Containment As U.S. Policy During Cold War Era

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Containment as U.S. policy during Cold War Era

From after World War II and up until 1991 the foreign policy of the United States was based on Cold War ideology and the policy of containment; to prevent nations from leaning towards Soviet Union-based communism, as first laid out by George Kennan and later used as one of the key principles in the Truman Doctrine (LeCain). As this essay will argue, because of this policy the United States made a commitment to fight communism everywhere in the world and got them involved in conflicts more because of self interest, self protection and determination to beat communism than the cause itself.

The fear of communism first emerged after the Soviet Revolution in 1917 during the First Red Scare in the 1920s. The fear of extreme ideologies that emerged in Europe during the Great Depression was present in the United States and President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Second New Deal was established to guarantee a modest level of economic safety and security thus avoiding communism and fascism which used fear to gain popularity (LeCain). The New Deal programs to conservatives were un-American and began criticism towards liberals for being weak on communisms, rooted in the fear of big government, but establishment of the House Committee on Un-American Activities and the ratification of the 1940 Smith Act undermined the conservative argument (LeCain). After World War II the criticism against liberals came back and again the conservatives accused the democrats for being too weak on communism. In 1950, Senator McCarthy, arriving late on the Red menace arena (Fried 121), began his communist-sympathizer which-hunt and became the symbol of anti-communism. But events such as the Truman Doctrine, the Berli...

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...nd get involved in conflicts around the world in order to prevent communism from spreading.

Works cited:


Brands, H. W., "The Devil We Knew", New York, Oxford University Press, 1993

Fried, Richard M., "Nightmare in Red", New York, Oxford University Press, 1990

Maier, Pauline, Roe Smith, Merritt, Keyssar, Alexander, Kevles, Daniel J., "Inventing America", Second Edition, Volume 2: From 1865, New York & London, W. W. Norton & Company, 2006

LeCain, Timothy J. "Lecture 3: Roots of WW III", Montana State University, Bozeman, 12 and 14 September 2006.

LeCain, Timothy J. "Lecture 4: Cold War Through Korea", Montana State University, Bozeman, 19 and 21 September 2006.

LeCain, Timothy J. "Lecture 9: Vietnam and the 1960s" , Montana State University, Bozeman, 7, 9, 14 and 16 November 2006.
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