Many of the Cold War presidents used the Policy of Containment to resolve serious, diplomatic incidents involving the Communist countries.
The Cold War Events (1945 - 1947): Definition of the Yalta Conference (1945)
Summary and Definition: The Yalta Conference (February 4, 1945 - February 11, 1945) was was a WW2 summit meeting of the 'Big Three' heads of government from the US, Great Britain and the USSR consisting of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. The Soviets broke promises made at Yalta which led to strong Anti-Communist sentiments, growing distrust of the Russians and the Cold War.
Definition of the Potsdam Conference (1945)
Summary and Definition: The purpose of the Potsdam Conference (17 July 17, 1945 to August 2, 1945), led by Harry S. Truman, Clement Attlee and Joseph Stalin, to clarify and implement the terms for the for the end of WW2. The leaders agreed that Germany would be split into four zones of occupation (the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and France). During the conference Harry Truman, who was strongly anti-communist and highly suspicious of Stalin, informed the Soviets that the US had successfully tested the Atomic Bomb.
Definition of the Atomic Bomb (1945)
Summary and Definition: The Atomic Bomb was developed by scientists in the US working on the Manhattan Project. The atomic bomb, "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and "Fat Man" was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945 and ended WW2. The Atomic bomb ended WW2 but began the Cold War arms race.
Definition of the United Nations (1945)
Summary and Definition: The United Nations (UN) was established on 24 October 1945, after WW2 had ended, to preserve world peace and promote international co-operation in order to prevent another war. The United Nations replaced the ineffective League of Nations and was established as a multinational body to consider international problems and offer resolutions with a view to avoiding another conflict. The UN's mission was complicated in its early years by the Cold War between the US and Soviet Union and their respective allies.
Definition of the Eastern Bloc - The Iron Curtain (1945)
Summary and Definition: Russian military forces, driving back the Nazis in WW2, occupied large areas of Eastern Europe. To safeguard the USSR from future invasion Stalin's plan was to establish a 'buffer zone' of friendly, Communist states around Russia called the 'Satellite Nations'. The "impenetrable barrier" of the Eastern Bloc, known as the Iron Curtain, began to descend separating the Communist countries of Eastern Europe under the influence of the USSR from the democratic countries of the West. The Soviet Union prevented contact between the 'Satellite Nations' and the Free World. The Communists behind the Iron Curtain controlled the army and set up a secret police force. Opponents of Communism were arrested and many were executed.
Definition of the Long Telegram (1946)
Summary and Definition: Although tensions were growing between the US and the USSR many American officials believed it was possible to cooperate with the Soviets. The sticking point was the issue of free elections in Eastern Europe. In an effort to understand the situation American officials asked the American Embassy in Moscow to explain the behavior of the Soviets. In response to the request George Kennan sent the Long Telegram on February 22, 1946. The Long Telegram was a diplomatic cable consisting of 5,540 words offering advice on the Soviet Union and possible foreign policy approaches. Kennan advised "a long term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies." George Kennanís advice formed the basis of the Truman Doctrine and the basic US policy throughout the Cold War.
Definition of Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll (1946)
Summary and Definition: Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll was the first public demonstration of America's atomic arsenal after the Atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Operation Crossroads was two nuclear weapon tests conducted by the United States at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands during 1946. The purpose of Operation Crossroads, which included two shots ABLE and BAKER, was to investigate the effect of nuclear weapons on naval warships. The first test, codenamed ABLE, occurred on July 1, 1946 when an implosion-type atomic bomb (nicknamed Gilda) was dropped from a B-29. The second test of Operation Crossroads was codenamed Test BAKER, was the first underwater test of an atomic bomb.
Definition of the Containment Policy
Summary and Definition: Containment was the policy of restricting communist expansion by keeping communism within its present territory by diplomatic, military and economic actions. The US policy of Containment was used when the Soviets made a move on Eastern Europe and the Middle East. During WW2 Soviet troops occupied Northern Iran. Instead of withdrawing the Soviets remained in Northern Iran, demanding access to Iran's oil supplies and helping Communists in Northern Iran to set up a separate government. The US protested and sent the USS Missouri battleship into the Eastern Mediterranean. The Soviets withdrew and Americans spoke of "rolling back" communism. But the USSR takeover attempts also extended to Europe and their sights were set on Turkey and Greece. (The US policy of Containment was to play a major role in diplomatic, economic and military actions during the Cold War). The policy of Containment gave rise to the Domino Theory which speculated that if one region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a falling domino effect.
Definition of the Truman Doctrine (1947)
Summary and Definition: Containment was a key element of the Truman Doctrine. Stalin withdrew from Northern Iran but then demanded joint control of the sea ports of the Dardanelles with Turkey. Communists in Greece then launched a guerrilla war against the government. The British sent troops to fight in Greece but were forced to ask the US for help. On March 27, 1947 Truman made a speech to Congress, that became known as the Truman Doctrine, warning that it was America's job to quash the communist aggression in Turkey and Greece. The effects of the Truman Doctrine were to ease the Soviet demands in Turkey and stabilize the Greek government. In the Truman Doctrine, President Harry Truman pledged to support nations in their struggle to resist communism.
Definition of the Marshall Plan (1947)
Summary and Definition: The European Recovery Program, the Marshall Plan, was proposed by Secretary of State George C. Marshall in June 1947 in response to the economic ruin and political chaos in many European countries following WW2. The Marshall Plan was a US-financed relief package, providing funds to European nations to assist their reconstruction and was essential for the success of the US policy of containment. The Soviets and the satellite nations established their own economic program - Comecon. The Mutual Defense Assistance Act, aka the Military Marshall Plan, was passed by US Congress in October 1949 authorizing the US government to supply military aid, equipment and support to nations at risk from communism.
Definition of the 1947 Roswell UFO Incident and Area 51
Summary and Definition: The development of new weapons and aircraft led to various conspiracy theories centered around the Roswell UFO Incident in New Mexico and the top secret military base in the Nevada desert referred to as Area 51.
Definition of the National Security Act of 1947
Summary and Definition: The National Security Act of 1947 (Jul 26, 1947) was promote national security and mandated a major reorganization of the military establishments and foreign policy of the U.S. Government. This reorganization of the U.S. defense establishment created the office of the Secretary of Defense, the U.S. Air Force (USAF), the National Security Council (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).