Term Paper: Vietnam Conflict ) To Viet Nam Enumerated

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¶ … Vietnam Conflict ) to Viet Nam enumerated in Loren Baritz' BACKFIRE. Or, using those reasons why we did what we did and Baritz' tripartite scheme that says the U.S. goes to war because of its (1) mythology, (2) its reliance on technology, and (3) its bureaucracy, attempt to answer a question already raised by a student in this course: "When should the U.S. go to War?" Or starting with Baritz' notions about technology, examine the function of the helicopter in DISPATCHES-make connections between and among. QUAGMIRE may well be a source in ANY paper for this course, or KIEU, or H&E or C&M or PA.

Analysis on The Truman Doctrine -- 1947

In the aftermath of the Second World War, tensions still loomed on as some of the major world countries sought to extend their territories in a struggle for a balance of power. One such example was Russia, seeking to expand her influence of Communism. In 1946, George F. Kennan, the then United States ambassador in Moscow, wrote a 'long telegram' arguing that the United States should try to stop the spread of Communism. Introducing his concluding statement, Kennan writes:

"Our first step must be to apprehend, and recognize for what it is, the nature of the movement with which we are dealing. We must study it with same courage, detachment, objectivity, and same determination not to be emotionally provoked or unseated by it, with which doctor studies unruly and unreasonable individual."1

The British, who could no longer sustain their soldiers fighting Communist rebels in a civil war in Greece, announced the withdrawal of their troops in February 1947. This prompted President Harry S. Truman of the United States to address a joint session of Congress as well as the rest of the nation on 12 March 1947. This became known as "The Truman Doctrine," a "…pronouncement by U.S. Pres. Harry S. Truman on March 12, 1947, declaring immediate economic and military aid to the governments of Greece, threatened by Communist insurrection, and Turkey, under pressure from Soviet expansion in the Mediterranean area."2

This declaration was aimed at containing or stopping Russia from grabbing Greece, Turkey and other possible smaller countries in the region. Truman's argument, based on freedom and liberty, was that the U.S. felt obliged to come to the aid of those in need. He says: "I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."3 America had to get involved in European affairs and help democratic countries.

Origin of the Truman Doctrine

Anxious about the of the Soviet Union's growing regional influence in the post World War Two era, the United States, in a cable by the State Department in February 1946 to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, sought to know more about Russia's position on five key regional and policy issues.4 This initiative later led to what became known as the 'Long Telegram' which set the pace for the Truman Doctrine as a means of containing Russian expansion in the region and possibly beyond. The imminent threat which had to be dealt with was that the Soviet Union was most likely to take over Greece since it became too costly for the British to continue sporting the civil war there. Consequently, other neighboring countries would be swallowed as well. This would eventually lead to Russian domination and the spread of Communism. Thus in Congress, President Truman had to spell out the terms of his plan to halt Russia.

Background of the Regional crisis

During the Second World War, the United States and the Soviet Union were allies. Right after the hostilities, U.S. suspicion of the Russian Federation began to grow as the latter's delayed exit from Iran coupled with her imperialism in Eastern Europe, preceded by a breakdown of Allied relations in Germany gave President Truman substantial reason to become apprehensive. In addition, the ideological differences behind Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech exposed an open and physical separation in Europe between the West and the East symbolized in the Berlin Wall. Therefore, the rising trouble in Greece and Britain's withdrawal notice followed by the Greek Prime Minister's visit left Truman without any choice other than to begin looking for means and ways to stall Russia.

Armed with inside first hand information and details about Russia's behavior from the 'long telegram', Truman was ready to make his move. Based on Kennan's recommendations, the President spelt out a containment policy that sought to curb both the Soviet Union's ideological and geographical advances. But then Greece and Turkey also had long standing discrepancies that had to be erased. The best way to bring them together would be to offer them assistance in a collective package. America was smart enough to play on the domino effect policy given Turkey's strategic geographical location in the region. By reaching out to these two vital countries on time and assuring stability in the region, the Soviet Union would eventually be contained.

Terms of The Truman Doctrine

All said and done, on May 22, 1947, the President signed the act into law. Prior to this he had request about $400 million in aid for both Greece and Turkey. Following the devastation of both countries after the war, there was an urgent need for reconstruction which if the U.S. could not provide, Russia would have done so. Hence the pledges of economic and military assistance to countries threatened by Communism in any way. Greece was bound to receive $300 million, while $100 million was destined for Turkey. The said amounts would be used for rebuilding social and economic infrastructures while military personnel would oversee projects and support the training of soldiers. This immediate backing would in the short-term replace British help while in the long-term it would not only stop Russia, but also place America in a top leadership position for the next forty years or so.

Brief Survey of the situation in Greece and Turkey

Greece and Turkey were two very important countries in determining not only the future of the region, but also that of America and her allies in terms of regional influence, political, economic and military leadership. Thus President Truman had to do all in his power and act as fast as he could to save the precarious situation in the area.

Greece

The situation in Greece was an insecurely degrading one. By December of 1944, the civil war was in its second phase. So far, the British had succeeded in averting the capture of Athens by the leftist National Liberation Front, backed by the Greek Communist Party. Marshall Tito from next door Yugoslavia was the brain behind them and between 1946 and 1949 in the third stage of the conflict they were sponsoring guerrilla forces against the post 1946 globally acknowledged Greek government. Whereas the rebels were very well funded, the loyalist received little or no help from Moscow. By this time in 1946, back at home, the British government was also facing financial difficulties with a reclining economy. They could no longer stretch out their already limited means. So they had to seek U.S. intervention. As such, in response, the U.S. came up with the Congress backed Truman Doctrine that granted Greece $400 million. The government forces finally prevailed in the end.

Turkey

On the Turkish front, Josef Stalin wanted some measure of control of the critical passage of Dardanelles that lay between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Being such a sensitive area in the region likely to fall into the wrong hands, especially with the British pulling out, the U.S. had to also step in with military and economic aid of $100 million to protect Turkish interests over the zone in question. By doing this, the U.S. was sure that stability would return and remain in the district.

The Policy of Containment

The major feature of the Truman Doctrine was the policy of 'containment'. Though President Truman did not directly mention it in his address to Congress and the nation suppression of Russian advancement was the core of his message. Barton J. Bernstein tells us that

"The containment doctrine, with its ambiguities and imprecision, was a major strategy and the guiding conception in American foreign policy from shortly after World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 -- 1991, and some might argue that containment remained a policy into the twenty-first century for the United States in dealing with communist regimes in Cuba, North Korea, and China. In its most general form, containment denotes the American effort, by military, political, and economic means, to resist communist expansion throughout the world."5

The guiding principle of containment was one that would last until the late 1980s employed by successive U.S. presidents to continue restraining Communism in Russia and beyond, thus maintaining America at the top, especially abroad. It has its basis from the 'long telegram' from George F. Kennan, the then U.S. ambassador… [END OF PREVIEW]

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