A.Trumanís Containment Policy


†††† At the end of World War II in 1945 Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union, made no secret of his intent to expand Soviet-style communism to Eastern and Central Europe and Asia as well as elsewhere. Alarmed at this perceived threat to American democracy, President Harry S. Truman endorsed the containment policy, which, in effect, was implemented to prevent communism from spreading globally. Under this policy, America has spent over 280 billion dollars in military and economic aid to foreign countries. The basic principles of the containment policy lasted over four decades under eight U.S. Presidents and helped lead to the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1989.




A1. Who initially endorsed the containment policy?

A2. After which war was the containment policy enacted?

A3. How long did the containment policy last?

A4. How many U.S. Presidents supported the basic principles of the containment policy?

A5. What type of aid was given to foreign countries under Trumanís containment policy?

A6. Which Soviet leader desired to spread communism globally?

A7. Communism was perceived as a threat to what?

A8. What did the containment policy help lead to in 1989?


  1. Containment in Korea


President Truman and his Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, were unhappy that the containment policy

failed to contain communism in China where the communist Peopleís Republic of China was established after World War II ended. They added the nationís armed forces to military and economic aid to foreign countries in combating the spread of communism. President Truman used this tougher version of the containment policy when he fought the Korean War against North Korea in support of South Korea. North Korea was supported by the Soviet Union and later by communist China. Initially, North Korea invaded South Korea in an effort to unite all of Korea under communist rule of the Democratic Peopleís Republic. The result of this conflict was that Korea remains separated; the Democratic Peopleís Republic controlling the north and the Republic of Korea controlling the south. In this case, the strengthened containment concept worked in its function of curbing the spread of communism.




B1.†† Who helped Truman strengthen the containment policy?

B2.†† What was his position under Truman?

B3.†† Who invaded South Korea?

B4.†† Did U.S. troops support South Korea?

B5.†† Did the Soviet Union support North Korea?

B6.†† Who did China support?

B7.†† Where did the containment policy fail to contain communism after World War II?

B8.†† What was North Koreaís intent when they invaded South Korea?

B9.†† Who now controls South Korea?

B10. Was the containment policy effective in controlling the spread of communism in Korea?



  1. Vietnam: Eisenhower through Kennedy


†††† The containment policy evolved into the Eisenhower Doctrine under the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower with minimal changes, the most significant being the threat of the use of nuclear weapons. Truman and Eisenhower provided military and economic aid to South Vietnam in its civil war against communist North Vietnam. The U.S. did not supply American troops or use the threat of nuclear weapons. When John F. Kennedy took office as President of the U.S., South Vietnam was on verge of falling to North Vietnam. He committed military personnel as advisors to support South Vietnam and increased military and economic aid. He then sent American troops to fight the spread of communism, specifically, North Vietnam. Following the assassination of Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson escalated American involvement. He sent more troops and aid. The Soviet Union and China also increased their support of North Vietnam with military and economic aid but not troops.




C1.††† What did Eisenhower call his containment concept?

C2.††† What country supported South Vietnam?

C3.††Did China support North Vietnam?

C4.††† Did the Soviet Union support North Vietnam?

C5.††† Which U.S. President first sent U.S. combat troops to Vietnam?

C6.††† Was South Vietnam communistic?

C7.††† Did North Vietnam want to spread communism to all of Vietnam?

C8.††† Did U.S. forces fight Soviet troops in Vietnam?

C9.††† Did U.S. forces fight Chinese troops in Vietnam?

C10.Did President Johnson end U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War?


D.   Vietnam: Nixon and Ford


†††† When President Richard M. Nixon came to power in the U.S. he was aware of the domestic conflicts concerning U.S. involvement in Vietnam. He originally supported the containment concept as well as American troops being sent to Vietnam. However, he tried to negotiate with North Vietnam offering U. S. withdrawal from Vietnam in exchange for internationally supervised elections to be held in South Vietnam. The north refused. Nixon then tried to bolster South Vietnamís ability to fight its own war with an enormous infusion of military, economic, and technological aid. He then heavily bombed North Vietnam, bringing the horrors of war to the citizenry of the north. In 1972, Nixon and his National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger, negotiated directly with the main supporters of North Vietnam, China and the Soviet Union. Nixon agreed to support the admission of China to the United Nations and to begin an ongoing cultural and economic relationship with them. In negotiations with the Soviet Union, Nixon agreed to American grain sales to the Soviet Union and also agreed to a Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty. Nixon, in 1973, was then able to negotiate a cease-fire agreement between North Vietnam and South Vietnam wherein the north were allowed to keep control of large sections of South Vietnam, U.S. troops would withdraw from Vietnam, and North Vietnam would release American prisoners of war. Nixon promised the South Vietnamese government that the U.S. would ďrespond with full forceĒ if the north restarted its conquest of the south. Within two years, in 1975, North Vietnam again attacked the south. The American President, Gerald Ford, asked Congress to send more aid to South Vietnam. Congress rejected his request. Four months later, all of Vietnam was under the communistic control of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.



