On Every Front: The Making and Unmaking of the Cold War

By Thomas G. Paterson | Go to book overview

4
POLARIZATION

The Cold War, 1947-1950

THE SETTING was hardly friendly for a speech its drafters thought as important as any since Pearl Harbor. Most members of the Eightieth Congress wanted less, not more, spending, and many of them held little respect for Harry S. Truman, the Democratic president whose administration the American voters had repudiated in the fall 1946 elections by putting both houses of the Congress into the hands of the Republicans. On March 12, 1947, at a joint session of an unwelcoming Congress, Truman had a selling job to do, and he issued his Truman Doctrine with often alarmist language. He said it "must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." The world, he stated, was now divided between two "alternative ways of life." The legislators heard Truman's unvarnished case for

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