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A report on the containment of communism

In the 1850s, anti-slavery forces in the United States developed a free soil strategy of containment, without using the word, to stop the expansion of slavery until it later collapsed.

Historian James Oakes explains the strategy: The Federal government would surround the south with free states, free territories, and free waters, building what they called a 'cordon of freedom' around slavery, hemming it in until the system's own internal weaknesses forced the slave states one by one to abandon slavery. In Belgium, Spain, and Italy, Bismarck exerted strong and sustained political pressure to support the election or appointment of liberal, anticlerical governments.

This was part of an integrated strategy to promote republicanism in France by strategically and ideologically isolating the clerical-monarchist regime of President Patrice de Mac-Mahon.

It was hoped that by ringing France with a number of liberal states, French republicans could defeat MacMahon and his reactionary supporters. The modern concept of containment provides a useful model for understanding the dynamics of this policy.

In March 1919, French Premier Georges Clemenceau called for a cordon sanitaire, a ring of non-communist states, to isolate the Soviet Union. Translating that phrase, U.


President Woodrow Wilson called for a "quarantine. Roosevelt reversed the policy in 1933 in the hope to expand American export markets. The Munich Agreement of 1938 was a failed attempt to contain Nazi expansion in Europe.

Germany, Italy, and Japan. Origin 1944—1947 [ edit ] Key State Department personnel grew increasingly frustrated with and suspicious of the Soviets as the war drew to a close.

Averell HarrimanU. Ambassador in Moscow, once a "confirmed optimist" regarding U. State Department asked George F. Kennanthen at the U. He responded with a wide-ranging analysis of Russian policy now called the Long Telegram: It does not work by fixed plans. It does not take unnecessary risks. Impervious to logic of reason, and it is highly sensitive to logic of force. For this reason it can easily withdraw—and usually does when strong resistance is encountered at any point.

The Soviets perceived themselves to be in a state of perpetual war with capitalism; The Soviets would use controllable Marxists in the capitalist world as allies; Soviet aggression was not aligned with the views of the Russian people or with economic reality, but with historic Russian xenophobia and paranoia; The Soviet government's structure prevented objective or accurate pictures of internal and external reality.

Kennan's cable was hailed in the State Department as "the appreciation of the situation that had long been needed.

Six months later, it would probably have sounded redundant. This report, which recommended "restraining and confining" Soviet influence, was presented to Truman on September 24, 1946. Forrestal gave permission for the report to be published in the journal Foreign Affairs under the pseudonym "X. He later said that by containment he meant not the containment of Soviet Power "by military means of a military threat, but the political containment of a political threat.

Truman 1945—1953 [ edit ] After Republicans gained control of Congress in the 1946 elections, President Truman, a Democrat, made a dramatic speech that is often considered to mark the beginning of the Cold War. Portraying the issue as a mighty clash between "totalitarian regimes" and "free peoples," the speech marks the adoption of containment as official U.

Congress appropriated the money. Truman's motives on that occasion have been the subject of considerable scholarship and several schools of interpretation. In the orthodox explanation of Herbert Feisa series of aggressive Soviet actions in 1945—47 in Poland, Iran, Turkey, and elsewhere awakened the American public to the new danger to freedom to which Truman responded.

DavisTruman was a naive idealist who unnecessarily provoked the Soviets by couching disputes in terms like democracy and freedom that were alien to the Communist vision.

The timing of the speech was not a response to any particular Soviet action but to the fact that the Republican Party had just gained control of Congress.

He won wide support from both parties as well as experts in foreign policy inside and outside the government. Wallacewho ran against Truman in the 1948 presidential campaign. Because containment required detailed information about Communist moves, the government relied increasingly on the Central Intelligence Agency CIA. Established by the National Security Act of 1947, the A report on the containment of communism conducted espionage in foreign lands, some of it visible, more of it secret.

