.. Foreign policy. We had gone from isolationists to internationalists. This Doctrine is in direct contrast to the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine served as the U.S.
Foreign policy for well over 150 years. It essentially stated that the U.S. would not intervene in the World’s affairs as long as no one interfered with hers. With the Truman Doctrine, we completely reversed that role that had been only briefly breached during the World Wars. Our new policy was one of Containment: To contain the spread of Communism to the states in which it presently inhabits. Our relationship with the U.S.S.R.
after Truman’s declaration was in continuing deterioration. A major threat to our relationship was the Berlin Blockade of 1948. On June 24, 1948, the Soviets enacted a total blockade on Berlin. The U.S. response was to airlift supplies into the cutoff West Berliners. By its end 277,804 sorties delivered 2,325,809 tons of goods to Berlin — more than a ton a piece to every Berliner.
That threat brought Truman to prepare for war. He asked Congress for two measures in addition to the Marshall Plan to fortify America: The first was to temporarily enact the Draft. The Second was a long range plan called Universal Military Training. This was designed to train all males graduating from high school for combat. This idea never had a chance in Congress. Truman also made a pact with Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Brussels pact nations.
This was all a prelude to the upcoming conflict in the Korean War. We had not been able to assess the relative strength of the U.S.S.R. However, what we did know was that we had a far bigger atomic buildup than the Soviets — nearly 300 bombs! However, conventionally, we were far poorer. On June 24, 1950 Truman was told that North Korea had invaded South Korea or in Containment terms: Communism was spreading! The UN Security took a unanimous vote to declare war on North Korea. Truman hastily sent 10,000 troops from Japan to combine with the weak South Korean Army.
Even together, they were hardly a match for the 90,000 battle- hardened and strong North Koreans. General MacArthur was put in charge and ceded much space in order to buy time for reinforcements. Meanwhile, the American public was not seeing the value of killing their boys in Korea. “We demand that you stop murdering American boys and Korean People . .
.” Truman increased military spending to finance the war reinforcements. With newly received reinforcements, MacArthur brilliantly turned the tide of war. MacArthur moved speedily up the Korean Peninsula until Chinese intervention. They briefly provided a problem but they had no air force with which to support their own troops. Truman fired MacArthur on insubordination charges. The U.N. forces continued the war until a cease-fire was made in 1953.
This reestablished the border at the 38th parallel. During this war, the U.S. lost about 60,000 troops. What results did we get? No border changes, a minor containment of Communism that probably would not have made much difference to the U.S. anyway.
Only the death of Americans was gained. The next result of the Truman Doctrine was the Vietnam War. This was another anti- Communist containment war. Ho Chi Minh had invaded South Vietnam. It began with the Gulf of Tonkin incident in which Vietnam Torpedo boats attacked U.S.
destroyers. From there, more and more troops were poured into Vietnam. U.S. began bombing raids in 1965. By the end of that year more than 200,000 troops were in Vietnam. In 1968, 525,000 troops were there.
Several peace initiatives were given by the U.S. but were refused, however by the Vietnamese. The Tet offensive renewed lagging conflict and eventually led to the end of all-out U.S. involvement in 1973. In 1970, the U.S.
entered Cambodia due to a coup. However, in three months the U.S. troops were withdrawn. At the end of our withdrawal nearly 60,000 troops were killed and this time we had not even saved the country we were defending. The veterans received nearly no welcome as the public was not interested in fighting a war too far away to matter. One great event that has caused the U.S.
to escalate world aid and involvement was the collapse of the Soviet Union. No longer are we fighting to contain Communism, but instead to maintain Democracy any and everywhere. Still, today the Truman Doctrine prevails in determining our foreign policy. Most recently, we fought the stunning Gulf War. This was not a war of containment but it served a similar purpose. It sought to prevent an aggressor from overtaking a weaker neighbor.
Luckily, we had minimal casualties. This war was one different from Korea and Vietnam. It had a significant impact on the United States. We fought for our oil supply. Thus, this war did have a significant purpose.
The U.S. has also fought minor skirmishes in hot spots around the world. In the Mideast we fought in Lebanon and Libya, not to mention our massive aid to Israel. In Central America, we have given aid to Nicaragua, fought in Panama, Grenada, and Haiti. All of these illustrate the impact of the Truman Doctrine on our foreign policy.
In Europe, we have not fought any wars but have given massive aid. From the Marshall Plan to a World Monetary Fund $10 billion grant to Russia, we have aided Europe throughout half a century. We formed many alliances such as NATO to combat Communism and preserve Independence there. And the most recent conflict of all is the Balkan conflict. We are again in danger of being drawn into a war with no clear purpose or advantage to the U.S.
But in the continuance of the Truman Doctrine, we have stationed troops there. Hopefully, no casualties will come about but no one can prognosticate the future of such a hot spot for combat. The Truman Doctrine has impacted everyone in the U.S. and nearly every country in the world since its declaration in 1947. Some critics castigate the Doctrine: “Critics blamed involvement in Korea and Vietnam on the Truman Doctrine.
Without the Doctrine . . . the U.S. might have minded its own business.” (McCullough, 571) While other critics argue: ” Truman was trying to restore the European Balance of Power and had neither the intention nor the capability of policing the world.” (McCullough, 571) He may have not had that intention, but that is exactly the Doctrine’s ramification.
All over the world U.S. troops sit waiting to protect Democracy. The Truman Doctrine ensures that even without a valid threat to U.S. security we must waste American lives to “protect the free peoples of the World.” (McCullough, 571) Would the world have been a worse place if we had not acted to protect South Korea and South Vietnam? Would the U.S.S.R. have fallen due to its own economic instability and only fleeting control over its massive population? These questions can be cogitated but never answered. One thing is certain, people should not die for a cause that is nonexistent, or one that could have destroyed itself.