Foreign policy during henry truman's adminstration

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The Presidency of Harry Truman Foreign Policy


Truman was left with many options in ending war with Japan

Attack on Japanese mainland would produce thousands of casualties

Japanese flatly rejected Potsdam Declaration


The Big Three meet to discuss postwar Europe

Nuremburg TrialsFrom Left to Right:
Sir Norman Birkett & Sir Geoffrey Lawrence Britains Main and Alternate Judges

Tokyo Trials The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility: (a) Crimes against Peace: Namely, the planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a declared or undeclared war of aggression, or a war in violation of international law, treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing; (b) Conventional War Crimes: Namely, violations of the laws or customs of war; (c) Crimes against Humanity: Namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political or racial grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated...Source: Charter of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East 1946

SOVIET U.S. RELATIONSAlliance during war was of convenience not mutual trust

Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe worried liberal democracies

Many compared Russian government to Hitler's regime


SATELLITE STATES IN EASTERN EUROPESoviets sought to fortify western flank from attack

Communist dictators came to power in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia

U.S. and British governments were deeply alarmed

Source: Leslie Illingworth, Daily Mail, June 1947

Occupation Zones of Germany Temporary Soviet occupation zones became new communist states
Soviets wanted a weaker German nation
U.S. and G.B. viewed recovery of Germany as significant to Central Europe

Source: Jay "Ding" Darling, We Tried Everything But Dynamite, New York Times 1947

Containment Policy - U.S. aimed to contain Communism in its current borders
- Avoid the domino effect of Communist takeover
- Doctrine was expanded to cover the world
- George Kennans Long Telegram

Truman DoctrineBritain removed forces in Greece and Turkey

Western Allies feared Communist victory in Greek Civil War would jeopardize the political stability of Turkey

March 1947: Truman asked for $400 million in military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey against totalitarian governments

Reoriented foreign policy from withdrawn position to active intervention in foreign matters


It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist.Marshall PlanSource: Speech at Harvard University, George Marshall, April 1948

Idea born at Dumbarton Oaks Conference, formulated and negotiated at Yalta Conference
Intended to promote international security and prevent future global conflicts
Atomic Energy Commission created after U.S. proposal and Soviet agreement

June 1948: Soviets cut off all land access to BerlinTruman responds with air supply drop offs

To promote the national security by providing for a Secretary of Defense; for a National Military Establishment; for a Department of the Army, a Department of the Navy, and a Department of the Air Force; and for the coordination of activities of the National Military Establishment with other departments and agencies of the Government concerned with the national security.Source: National Security Act, November 4, 1952


If war should begin in 1950, the United States and its allies will have the military capability of conducting defensive operations to provide a reasonable measure of protection to the Western Hemisphere, bases in the Western Pacific, and essential military lines of communication; and an inadequate measure of protection to vital military bases in the United Kingdom and in the Near and Middle East. We will have the capability of conducting powerful offensive air operations against vital elements of the Soviet war-making capacity.Source: National Council Report 68, April 14, 1950

Source: Cummings of the Daily Express,
24 August 1953, "Back to Where it all Started"

What is not generally understood is that the Zionists are not the only ones to be considered in the Palestine question. There are other interests that come into play, each with its own agenda. The military is concerned with the problems of defending a newly created small country from attacks by much larger and better trained Arab nations. Others have selfish interests concerning the flow of Arab oil to the U.S.Source: Harry Truman, Diary Entry, 1948


Occupation of JapanMacArthur (SCAP) took firm control of Japanese reconstructionEnacted a new constitutionSan Francisco Treaty U.S. Japanese Security Treaty

George Marshall sent to negotiate end to Chinese civil war

Nationalist Chinese
government was given
$400 million

Much of which ended
up in Communist hands


The Rise of Communist ChinaChiang and Nationalists took refuge in FormosaU.S. refused to recognize ZedongRepublicans alarmed by loss of China

North Korean Surprise AttackJune 25, 1950: North Korean Army invaded South KoreaU.S. did not hesitate with a response

Inchon InvasionMacArthur reversed the war with an amphibious attack at InchonAdvanced as far as the southern Chinese border

Chinese InterventionNovember 1950: Chinese troops launch surprise attack and decimate MacArthurs troops in North Korea

Made Korean Conflict "an entirely new war.

PRC aimed to preserve North Korean Communist State

MACARTHUR VS. TRUMANMacArthur called for an expanded warTruman cautioned MacArthur from speaking out against policyMacArthur recalled for insubordination

Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.
General Douglas MacArthur

ArmisticeWar ended in stalemate at 38th parallel54,000 Americans died in KoreaCritics saw Truman as soft on communism

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