What exactly was the Cold War? Who started it? Could it have been avoided?…
The Truman Doctrine:
…At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life. The choice is too often not a free one.
One way of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression.
The second way of life is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon the majority. It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio; fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms.
I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.
I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.
I believe that our help should be primarily through economic and financial aid which is essential to economic stability and orderly political processes….
The world is not static, and the status quo is not sacred. But we cannot allow changes in the status quo in violation of the Charter of the United Nations by such methods as coercion, or by such subterfuges as political infiltration. In helping free and independent nations to maintain their freedom, the United States will be giving effect to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations….
Truman left no doubt that there was more at stake than Greece and Turkey. In this sweeping declaration the president had appointed America the policeman and savior of the entire world. The Monroe Doctrine had merely warned others to keep out of “our hemisphere”; the breathtaking arrogance of the Truman Doctrine was that it proclaimed American freedom to move into anybody else,s hemisphere. Tragically, in an attempt to compete with the Soviets, The United States adopted the same methods that were hastened to condemn when Moscow used. This was the nature of the Cold War, and it all hardened in that year of crisis, 1947.
Events moved rapidly after the Truman speech. The Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Moscow broke up in April and it would be years before the foreign ministers of East and West could sit down for true negotiations. Russia tightened its grip over eastern Europe and within a year, in the winter of 1948, would launche the Communist coup that would reduce a free Czechoslovakia to the status of a Soviet satellite and police state. ( to be continued)…