Harry S. Truman: The Man from Independence

By William F. Levantrosser | Go to book overview

THE COLD WAR LEGACY

Perhaps the most far-reaching, significant policy direction established during the Truman presidency was the cold war stance. Not often recognized as part of this policy was the consideration and application of economic sanctions. Two chapters in this section examine contrasting uses of trade to achieve national goals in containment. Attempts are made to estimate the success of such efforts in the case of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.

Not as directly related to cold war goals but nevertheless developed in the early part of this era was the policy dealing with displaced persons. The Truman administration has been faulted for not placing a high enough priority on measures offered to relieve the plight of many people displaced by the war in Europe. The account of Truman policy on displaced persons also illustrates the difference between an opposition Congress and one sympathetic to the President.

As cold war antagonism increased between the United States and the Soviet Union President Truman had to consider appropriate military strategies to implement the policy of containment. Conflicting pressures for rapid demobilization at the end of the war and the needs of the military for contingency planning temporarily gave impetus to an air-atomic strategy. The nature of those problems are discussed here and a suggested rationale is offered for those decisions.

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