkey. The
Congress, after extensive hear ings, approved this historic change in U.S. foreign policy
in a bill signed May 22, known as Public Law 75. Out of the President's message came the
Truman Doctrine. The principle of assistance to countries of the free world under the
threat of communist aggression having been accepted by the Congress, the Marshall Plan
followed not long after. The military and economic aid given Turkey in the ensuing years
was highly effective: the U.S. probably received more per dollar advanced than in any
other country, at least for the period of this study which ends with the signing of
the CENTO (Baghdad) Pact in 1955.
Greek Crisis and the Truman Doctrine: A Rationale for Intervention - ksgcase.harvard.edu
Abstract: This case synopsizes the story of the 1947 US decision to provide aid to the
government of Greece in its efforts to defeat a communist insurgency. There was little
dispute within the Truman administration that such aid was of crucial importance,
notwithstanding isolationist sentiment in Congress in the wake of World War II. The fall
of the Greek parliamentary democracy to communist guerillas threatened to allow the Soviet
Union to dominate southern Europe and the Mediterranean. The future of western European
democracy in the wake of such events was by no means assured. There was dispute, however,
as to the nature of the rationale which the Truman administration should advance in
support of the US aid package. Should the aid be linked to specific but limited American
strategic goals? Or should it be justified by a broader "Truman Doctrine,"
framed in moral terms as support for those seeking freedom anywhere in the world? The
issue divided President Truman from key foreign policy analyst George Kennan.
Greece and the Truman Doctrine - Fricas,John - oai.dtic.mil
Abstract : The Truman Doctrine has generally been perceived as the decisive factor which
led to the defeat of the communist insurgency in Greece in 1949. This doctrine is also
credited with having stopped the spread of Soviet expansion in Europe and the Balkans.
However, available historical data does not support the argument that Greece was saved
from communism by U.S. aid and assistance. In fact, current information indicates that the
raisons d'etre for this policy were based on misperceptions and the lack of accurate
information. Grave doubts about the efficacy of the Truman Doctrine have also been cast by
the continued spread of communism beginning with the communist victory in China in 1949
and the Korean War in 1950. This thesis is devoted to determining the real impact of the
Truman Doctrine on the Greek civil war (1947-1949). In addition, an attempt is made to
divine the importance, effectiveness and meaning of the Truman Doctrine as an American
foreign policy. (Author)
Acheson and the Formulation of the Truman Doctrine - Journal of Modern Greek Studies -
Volume 17, Number 2, October 1999, The Johns Hopkins University Press
The Truman Doctrine speech marked a major change in American foreign policy. Literally it
was only a request to the Congress for funds in peacetime to defend two Near Eastern
countries from pro-communist and Soviet pressure. The American administration justified
this request by emphasizing the danger of totalitarianism as opposed to democracy rather
than playing on fears of Soviet aggression or invoking the specter of communism. Dean
Acheson was almost completely responsible for this approach, but his motives can only be
suggested. Nevertheless the Congress and the American people recognized the real issues
and supported the request.