The Truman Doctrine

Harry Truman Harry Truman [1]

The Truman Doctrine actually predates the Marshall Plan by a few months, having been set forth by U.S. President Harry S Truman on March 12, 1947. Historians often use the announcement of the Truman Doctrine to mark the official beginning of the Cold War. This foreign policy stated that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid for the express purpose of preventing the countries from falling into the Soviet sphere.

Truman believed totalitarian regimes represented a threat to international peace and U.S. national security. The Greek Civil War (1946–1949) provided the background for Truman’s argument that if Greece and Turkey did not receive urgently needed aid, then they would inevitably fall to communism. The fear was that communism would spread throughout the region.

The doctrine was expanded worldwide as part of the Cold War to assist all countries threatened by communism and the Soviet Union. This shifted United States foreign policy to a policy of containment aimed at stopping the spread of communism. This would keep communism "contained," isolated within its current borders, stopping the domino effect.


Page Notes:

[1] Source: This image from is in the public domain.

Close Window