In March 1947, the president of the United States of America Harry Trumann gave a speech to the congress to which came to be known as the Trumann Doctrine. The speech is very famous because of what he articulated. According to the speech, “We must take immediate and resolute action. I therefore ask the Congress to provide authority for assistance to Greece and Turkey in the amount of $400,000,000 for the period ending June 30, 1948. In requesting these funds, I have taken into consideration the maximum amount of relief assistance which would be furnished to Greece out of the $350,000,000, which I recently requested that the Congress authorize for the prevention of starvation and suffering in countries devastated by the war” (Trumann, 1947). He was advocating for Greece and Turkey to be given some assistance for them to be financially independent and also for them to acquire freedom. In addition, he stated in the speech that, there was no other country in the world that was in a position and willing to offer such kind of assistance apart from US.
The famous Trumann’s Doctrine was responding to a crisis whereby the soviet/Communist takeover of several eastern Europe countries by ‘salami tactics’ which in his opinion was not in accordance with the promises made by Stalin at Yalta Conference. Moreover, the British government that was at that time giving military assistance to Greek to resist communist was no longer in a position to manage the situation (Jones, 1989).
Trumann also appealed in his speech to the congress that the amount needed was little as compared to $ 341 billion spent towards the World War II and also the congress was to authorize some staff to supervise the usage of any assistance accorded to both countries
(Greece and Turkey) while training the local staff. This was to make sure that there was total coordination and the US plans of safeguarding the freedom of the two countries were well implemented (Jones, 1989). Hence according to the speech “I am fully aware of the broad implications involved if the United States extends assistance to Greece and Turkey, and I shall discuss these implications with you at this time” (Trumann, 1947). Trumann was justifying to the congress his change in relation to the foreign policy.
There was stock of issues in the foreign policy such as harm, inherency, and alternative. According to the speech, Trumann was on the opinion that there was harm by leaving the issues of both Greece and Turkey unsolved “It is necessary only to glance at a map to realize that the survival and integrity of the Greek nation are of grave importance in a much wider situation. If Greece should fall under the control of an armed minority, the effect upon its neighbour, Turkey, would be immediate and serious” (Trumann, 1947). Hence warned that if US did not involve its self with stabilizing Greece and Turkey, The effect would be felt everywhere in the world. ‘’Should we fail to aid Greece and Turkey in this fateful hour, the effect will be far reaching to the West as well as to the East” (Trumann, 1947).
His presentation of the harm that was to be caused by the communism thrashed the anti-Communist panic. The policy also had an issue of inherency the Trumann Doctrine was of the view that the US was the only country, which was in a capacity to help the two countries since it was in a position to contribute together with the friendly nations the end of the World War II. In addition, the issue of alternative, which was also advocated, was that each nation had to make a choice between alternatives conducts of life. One of the alternatives was the wish of majority and was characterised by freedom of speech, free elections, free institutions, freedom of religion and from political oppression, and free elections among others. The second alternative is on the rights of minority (Jones, 1989). Though democracy stipulates that majority wins, minority should be left satisfied and hence the need to protect them against manipulation by majority. This is based on fixed elections, controlled radio and press, oppression and terror and suppression of individual freedom.
According to the Truman doctrine, US had an obligation to counter the harm imposed to minorities who were not able to support themselves (Greece and Turkey) “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” (Trumann, 1947). Trumann claimed that the power of those who were advocating for communism was increasing at an increasing rate (Jones, 1989).
Truman was in a position to persuade the congress by telling them that US was the only country that was in a position to help Greece and Turkey stabilize politically and economically. He also appealed to the congress that ‘Assistance is imperative if Greece is to survive as a free nation’, he told Congress. ‘‘Greece must have assistance if it is to become a self-supporting and self-respecting democracy” (Truman, 1947). He also feared that the countries surrounding it would also buy that ideology which He was against.
Most importantly, Trauma Doctrine is a historic speech in the US and will ever remain in the records. It had much wait to an extent that it was in a position to surpass the foreign policy termed as ‘’ Monroe Doctrine’’. It led to the plan of containing the communism by giving the European economies to get back on track.
Jones, H. (1989). "A new kind of war": America's global strategy and the Trumann Doctrine in Greece. New York: Oxford University Press.
Truman, H. (1947). The Truman Doctrine. Washington DC, US.