The Truman Doctrine
"In his address to a joint session on March 12, 1947," Lynn Hinds and Theodore Windt wrote, "PresidentTruman officially committed the United States to an ideological cold war," and Robert Donovan appraised the significance of the Truman Doctrine speech: "The collectively written speech he delivered was certainly the most controversial of his presidency and remains probably the most enduringly controversial speech that has been made by a president in the twentieth century." 1 Indeed, the speech's composition, rhetorical techniques, and reception by the body politic contributed to its overall success.
On February 24, 1947, because their economy was near collapse, especially owing to the ravages of World War II and the harsh winter of 1946-47, the British informed the United States that Great Britain would no longer be able to send money and military aid to Greece and Turkey, and that it would withdraw all of its troops by March 31, 1947. This was a fortuitous boon to Truman, for with the Republican's having seized the House and Senate in the 1946 elections, his presidency seemed superfluous. Although this opportunity invited the president to lead in foreign affairs, it would take some deft maneuvering, for the Republicans were pledged to budget reductions, especially in foreign aid. Indeed, Truman told his cabinet that his aid program was "the greatest selling job ever facing a President," for he knew that "the situation was more precarious than it would have been with a preponderantly Democratic Congress." 2
On February 27, Truman, Secretary of State George C. Marshall,