This chapter covers the beginning of the cold war under Harry Truman’s presidency, and how it affected both foreign and domestic policies. Peace after World War II was marred by a powerful rivalry between the United States and Soviet Russia. Truman and his advisors introduced the basic cold war doctrine of “containment” in the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). With the victory of the Communist People’s Liberation Army in China (1949) and the outbreak of the Korean War (1950), the cold war was extended to the Asian mainland as well. The cold war prompted the United States to rebuild its World War II enemies of Germany and Japan as counterweights to the Soviets. At home, Americans wanted to return to normal by bringing the troops home, resuming spending for consumer goods, and re-establishing family life, but many changing social patterns brought anxieties. A second “Red Scare” was caused by heated cold war rhetoric of a bipartisan foreign policy and Truman’s government loyalty oath program, but Senator Joseph McCarthy’s tactics in the first half of the 1950s symbolized the era. Defense spending increased and the American economy became dependent on it to maintain growth and avoid renewed depression. Truman tried to extend elements of the New Deal in his “Fair Deal,” but this effort met with minimal success.
After reading this chapter you should be able to:
Illustrate the effects of the Red Scare by discussing the college campus community after World War II.
Trace the development of the American policy of containment as applied to Europe and to Asia.
Summarize the foreign and domestic policies of the Truman administration.
Discuss the major causes, personalities, and events of the Red Scare.
Explain why the immediate post-World War II years can be labeled the “Age of Anxiety” with regard to American society and popular culture.
Outline the events of the Korean War, its effect on American foreign policy, and the impact on the political fortunes of Truman and the Democratic Party.
Compare the Red Scare after World War I to the one after World War II. (Review Chapter 23.)