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Chapter 26 Notes
United States History 11
Key Point:
Due to Communist aggression throughout Europe and Asia, the United States developed a new
policy directed toward stopping the spread of Communism – the policy of Containment.
“Our relations with the Russians are drifting into the same direction as that in which we
ourselves with Hitler.”
- Ernest Bevin, British Foreign Minister
 22 February 1946
 5,540 word telegram written by George Kennan in an attempt to explain the goals of
the Soviets.
 Kennan’s points regarding the Soviets:
1) Soviet view of the world came from sense of insecurity and fear of the West; only
intensified under Lenin and Stalin.
2) Impossible to reach any permanent settlement with Soviets because they believed
they were in a long-term historical struggle with Capitalism.
 Kennan’s Proposal: “a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of
Russian expansive tendencies.
 There were inherent flaws in the Soviet system and if the United States could keep the
Soviets from expanding Communism, it would collapse due to its economic and political
 United States government would use the policy of containment through the use of
diplomatic, economic, and military actions.
 March 1946, Soviets wanted access to and possibly control of the oil reserves in Iran.
 As part of WW2, Soviets were stationed in Northern Iran but never left.
 Soviets began establishing Communist factions throughout Iran in hopes of starting a
new government.
 U.S. RESPONSE: United States believed this signaled a Soviet push into the Middle
East. U.S. government demands the Soviets withdraw, and sends the U.S.S. Missouri
(battleship) to the Mediterranean Sea.
 Pressure works and Soviets back down under the promise of a joint Soviet-Iran oil
company, which never happens.
 Soviets had always been interested in the Dardanelles Straits (vital route between Soviet
ports in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea).
 1946, Stalin demands joint control of the Dardanelles with Turkey.
 Dean Achenson (advisor to the President) saw this as yet another step for Soviet
advancement in the Middle East, and urges the President to act swiftly and decisively.
 President Truman orders the U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt (aircraft carrier) to join the
U.S.S. Missouri in defending the Mediterranean region.
 Greek Communists launch guerilla attacks on Greek government. British troops assist in
Greece, but due to economic instability, cannot continue the effort.
 12 March 1947, President Truman goes before Congress and asks for $400 million to
fight Communist aggression in Greece and Turkey.
 TRUMAN DOCTRINE – goal was to aid “free peoples who are resisting attempted
subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures;” immediate affects were to
stabilize Greek government and ease Soviet demands in Turkey.
 In the long run, the Truman Doctrine promised the United States engage in a global
fight against Communism.
 Post-war Europe in desperate situation; economies in ruin, people near starvation, and
political chaos.
 Sec. of State George Marshall (former WW2 general) proposed the European Recovery
Program, which would give European nations American aid to rebuild their economies.
 “Two halves of the same walnut.”
 Marshall Plan pumped billions of dollars into western European nations, thereby
encouraging further trade among nations once their economies were stabilized (one of
the economic concerns and values of the United States).
 Hope of the Marshall Plan: Economic prosperity and contentment as well as decrease the
likelihood of another war or nations would become attracted to Communism.
 1948, the United States, France, and Great Britain merged their zones together
(including Berlin) creating a new country – West Germany (West Berlin), which would
develop its own constitution.
 Soviets realize they would never get the industrial reparations they wanted as a result of
the zones coming together. In response, the Soviets cut off all roads and rail traffic to
West Berlin.
 Truman responds by sending American long-range bombers to Britain, loaded with
atomic weapons; “If we mean to hold Europe against Communism, then we must not
 Wanting to prevent further escalation but at the same time ensuring West Berliners did
not fall into the hands of the Soviets, the President ordered the BERLIN AIRLIFT.
 BERLIN AIRLIFT – for 11 months, cargo planes supplied Berliners with food, medicine,
and coal; Stalin eventually lifted the blockade of West Berlin. Berlin Airlift symbolized
American determination to stand by Berlin as well as help others who were facing
continued outside pressures.
 North Atlantic Treaty Organization – an alliance based on mutual defense.
 12 charter members of NATO: United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy,
Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, and Iceland. Later
allowed West Germany to arm itself and join.
 Establishment of NATO alarmed the Soviets who created their own military alliance
system in Eastern Europe called the Warsaw Pact.
 Mao Zedong led Communist revolution that sought to overthrow the Nationalist nation
under Chiang Kai-Shek; both had been fighting since before WW2, but suspended
conflict to fight against further Japanese expansion into China.
 During the revolution, the United States government sent $2 billion in aid to the
Nationalist government, but it was of little help.
 Communists eventually push the Nationalists out, where they retreated to the island of
Taiwan where they established an independent nation free from Communist control
(conflict between China and Taiwan continues today).
 China and Soviet Union signed a treaty of friendship and alliance, causing many world
leaders to fear further Communist revolutions popping up throughout the globe.
 Chinese Revolution and Japan:
 At end of WW2, Gen. Douglas MacArthur had taken charge of occupied Japan.
 United States decided to rebuild Japan as a counter to the growing Communist
influence in the region. Japan did rebuild and became both an economic giant
and a close trading partner and friend to the United States.
 North Korean Communist government (backed by the Soviet Union) attempted a
military unification of Korea by invading South Korea.
 Truman saw North Korean aggression as a threat and a test to our containment policy
and ordered United States Naval and Air Forces into action in the region.
 United Nations pledged troops to support South Korea; additional American troops sent
to South Korea under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
 In early stages, U.S. and South Korean forces were pushed back to the port of Pusan,
which came to be called the Pusan Perimeter where they stubbornly resisted the
North Korean advancement.
 MacArthur tried to turn the tables on the North Koreans by invading behind enemy lines
at Inchon; it was a success and drove the North Korean army back closer to the
Chinese border.
 Chinese saw the advancement of American and South Korean troops as an act of
aggression. The Communist government warned the U.N. forces to halt their
advancement, which was ignored. Response: Chinese forces flood across the Yalu
River and push U.N. forces across the 38th Parallel.
 MacArthur was furious of the Chinese entry into the war. He asked to take the war to
China by having a blockade of Chinese ports, the use of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist
forces, and the bombing of Chinese cities with the use of both conventional and atomic
 Truman did not want a full-scale war against the Chinese and fired MacArthur for
 The stand-off between the opposing armies led to an agreement in which the
Communists would control North Korea and South Korea would be a democracy. The
dividing line would be the 38th Parallel. Today the area between the North and South
is called the DMZ (demilitarized zone). It is protected on both sides by troops and
mine fields. Tensions exist to this day.
 Korean War caused the U.S. to change its policy on Communism in Asia. The United
States would be committed to the build-up of military forces in Asia to assist Japan and
other nations in Asia to help contain the spread of Communism.