The Cold War

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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's and Truman's foreign policies, and I can find plenty of differences but not many similarities. I have to have an entire paragraph on just the similarities. I was thinking 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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Both President Truman and President Eisenhower practiced a policy of containing communism to prevent its spread to new countries. The use of economic aid was a major tool in this. Truman signed an aid package of four hundred million dollars to help bolster the economies of Greece and Turkey, which...

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did a lot to prevent communism and Soviet influence from taking hold there. President Eisenhower also let it be known that the United States was ready to provide economic support to any foreign government that felt threatened by communism.

Both were also willing to commit American forces when necessary to halt the proliferation of communism. Truman sent American soldiers into Korea in 1950 and Eisenhower did the same in Lebanon in 1958. They also worked in conjunction with NATO on many projects and initiatives to create a united front against the Soviet Union and its allies.

The two presidents also took a similar approach to West Germany. They both believed that it was critical that West Germany be rearmed and admitted as a full member of NATO.

In southeast Asia, both presidents felt that the threat of communism could best be prevented by the maintenance of French colonial rule. Consequently, both administrations gave financial support to the French military in the region.

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Harry S. Truman (1945–1953) and Dwight Eisenhower (1953–1961) both served as presidents during the early stages of the Cold War. Their foreign policies both included strong military support for European allies, economic assistance, and defense of South Korea.

One extremely important similarity between the two was that they both supported the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO was founded in 1949 and continues to exist today. This alliance was important because it formally committed the US to protect its European allies from foreign attacks. The security of Europe was always the paramount goal of America's Cold War strategy and one shared by both presidents.

Both presidents used economic assistance to buttress allies and help the world economy. Truman had the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II ended in 1945. Although the Marshall Plan ended in 1952, some economic assistance was also given later through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Eisenhower administration was an important contributor to the OECD. Both the Marshall Plan and the OECD sought to stave off communism by raising the standard of living in numerous nations.

Truman and Eisenhower both led the US during the Korean War (1950–1953). They sought to limit the war to the Korean Peninsula, and bring it to a conclusion. Armistice negotiations began under Truman and concluded under Eisenhower.

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President Truman and President Eisenhower had plans for dealing with the threat of communism. While their actions for dealing with the threat of communism differed, the goal was the same.

Both President Truman and President Eisenhower wanted to keep communism from spreading. They both believed that if communism spread to one country in a region, then other countries would become communist. Therefore, both men wanted to prevent its spread. As a result, we got involved in actions designed to prevent the spread of communism while both men were in office. We helped keep West Berlin free by using the Berlin Airlift to overcome the Berlin Blockade. We helped South Korea fight to remain free after North Korea invaded. We threatened the use of nuclear war when Communist China threatened to take over Taiwan. We did the same thing when war broke out in the Middle East in 1956 between Israel and Egypt. We threatened to use nuclear weapons on the Soviet Union if they attacked Britain or France.

The goal of President Truman and President Eisenhower was the same regarding the spread of communism. Their policies to deal with this threat were different.

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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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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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