Containment and the Consequential Policy Development of the United States

Containment and the Consequential Policy Development of the United States

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With the cessation of World War II and continental Europe left in smoking shambles as it was barely two decades prior, communism seemed like an irresistible temptation to countries left ravaged by the war and forsaken by a capitalist system. Ergo, the United States, center of the capitalist west and sworn enemy of communism, devoted itself through the adaption of numerous policies to containing this perceived threat. Consequently, the policies constructed to enforce communist containment were the most significant developing factors of the United States in a postwar world with tremendous impact on both foreign and domestic fronts.
When one thinks of the latter half of the twentieth century, the immediate response is to turn to the Cold War, and when the Cold War comes to mind, a typical route is to make the connection to foreign relations. The Cold War had an unprecedented impact on the nation’s foreign policy as officials began to adapt a more definite interventionist approach in the name of containing communism. The containment frenzy began during Harry S. Truman’s presidency when General George C. Marshall summarized the lessons learned from World War II in For the Common Defense. He advised that the United States militarize itself so it wouldn’t be ill-prepared in case of World War III. Since technological innovations had collapsed what was once considered hemispheric defense of the United States, “the security of the Nation, when challenged by an armed enemy, [now] requires the services of virtually all able-bodied male citizens within the effective military age group” (qtd. in Johnson 213). A cornerstone of containment was set in the Marshall Plan which was also known as the European Recovery Program. This plan provided $13...


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...Ed. Michael P. Johnson. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012. 221-224. Print.
Murrin, John, et al. Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Vol. 2: Since 1863. 6th ed. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
Nitze, Paul. NSC-68. U.S. Objectives and Programs for National Security. Reading the American Past, Volume II: From 1865: Selected Historical Documents. Ed. Michael P. Johnson. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012. 217-221. Print.
Parry-Giles, Shawn J. “Militarizing America’s Propaganda.” Critical Reflections on the Cold War: Linking Rhetoric and History. Ed. Martin J. Medhurst, and H.W. Brands. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 2000. 95-133. Print.
Truman, Harry S. Special Message to the Congress on Greece and Turkey: The Truman Doctrine. AmericanPresidencyProject.com. Gerhard Peters, 2013. Web. 2 December 2013.

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