Truman And The Cold War Essay Research

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Truman And The Cold War Essay, Research Paper Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president from 1945-1953 greatly exaggerated Russia s power and scared the U.S. citizens and government into a Cold War and power struggle. After World War II it was inevitable there would be a power struggle, as the two most powerful yet completely different countries, Russia and the US emerged as the world leaders. Russia and the US were allies during the war, but with their entirely different government structures, and the power-hungry Stalin and the anti-isolationist Truman, Russia and the US clashed heads. The Cold War controversy was initially publicly ignited by Churchill s public speech at Westminster college on March 5, 1946. Churchill stated that, From what I have seen of our Russian friends and

allies during the war, I am convinced that there is nothing they admire so much as strength and there is nothing for which they have less respect than military weakness. Truman was urged by his cabinet not to endorse Churchill s statements, but Truman, being bitter from Stalin s broken promise of letting the Polish people determining their own form of government that he promised at the meeting at Potsdam, Truman publicly endorsed the speech. Truman was also wary if Stalin s comments in his February 9th speech that stated, another war was inevitable since the American and Soviet systems were fundamentally incompatible. (Feinberg p. 81). Truman s public backing of Churchill s opinions came as a shock to the American public, because fresh off World War II, Russia was still

considered a loyal ally to the US. These comments caused a lot of hostility and Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace urged Truman to treat Stalin with the same respect. Truman, taking Wallace s advice invited Stalin to Missouri to express his viewpoints, but Stalin coldly rejected the offer. It was like a domino effect, because on March 2, 1946, Russian troops were supposed to withdraw from Iran as a promise of the Teheran conference of 1943. They were not removed, however, as Stalin wanted to gain as much oil as possible, and it took a stern demand from Truman for Stalin to hold true to his word, which he did so slowly as troops finally withdrew in May. At first, Truman tried to avoid the inevitable conflict with Stalin, but due to these events Stalin apparently struck a nerve,

and Truman shed the American isolationist policy that they contained for almost 200 years. America and Russia couldn t co-exist as world powers as they were soon to find out. At Potsdam Stalin had made a request to control the Turkish straits, stating the Soviets needed a warm-water ports, but the U.S. and Britain rejected his offer fearing Communism would influence Turkey. It didn t stop Stalin, and in mid-1946 he marched into Turkey and setup a Turkey-Soviet defense barrier across the waterway much against Turkey s request. He also set it up so that bordering countries- Romania and Bulgaria controlled the Straits. This setup Truman s new foreign policy as the public was shown Stalin s new ferocity and drive for power. The U.S. and Britain responded to Russia with disapproval

messages and the U.S. sent a naval task force to the Mediterranean to enforce the U.S. disapproval. Stalin backed down and decided it wasn t worth the trouble, but the Turks fearing an invasion from their borders were forced to maintain a big army they could barely afford. The first American-Russian direct competition happened in late 1946. In Greece a civil war broke out and Soviet controlled countries, Albania, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria supported the revolution movement and Britain supported the government. Britain had to withdraw from Greece, because they couldn t afford to support due to the massive war damage costs. Truman decided to take over Britain s responsibilities in order to prevent Communism influence in yet another European country. This direct competition clearly