Containment politics

To stop the Soviet Union’s expansionism against communism, the United States developed a strategy to stop this expansion. This political strategy, developed by Harry Truman and George Kennan, is also known as containment policy.

Soviet Union and Eastern Europe

The Soviet Union had successfully exerted its communist influence on several Eastern European countries after World War II. Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary soon fell under communist spheres of influence, with the Soviet Union as absolute leader. The newly formed communist countries were all under strict supervision by the Soviet Union. There was no freedom of speech or press, and the inhabitants were severely oppressed by the new regime led by the Soviet Union.

The United States intervenes

The United States viewed this development with dismay. They were afraid that the Soviet Union would expand its influence even more, after which several countries would become communist. As part of foreign policy, President Harry Truman and his diplomat George Kennan presented a strategy to stop further expansion of communist ideas by the Soviet Union. The basic principle was that all countries that felt threatened by the Soviet Union and/or communism could count on unconditional support from the United States.
In 1947, the Greeks were also in danger of falling under communist spheres of influence, but this was prevented by intervention by England and later by the United States. This was much to the delight of the Greeks themselves.

Marshall Plan

As part of the containment policy, then Secretary of State George Marshall presented the so-called Marshall Plan. This plan included the idea of financially supporting the Western European countries affected during the Second World War. Various raw materials and food were also offered to Western European countries. The underlying idea of the United States was that if these countries are financially healthy, they are less likely to fall under communist rule. It is known that poor countries are more likely to fall prey to communism than more prosperous countries. With this, the United States wanted to prevent Western European countries from also becoming communist.

Conflicts that arise

This aggressive strategy of the Americans indirectly led to two fierce wars. From 1950 to 1953, the Americans supported the South Koreans in their fight against communist North Korea. And in Vietnam, the Americans fought the Viet Cong and their communist allies. The United States was afraid that in addition to Vietnam, neighboring countries Cambodia and Laos would also become communist (the domino theory). In the end this did not happen, but this war claimed many victims on both sides.

During the Cuban Crisis in 1962, bloodshed almost came to blows between the United States and the Soviet Union. At the last minute the Soviet ships returned and a confrontation was avoided. In retrospect, the Cuban Missile Crisis had been the hottest moment in the Cold War.

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