The speech by Harry Truman, then President of the U.S to join Congress on March 12, 1947, was chiefly focusing on U.S plans in opposing and checking the spread of communism (Merrill, 2006). The Truman Doctrine declared support to Greece and Turkey economically and militarily.
On the Friday of February 21st, 1997, the State Department of the United States was informed by their British counterpart that the British government was no longer in a position to provide aid to both the Greek and Turkey governments. While attending a meeting with the officials from the State Department and congressmen, from then Undersecretary of State, Dean Acheson explained what could be the consequences were they not to assist both of the two governments, later regarded as theory of domino. He emphasized that there was more at stake than the Greek and Turkey nations, since if the two states were to fall; there would be a likelihood of the spread of communism as far as Iran and India (Swift, 2003). The Congress agreed to an endorsement of the of the program as long as the then president, Truman would put stress on the situation’s severity while addressing the radio broadcast to Americans and the Congress.
During this time Russians were trying to spread communism and the US had no choice but to respond. Greece and Turkey had already been weakened by the World War II and faced with a stronger neighbor next door. It also tried spreading communism to all the surrounding countries, and with Britain planning to pull out their financial support to the two nations, it was going to be a sure win for the Soviet Union to take over by providing necessary resources to help build over after the war. President Truman was not only offering aid to the two nations but was giving them a chance to experience democracy for them to work out a free of coercion way of life. Truman already knew the consequences going to be involved by stepping closer to the communist territory and his administration adjusted the foreign policies accordingly. To check on the influence and spread of Communism, the president, and his advisors knew that the best place to send aid in the whole world during that period was Greece and Turkey (Swift, 2003).
In the speech, Truman stated that the main objective of the United States foreign policy was to create conditions that would be free from coercion to the other countries. By doing this, the president’s aim was to involve the US in the affairs of foreign countries for example Greece and Turkey. This emphasis on foreign policy shows the president’s intent in accomplishing such by intervening in the form of providing economic aid. Truman’s was crucial for the US to establish international actions against dealing with the spread of communism by the USSR (Merrill, 2006).
The speech is more focused on Greece as she is mentioned severally, though, during that period, these were not the only countries in dire need of help. They may need one to question if this focus on these two nations had any hidden agenda. In a bigger picture, Truman reasons that the existence of the state of Greece was under threat from terrorist activities supported by communist along the northern borders. This categorically spells out his anti-communist agenda. This mention of threat coming from communist sympathizers and the subsequent request for economic aid to the Greeks outlines Truman’s intent of opposing communism in the Middle East. The northern bordering countries referred to in the speech were the former Yugoslavia, Albania, and Romania which were then under the USSR which was in violation of the Yalta Conference agreement that stated that two of the three countries bordering Greece to the north were supposed to have their governments restored (Merrill, 2006).
On March 12th, 1947, the President, Harry S. Truman in an address to a joint congress session requested for four hundred million dollars worth of aid in the form of military and economic assistance to Greece and Turkey. This developed a doctrine that was later regarded as Truman Doctrine; that was then guided diplomacy in U.S for forty years. President Truman made a declaration that it was the United States policy to be supporting free people who resisted subjugation through external pressure and by an armed minority. The presiding sanction of aid from the U.S to the two states by the Republican Congress was the offsetting of a bipartisan and long cold war engineered by foreign policies (Swift, 2003).
This 1947 speech by Truman to Congress outlined and represented the importance of providing economic support to help check the spread of communism by the Soviets. The speech had a strong anti-communist tone emphasizing on containment. Truman was not the last president to present a Domino Theory in connection to containment by asserting that if Greece and Turkey were to fall, their neighbors would follow and communism would have quickly spread south and all of the Middle East.
Swift, J. (2003). The Truman Doctrine. In The Palgrave Concise Historical Atlas of the Cold War (pp. 20-21). Palgrave Macmillan UK.
Merrill, D. (2006). The Truman Doctrine: Containing Communism and Modernity. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 36(1), 27-37.