The Soviet Union's first nuclear test in 1949 prompted the National Security Council to formulate a revised security doctrine. Completed in A report on the containment of communism 1950, it became known as NSC 68. According to the report, drafted by Paul Nitze and others: In the words of the Federalist No. In either case we should take no avoidable initiative which would cause it to become a war of annihilation, and if we have the forces to defeat a Soviet drive for limited objectives it may well be to our interest not to let it become a global war.

The first was a return to isolationismminimizing American involvement with the rest of the world, a policy that was supported by conservative Republicans, especially from the Midwestincluding former President Herbert Hoover and Senator Robert A. However, many other Republicans, led by Senator Arthur H. Vandenbergsaid that policy had helped cause World War II and so was too dangerous to revive.

Wallace's position was supported by far left elements of the CIObut they were purged in 1947 and 1948.

A report on the containment of communism

Military rollback against the Soviet Union was proposed by James Burnham [31] and other conservative strategists in the late 1940s. After 1954, Burnham and like-minded strategists became editors and regular contributors to William F. Truman himself adopted a rollback strategy in the Korean War after the success of the Inchon landings in September 1950, only to reverse himself after the Chinese counterattack two months later and revert to containment.

General Douglas MacArthur called on Congress to continue the rollback policy, but Truman fired him for insubordination. Eisenhower agreed to a propaganda campaign to rollback the influence of communism psychologically, but he refused to intervene in the 1956 Hungarian Uprising[33] mainly for fear that it would cause the Third World War. Since 1950, the Soviets had been known to possess nuclear weapons.

The goal of containment was to 'contain' communism without a nuclear war. However, the success of the Inchon landing inspired the U. The Chinese then sent in a large army and defeated the U. Although the Chinese had been planning to intervene for months, [36] this action was interpreted by Truman's supporters as a response to U.

That interpretation allowed the episode to be used to confirm the wisdom of containment doctrine as opposed to rollback. The Communists were later pushed back to around the original border.

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Truman blamed MacArthur's focus on victory and adopted a " limited war " policy. His focus shifted to negotiating a settlement, which was finally reached in 1953. For his part, MacArthur denounced Truman's "no-win policy. In 1952, Dulles called for rollback and the eventual liberation of Eastern Europe. Eisenhower relied on clandestine CIA actions to undermine hostile governments and used economic and military foreign aid to strengthen governments supporting the American position in the Cold War.

There was fear of a nuclear war until a deal was reached in which the Soviets would publicly remove their nuclear weapons, the United States would secretly remove its missiles from Turkey and to avoid invading Cuba. The policy of containing Cuba was put into effect by President John F. Kennedy and continued until 2015. Johnson explained containment doctrine by quoting the Bible: Johnson adhered closely to containment during the Vietnam War. Rejecting proposals by General William Westmoreland for U.

A report on the containment of communism group included Kennan, Acheson and other former Truman advisors. Rallies in support of the troops were discouraged for fear that a patriotic response would lead to demands for victory and rollback. Although it continued to aim at restraining the Soviet Union, it was based on political realism, thinking in terms of national interest, as opposed to crusades against communism or for democracy.

Emphasis was placed on talks with the Soviet Union concerning nuclear weapons called the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.

JFK on the containment of Communism, 1952

As the war continued, it grew less popular. Afghanistan[ edit ] President Jimmy Carter came to office in 1977 and was committed to a foreign policy that emphasized human rights. However, in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistancontainment was again made a priority. The wording of the Carter Doctrine 1980 intentionally echoeed that of the Truman Doctrine.

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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. September 2017 Learn how and when to remove this template message Following the communist victory of Vietnam, Democrats began to view further communist advance as inevitable, but Republicans returned to the rollback doctrine. Ronald Reagana long-time advocate of rollback, was elected US President in 1980.

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, American policy makers worried that the Soviets were making a run for control of the Persian Gulf.

Throughout the 1980s, under a policy that came to be known as the Reagan Doctrinethe United States provided technical and economic assistance to the Afghan guerrillas fighting against the Soviet army Mujahideen.

Reagan's aim was to defeat the Soviets through an expensive arms buildup the Soviets could not match. However, Reagan continued to follow containment in several key areas. Also, much of the policy helped influence U.