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Fighting the Communist Threat Using the Complete Arsenal: Containment Policy and Domino Theory

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Strategies of Containment

The foreign policies of containment and the domino theory were popularized during the Truman administration for several reasons. Containment was utilized by the United States during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s to keep communism from spreading. This foreign policy would significantly help countries such as China, Korea, and Vietnam. The Soviet Union was at the time trying to expand in these lands, and the United States worked diligently to stop such events from occurring (Lumen,2018). On the other hand, the domino theory was a different approach to combat issues of communism. According to History’s website: “The domino theory was a Cold War policy that suggested a communist government in one nation would quickly lead to communist takeovers in neighboring states, each falling like a perfectly aligned row of dominos. In Southeast Asia, the U.S. government used the now-discredited domino theory to justify its involvement in the Vietnam War and its support for a non-communist dictator in South Vietnam (History, p.1, 2018).

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During the Truman administration, such tactics were utilized heavily for several reasons. Many events occurred prior hand, which led to the rise in these foreign policies of containment and domino effect. Containment was actually born from the domino theory. Truman, as the president, had to do all that he could to protect the United States. He understood that Russia communism was sure to spread to the countries listed above, especially, since China is communist as well (United States History, N.D.). Also, mentioned above in the quote, the United States wanted a way to become involved in the Vietnam war. The events of Russian spies in the United States, and the red-scare caused such tactics to be utilized and dire. The red scare was a term for the great fear of Russian spies planning to harm the United States. Many campaigns and investigations took place to try and discover all spies and deport them back into Russia (History,2018). Such hysteria birthed great worries for U.S. leaders and citizens a lot. These events directly led to containment and strategies of dominos. The United States knew that other countries would follow in the footsteps of Russia, therefore wanted to cut the problem at the root. This way, less issues would conclude, and they would not have to worry about other countries having spies in their country as Russia did.

The Truman Doctrine was the most significant policy regarding containment during this time. According to The Office of Historian: “With the Truman Doctrine, President Harry S. Truman established that the United States would provide political, military and economic assistance to all democratic nations under threat from external or internal authoritarian forces. The Truman Doctrine effectively reoriented U.S. foreign policy, away from its usual stance of withdrawal from regional conflicts not directly involving the United States, to one of possible intervention in faraway conflicts “(Office of the Historian, p.1, N.D.).

Domino theory, in the eyes of the Eisenhower administration was going to harm more than just the United States, but China as well. According to History: “Finally, the president noted, “You have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the ‘falling domino’ principle.” Eisenhower expanded on this thought, explaining, “You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is a certainty that it will go over very quickly.” This would lead to disintegration in Southeast Asia, with the “loss of Indochina, of Burma, of Thailand, of the Peninsula, and Indonesia following.” Eisenhower suggested that even Japan, which needed Southeast Asia for trade, would be in danger’ (History, p.1 2018).

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