25 May 2022


Truman Doctrine and International Relations

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The presidential doctrine is a creation of the United States in a bid to cooperate with countries whose leaders were in line with the United States goals and attitudes, especially with regards to foreign affairs (Brands, 2006). Most of these doctrines are related to the Cold War period. Whereas different presidents had their various styles on the handling of foreign affairs, certain presidents had doctrines applying to their administration. These presidents included Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, James Monroe and Richard Nixon. This paper discusses an in-depth analysis of the Truman doctrine and its application on foreign policy with different countries.

The Cold War period started shortly after the Second World War as aggressions between the existing powers ensued. In the face of Soviet threat in many parts of Europe, the United States reacted by sending aid to many European nations, thereby affecting the spread of Soviet influence in the region. This came as a replacement to the British aid that was often available in the region. Britain had gone under financially and was unable to support allies in the European region. As a result, the Truman doctrines arose as a response to the perceived aggressions conducted by the Soviet Union in Eastern European and Middle East countries. There was an increased number of communist movements in countries such as Turkey, Greece and Iran (Ozer, 2014). American foreign policy was thus shifted towards the containment of Soviet influence in the region.

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In the Truman doctrine, the United States showed willingness and readiness to send monetary support, equipment or its military to regions that were threatened by communist forces. The United States would thus give material and moral support in resisting the spread of communist attitudes in those countries (Canterbery, 2014). President Truman termed it as the United States’ support to peoples who are resisting subjugation by small groups of armed minorities coupled with outside pressure. In the signing of this bill into law, President Truman insisted that nations that would not receive the necessary aid would fall into the hands of communists with direct and large impacts to their regions. Therefore, the bill was signed into law, where Turkey and Greece would receive financial help of up to $400 million to enable the resistance against communist influences in their countries (McGhee, 2016). Other European countries that had embraced communism such as Italy and France were encouraged to eradicate it, as communism was seeking to destroy any forms of opposition within their scope of rule.

In comparison, the doctrines of containment and opposition to communism were largely carried out by the British before the World War 2 period. Nonetheless, with the financial pressures mounted upon the British, America took over the role to help with containment of communist influence as propounded by the Soviet Union. The result was that there was continuous antagonistic relations between the Soviet Union and the United States thereafter. The fact that the United States would go into established communist countries such as Italy and France and try to flush out communist interests was aggravating to the Soviet Union.

The Truman doctrine was complimented by the Eisenhower doctrine, which had the same objective – quelling the influence of the Soviets on nations that were undergoing crisis. This is because the Soviet Union often used the political instability of a country to bring about the introduction of communist influence, thereby taking root at the country’s inception. In the 1950s period, for example, the Soviet Union had taken advantage of the Suez War as a pretext for entrance into Egypt – a move which the Americans found it necessary to intervene. Moreover, Arab hostilities towards the West were increasing as the communist worldview was taken more seriously in this region.

Analyzing the effectiveness of the Truman and Eisenhower doctrines with regards to Soviet influence in communist regions, it is possible to measure the successes of implementation. In Greece and Turkey, for example, there was adequate resistance of Soviet forces of communism in the two countries. Sending the monetary support to the two countries is effectively marked as the start of the containment policy in the region. Through this doctrine and the Marshall Plan, up to $13 billion was sent to Europe for the purpose of rebuilding, facilitating free markets and ensuring the spread of communism was curtailed (Canterbery, 2014). Considering Turkey and Greece in the European context, there was significant success of this doctrine as Soviet influence in the country was effectually stopped. In fact, the effect on the region was felt as countries could now engage trade more freely. Most eastern European countries rejected aid from the Soviet Union as they were afraid of the introduction of communism in their countries. It could thus be said that the doctrine of containment was effective in its work.

In conclusion, the Truman doctrine was a shaper of the containment policy right after the Second World War. Its effectiveness was seen in the ability to counter Soviet influence, especially in Eastern European countries such as Turkey and Greece. Nonetheless, it is possible that the policy failed to take root in Middle East countries.


Brands, H. W. (2006). Presidential Doctrines: an introduction. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 36(1) , 1-4.

Canterbery, E. R. (2014). Communism and The Truman Doctrine. World Scientific Book Chapters , 111-126.

McGhee, G. (2016). The US-Turkish-NATO middle east connection: How the Truman doctrine and Turkey's NATO entry contained the soviets. New York: Springer.

Ozer, M. H. (2014). The Effects of the Marshall Plan Aids to the Development of the Agricultural Sector in Turkey, the 1948-1953 Period. International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, 4(2) , 427.

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