The Cold War: The Geography of Containment
American leaders responded to the Soviet's domination of Eastern Europe by developing a policy of containment. Under this policy of containment, they didn't intend to overturn communism, but to prevent it from spreading further.
The Truman Doctrine
33rd President Harry S. Truman
President Truman decided to offer military aid to Turkey, when Greece and Spain threatened the country. In the Truman doctrine, Truman promised to support any country that fought Communism: "I believe that it must be the policy of the U.S. to support free people who are resisting attempted (conquest) by armed minorities or by outside pressures."
Marshall Plan, 1948
Europe faced famine, after World War II. Farm production had been destroyed due to the war. Truman believed that people who were desperate and miserable were attracted to Communism. Truman's secretary, George C. Marshall, proposed that a massive aid be given to countries in Europe to rebuild their economies. He believed that this would create strong European allies for the U.S. This plan included aid the Italy and Germany.
The plan was extremely successful. It benefited the American economy in helping rebuild war-torn Europe and speeded the economic recovery of western Europe.
A Divided Germany And The Berlin Airlift, 1948
In 1948, the French, British, and Americans decided to merge their zones of occupation into a single state, West Germany. After the announcement of the merging, the soviets announced a blockade of West Berlin, closing all highway and railroad links to the West. The Western Allies refused to abandon West Berlin and began a massive airlift to feed and supply the city. After a year, Stalin lifted the Soviet Blockade.
The Formation of NATO and The Warsaw Pact
Members of NATO and The Warsaw Pact
In response to the Cold War tensions, the United States, Canada, and ten Western European countries formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949). This was based on the concept of collective security. Each member pledged to defend the other if they were attacked. In response, the Soviet Union responded by creating the Warsaw Pact with its Eastern European allies in 1955.
Friction Behind the Iron Curtain
The United States never directly intervened behind the Iron Curtain. Soviet leaders successfully suppressed an anti-Communism revolution in Hungary in 1956. They erected the Berlin Wall to prevent East Germans from escaping to the West. Also, they invaded Czechoslovakia to overthrow a Czech reform government in 1968. The Soviet leaders managed to do all this without interference from the U.S. or its Allies.