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Containment of the Soviet Union became American policy in the postwar years. The first significant application of the containment doctrine came in the eastern Mediterranean. Great Britain had beensupporting Greece, and in 1947 Britain told the United States that it could no longer afford such aid. Quickly, the U.S. State Department devised a plan for U.S. assistance. Arthut Vandenberg toldTruman, was only possible if he was willinf to start “scaring the hell out the country”. Truman was prepared to do so, in a statement that came to be known as the Truman Doctrine. He asked Congress toprovide $400 million for economic and military aid to Greece and Turkey, and the money was appropriated. Truman himself and American society paid for his victory. He overstated the Soviet threat to theUnited States. In turn, his statements inspired a wave of hysterical anti-communism throughout the country and set the stage for the emergence of McCarthyism.
Containment also called for extensiveeconomic aid to assist the recovery of war-torn Western Europe. In mid-1947 Marshall asked troubled European nations to draw up a program, “directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger,poverty, desperation and chaos”. In early 1948 Congress voted to assist European economic recovery, dubbed the “Marshall Plan”, and generally regarded as one of the most successful U.S. foreignpolicy initiatives in history. The United States, Britain and France had discusssed converting their zones into a single, slef-governing republic. But the Soviet Union opposed plans to unite Germany andministerial-level four-power discussions on Germany broke down. On June 23, 1948, Soviet forces blockadded Berlin, cutting off all road and rail access from the West. American leaders feared that losingBerlin was but a prelude to losing Germany and subsequently all of Europe. Soviet domination of Eastern Europe alarmed the West. In 1949 the United States and 11 other countries established the...
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