President Harry S. Truman The Presidency of Harry S. Truman
Basic Information: Party: Democrat Years in Office: 1945-1953 President Before: FDR President After: Eisenhower Important Bio Information: • WWI combat veteran • Ties to Political Boss Tom Pendergast in Kansas City • U.S. Senator 1934-1944 • WWII Truman Committee • FDR’s running mate in 1944 (reliable Southern Democrat) • Only 82-days as vice president
Franklin Roosevelt FDR in 1932 at 50 years old On of the few photos of FDR in his wheel chair FDR in 1945 at 63 years old
Origins of the Cold War • Ideological incompatibility (Communism vs. Capitalism) • Treatment of leftists in the US • US intervention during the Russian Civil War • Failure to recognize the USSR • Soviet Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler • Strained ties during WWII – esp over opening a 2nd front • US A-Bomb intimidation • Soviet occupation of E. Europe • Reconstruction of West Germany • Soviet test A-Bomb in 1949 Stalin remembers…..
Truman & the Cold War *Important to remember that Truman faced intense political pressure after WWII from Republicans to get tough on Communism & reign in taxes. The Cold War was to be fought on the cheap.
Truman & US Cold War Policy George F. Kennan: • U.S. Diplomat to the USSR (Soviet Expert) • In 1946 he sent the “Long Telegram” to Washington, which was followed by an article in Foreign Policy magazine in 1947, in which he presented his theory on why the US should contain communism. Document Analysis: According to Kennan… • What are Soviet goals? • What strategy will the Soviets utilize against the US? • What recommendations does he make for US foreign policy? George F. Kennan
Truman & US Cold War Policy George F. Kennan: • Russians have a traditional insecurity about foreign threats • Soviet foreign policy is driven by Stalin, who uses a threat like capitalist encirclement to justify his brutal regime • Kennan recommended that the USSR "be contained by the adroit and vigilant application of counter-force at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points."
Truman & US Cold War Policy The Truman Doctrine: • Influenced by Kennan and Sec. of State George Marshall, Truman announces the Truman Doctrine, which declared the US policy to “help the free peoples of Europe to resist communist aggression” by providing them with military and economic aid.
Truman & US Cold War Policy Marshall Plan: Truman-Marshall-Kennan initially sought to use US soft power to counter communism in post-war Western Europe. The best example of this was the 1948 Marshall Plan, which was a massive effort to prop-up international capitalism via a massive recovery of Western Europe. *This was also coupled with a concentrated effort to rebuild West Germany, which was created in 1949.
Truman & US Cold War Policy The Cold War Heats Up: • 1948 Western Allies plan to create West Germany • 1948 The Soviets blockade Berlin (Berlin Airlift) • 1949 The Soviets test an atomic bomb • 1949 Communists in China declare the People’s Republic of China (Red China) • 1950 NSC-68 report issued • 1950 Korean War begins
NSC-68 Document Analysis: • According the National Security Council, what is the threat from the USSR? • What foreign policy recommendations does NSC-68 make? • What domestic policy recommendations does it make?
Truman & US Cold War Policy NSC-68 changes US policy: Truman-Acheson-Nitze radically change US policy toward the USSR. Favoring military over diplomatic action, NSC-68 recommended a policy of “calculated and gradual coercion” to address Soviet communism. • significant increase in peace-time military spending ($13 billion $46.5 billion) • expansion of conventional & nuclear forces • military aid to allies • expand world-wide covert operations *NSC-68 ultimate goal = US hegemonic ally dominant in the world **Charges of being soft on communism and the beginning of the Korean War forced Truman to make NSC-68 official policy.
“Soft” vs. “Hard” Power Soft Power – Kennan’s Containment (1946-50) • Struggle was between capitalism vs. communism • Believed that Soviets would not use military power to achieve goals, but would rather use political & ideological means • Emphasized the importance of ensuring free nations as part of containment • Accepted long-term power and presence of the USSR • US should prioritize interests: Europe over Asia & 3rd World, political and economic influence over military Hard Power – NSC-68 (Paul Nitze) (1950 - ) • USSR has military capability and are willing to use it to achieve goals • Cold War will eventually become a Hot War • US to remake international community in America’s image • US must resist communism on all fronts • To do this the US must rapidly build up economic, political, and military power • Cold War was a “life and death struggle”