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Response Essay, 3 pages (650 words)

What were the major foreign policy issues of the 1950s justify your response by addressing the significance of each. (do not just list them)

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Major foreign policy issues of the 1950’s were Cold War policies. The main foreign policy issue was the Containment Policy, which were rooted in theTruman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. The need to ‘ contain’ communism or to ‘ liberate’ communist countries overwhelmed the United State’s time and energy during the 1950’s. All of the foreign policies were directed indirectly at the Kremlin. The manipulation of other countries helped both the United States and the Soviet Union continue the Cold War during the 1950’s. The Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan and the Containment Policy were the major foreign policy issues for the United States in the 1950’s.
The Truman Doctrine was created by President Truman in 1947. Although this policy was created before the 1950’s, the substance of the Truman Doctrine helped create the Containment Policy. The Truman Doctrine basically “ provided an ideological shield to permit U. S. aid to pro-capitalist, and presumably anti-communist, nations” (Bacevich, 2007: 8). This allowed for the U. S. to become partially involved in Vietnam in 1950, and then escalate to an outright war.
The Marshall Plan was created in 1947. This policy was created before the 1950’s, but helped post-WWII countries rebuild their economies in an effort to stop communism from spreading farther into Western Europe. Billions of American dollars were spent on economic support to help countries return to their economy before the war. It also served to unify the Western European countries and the United States as allies. The Americans offered money from the Marshall Plan (knowing the Soviets would not accept), but as expected the Soviets refused. This refusal created the division in Western and Eastern Europe (Hook and Spanier, 2006: 59). The Iron Curtain fell in Europe, but Western Europe was economically stable through the Marshall Plan.
The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan had common goals of stopping communism. These measures were the foundation for the Containment Policy. The Containment Policy was a policy of stopping communism at all cost. If this meant setting up a puppet government under U. S. influence, so be it. The main goal was to fight communism, not consider what was best for the local population. The U. S. could not imagine a world of peaceful coexistence with the Soviets. Communism was a threat to the foundation of democracy according to the U. S. government.
The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan had stopped the flow of communism, but when China fell to communism a new arena opened for warfare (Hook and Spanier, 2006: 73). The Containment Policy was based in the fear that a domino effect would occur in Asia once China became communist. The Containment Policy was used in Korea and Vietnam. The Containment Policy gave greater power for the U. S. President to support a struggling country. Guns, supplies, and troops could be liberally deployed in the name of ‘ containment’.
The Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and the Containment Policy were all Cold War tactics used against the Soviet Union. The U. S. worked openly or covertly to end communism during the Cold War (Bacevich, 2007: 355). The U. S. and the Soviet Union started spying, counter spying, and indirect warfare. The goal of these two superpowers was simple. The U. S. wanted to convert as many countries as possible to democracy, while the Soviet Union wanted to convert as many countries as possible to communism.
The U. S. foreign policy was dictated by the Cold War in the 1950’s. Any tactic to promote democracy and hurt communism was what the U. S. promoted. This Cold War foreign policy shadowed the U. S.’s foreign policy with every country they dealt with during this period. The fight against communism dictated policy.
Bibliography
Bacevich, A. J. (2007). The Long War: A New History of U. S. National Security Policy Since
World War II. New York: Columbia University Press.
Hook, S. W. and J. W. Spanier. (2006). American Foreign Policy Since World War II. New
York: CQ Press.
What were the major foreign policy issues of the 1950s? Justify your response by addressing the significance of each. (Do not just list them).

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