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What are the similarities between Truman and Eisenhower's foreign policies during the...

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jonasharth | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted April 26, 2012 at 9:17 PM via web

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What are the similarities between Truman and Eisenhower's foreign policies during the Cold War?

I am writing a compare/contrast essay on Eisenhower and Truman's Foreign Policies and I can find plenty of differences but not many similiarites- and I have to have an entire paragraph to just similarities.

I was thinking about Eisenhower's policy of rollback was not so different from Truman's containment as he didn't, in actuality, "rollback" the Soviets.

So I just want some similarities, Thanks!

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 26, 2012 at 9:24 PM (Answer #1)

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What you have said here is exactly correct.  Truman and Eisenhower might have sounded different rhetorically, but their actual actions were not all that dissimilar.  

As you say, Eisenhower only talked about rolling back communism.  He did not actually take any action to try to destroy it where it was already firmly embedded.  You could claim that his actions in Iran and Guatemala constituted rollback, but you could also say they were no different than what the Truman Doctrine promised to do.  In either case, Eisenhower never tried to do anything about any of the "real" communist countries.  The perfect example of this is his inaction during the Hungarian revolt in 1956.

Eisenhower also talked about massive retaliation and getting "more bang for the buck."  But this was clearly impractical.  It was under Eisenhower that we first took responsibility for South Vietnam.  Eisenhower's actions there were certainly based on containment and had nothing to do with massive retaliation.  

So, Eisenhower talked about rollback and massive retaliation, but what he actually did seems much more like containment using conventional military forces.

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thetall | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted April 13, 2015 at 11:15 AM (Answer #2)

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Both Truman's and Eisenhower's foreign policies were aimed at stopping the spread of communism as propagated by the Soviet Union. Both employed the policy of containment in their anti-communism efforts. The Truman Doctrine was centered around the "domino effect" that stated that if one state was indoctrinated into communism, then the states surrounding it would definitely follow suit. This would pose a threat to not only other distant states but the United States as well. This doctrine sought to halt any expansion of the Soviet ideals and with regard to this doctrine America gave financial aid to countries under communist threat. The Eisenhower Doctrine provided both military and economic assistance to countries in the Middle East that were fighting against communist militias.

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