D1.†† Were there domestic disputes in America concerning U.S. involvement in Vietnam?

D2.†† Who did not want internationally supervised elections in South Vietnam?

D3.†† Who heavily bombed North Vietnam?

D4.†† Who was Nixonís National Security Adviser?

D5.†† Who supported North Vietnam during the Vietnam War?

D6.†† Who supported Chinaís admission to the U.N.?

D7.†† Who agreed to limit strategic arms with the Soviet Union?

D8.†† Which President withdrew U.S. troops from Vietnam in 1973?

D9.†† Who attacked South Vietnam in 1975?

D10. Who asked Congress to again support South Vietnam in 1975?

D11. Did Congress all U.S. involvement to escalate in 1975?

D12. In 1975, would you say that the containment concept was in effect in Vietnam?

D13. Who won the Vietnam War?


††† E.A Different Type of Containment in Berlin, Germany


†††† In August of 1961 during the Kennedy Administration, the Soviet Union leader, Nikita Khrushchev, built the Berlin Wall separating communist-controlled East Berlin, Germany from Allied-controlled West Berlin, Germany. The Berlin Wall was built in an effort to keep people in East Berlin as well as those in Eastern Europe from escaping communism. It was built to keep people from getting out as opposed to preventing people from getting in. Not exactly the same containment policy endorsed by American leadership! The Berlin Wall was the single largest symbol of the Soviet Unionís Iron Curtain, an invisible boundary separating territory controlled directly or indirectly by the Soviet Union from anti-communist territory.




E1.†† What country built the Berlin Wall?

E2.†† Who was leader of the Soviet Union when the Berlin Wall was built?

E3.†† Who President of America when the Berlin Wall was built?

E4.†† What country controlled East Berlin when the Berlin Wall was built?

E5.†† Who controlled West Berlin?

E6.†† Why was the Berlin Wall built?

E7.†† What did the Berlin Wall symbolize?

E8.†† What was the invisible boundary of Soviet-controlled territory called?


F.    The Cold War Ends: Reagan and Bush


American President Ronald Reagan continued the crusade against communism choosing to stress his willingness to adhere to all of the principles of the Eisenhower Doctrine. He increased defense spending, anti-missile technology, and Americaís ability to respond quickly anywhere in the world to communist aggression or, for that matter, any foreign situation that posed a threat to American interests. He firmly believed in the original premise that if the Soviet Union were to try to keep up in the arms race and match U.S. military might, it would crush its economic stability. When Mikhail S. Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union, he apparently agreed to this conclusion as he encouraged a policy allowing political debate and criticism within the Soviet Union. This policy is known as glasnost. He also tried to jump-start the lagging Soviet economy with another policy of encouraging individual enterprise and decentralizing Soviet administration. This policy is known as perestroika. Reagan continued to apply pressure by expanding and modernizing Americaís nuclear capabilities. Meanwhile, Gorbachevís reforms spread rapidly throughout the Soviet bloc nations. Countries under Soviet control were promised by Gorbachev that the Soviet Union would honor their desires to break away from the Soviet Union. While George Bush was President of the U.S., Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and East Germany quickly adopted more democratic governments, abandoning communist ideology. In 1989, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, the Iron Curtain disappeared as the Cold War came to an end, and Soviet Union collapsed. The containment policy was effective in playing a large role in bringing about these changes and of severely minimizing the threat of Soviet-style communism to American democracy and capitalism.




F1.†† Which U.S. President adhered to the principles of the Eisenhower Doctrine?

F2.†† Theoretically speaking, what would happen if the Soviet Union continued to try to keep up with the†††††††

U.S. in the arms race?

F3.†† What is glasnost?

F4.†† What is perestroika?

F5.†† Who brought about these reforms (glasnost & perestroika)?

F6.†† What countries broke away from the Soviet Union when assured Soviet force would not interfere?

F7.†† Does the Berlin Wall still keep Germany separated?

F8.†† What basic form of government did those nations that broke away from the Soviet Union adopt?

F9.†† Does the Cold War, which started at the end of World War II, still go on?

F10. What policy had an effect on the collapse of the Soviet Union?

F11. Is threat of Soviet-style communism against American democracy today hindered dramatically?

F12. What year did the Berlin Wall come down?

F13. What year did the Soviet Union collapse?

F14. Who was the U.S. President when the Soviet Union collapsed?