The Cold War

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How did the US enact the policy of containment?

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One of the key components of the policy of containment was the strategic alliance between the United States and various unsavory regimes in the developing world, most notably Latin America. Successive administrations propped up these regimes as a way of preventing the spread of Communism.

The ideology of Communism tends...

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One of the key components of the policy of containment was the strategic alliance between the United States and various unsavory regimes in the developing world, most notably Latin America. Successive administrations propped up these regimes as a way of preventing the spread of Communism.

The ideology of Communism tends to take hold in agricultural societies where the wealth gap between rich and poor is wide, and the opportunities for the poor to change their lives through peaceful political activity are virtually non-existent. This creates the conditions for Communism to flourish, as Communists offer the poor and downtrodden an opportunity to strike back at a political and economic system which has held them down for so long.

Instead of trying to ameliorate these occasions as it had done in Western Europe after the Second World War, the United States reinforced the unjust socio-economic structures in various parts of the developing world by offering substantial financial and military support to right-wing regimes. In return, such regimes could be relied upon to use the most ruthless methods to crack down on the merest hint of dissent, especially from radicals such as Communists. In this way successive US administrations sought to make it harder for the Soviet Union to gain a foothold in what were deemed strategically important parts of the world.

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The United States developed a policy of containment after World War II. It was designed to keep Communism from spreading to new places. The policy was developed from ideas presented in the Long Telegram. This document basically said that Communism would fail. Since Communism had flaws, it would eventually collapse.  The collapse may take some time, but it will occur.  Therefore, we needed to prevent Communism from spreading. As a result, many actions were taken.

We knew that the Soviet Union looked to take over countries that were weak economically. It would be more likely that people in those countries would want to change governments. Thus, we wanted to keep the economy strong in as many countries as possible. We offered economic aid to Greece and Turkey with the Truman Doctrine. We offered aid to any country with the Marshall Plan.

We also weren’t afraid to take military action or threaten to take military action if needed. We threatened military action in 1946 when the Soviet Union refused to move its army out of northern Iran. We consolidated three of the four zones in Germany and created the country of West Germany when we thought the Soviets were trying to undermine the economy in Germany. We used the Berlin Airlift to counteract the blockading of West Berlin. We organized a United Nations response to the attack on South Korea. We also created the military alliance called NATO to protect non-communist countries.

This policy was able to prevent the spread of Communism in several places after World War II.

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During the Cold War, containment was the main policy of the United States.  This was a policy that was meant to prevent the spread of communism.  The United States enacted the policy of containment in at least two main ways.

First, the US tried to use economic and political means to tie other countries closer to it and keep them from becoming communist.  Perhaps the clearest example of this was the creation of the Marshall Plan soon after World War II.  By giving economic aid of this sort, the US was building good will among foreign countries while also strengthening their economies.  This would, it was hoped, create stronger ties between those countries and the US and make them more resistant to communism.

Second, the US used military means to try to resist the spread of communism.  This was first done in Greece and Turkey via that Truman Doctrine.  It was used in the Korean War.  The whole concept of the nuclear deterrent was aimed at preventing the communists from spreading through military force.

Thus, the US used military, political, and economic tools to try to prevent the spread of communism during the Cold War.

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