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AH2 - Unit 7 - Foreign Policy - Truman to Nixon

US Foreign Policy in the post-WWII Cold War Era

Jennifer Byrd

on 11 April 2018

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Transcript of AH2 - Unit 7 - Foreign Policy - Truman to Nixon

Cold War Foreign Policy (1945-1973)

Truman to Nixon

Post WWII -
American Foreign
Developer William J. Levitt met the demand of this new middle class by mass-producing homes
Built houses in weeks instead of months
Created neighborhoods of cookie-cutter houses
Provided affordable housing to returning vets
The Cold War
Vocabulary Alert!!!!

Cold War

Political tension between the US and the Soviet Union from post-WWII until the 80's.
After WWII, America and its Allies were determined not to occupy conquered territory....
The Soviet Union, on the other hand, was not!
Stalin wanted to maintain a buffer between itself and the western nations of Europe.
He set up communist regimes which were controlled by the Soviet Union
Churchill said,
“An iron curtain has descended upon the continent”

The COLD WAR had begun!!
1946: Diplomat George Kennan recommended the strategy of containment
The US and the West should focus on containing communism to those countries in which it already existed and keep it from spreading
Vocabulary Alert!!!

Truman believed that if the US did not commit money and resources to rebuilding war-torn Europe AND establish stable democratic govts>>>COMMUNISM WOULD SPREAD ACROSS EUROPE. Stated
the US would not hesitate to intervene and aid nations overseas to resist communism.
Truman Doctrine
Marshall Plan
Also called the
European Recovery Plan (ERP)
Created by Sect. of State George Marshall
Provided $13 billion in aid to rebuild Western Europe – prevented the spread of communism
After WWII, the Allies divided Germany into 4 parts – the US, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union each controlled a portion.
The capital, Berlin, was also divided into 4 sectors
Was supposed to be temporary!!!
Post-war Germany
In 1948, the Allies unified their sectors into
the Federal Republic of Germany (West Ger.) and the Soviets responding by forming the German Democratic Republic (East Ger.), which was communist!
Thousands of people fled to West Berlin to escape communism. Stalin BLOCKADED the city, not allowing any needed supplies to reach West Berlin.
Truman authorized the
Berlin Airlift
Over 15 months, US and British planes dropped supplies to West Berlin
Soviets gave up in 1949, but the incident
intensified the Cold War!!!!
Berlin Blockade/Berlin Airlift
See ya! Wouldn’t
want to be ya!!!
1949 – Communist Mao Tse-tung (with Soviet help!) defeated Chinese Nationalist Chiang Kai-shek
The US refused to officially recognize Mao’s communist government
Communism in China
1949 – Communist
Mao Tse-tung
(with Soviet help!) defeated Chinese Nationalist
Chiang Kai-shek
The US refused to officially recognize Mao’s communist government.
See ya! Wouldn't
wanna be ya!!!
Communism in China
During WWII, Korea was liberated from Japan by the US and the Soviets.
AFTER WWII, Korea was divided along the
38th parallel,
with the US occupying the South, and the Soviets occupying the North
Korean War
You are SO
There is no
substitute for
MacArthur pushed the North Koreans back across the 38th parallel…close to the Chinese border.
The Chinese sent troops to the Yalu River to help the North Koreans.
President Truman wanted to fight a limited war
; MacArthur wanted go for it....
"There is no substitute for victory!"
You are SO fired!!!
1953 – an
was signed at

leaving Korea still divided near the 38th parallel
Vocabulary Alert!!!!


Sect. of State
John Foster Dulles
believed in “
massive retaliation
”... The doctrine that the best way to deter aggression is to threaten a potential aggressor with devastation by atomic bombs.
"More bang for a buck"
-- part of Ike's

"New Look"
in foreign policy
Spend less on conventional foreces and
MORE on air /nuclear defense.
The arms race had begun.....
Vocabulary Alert!!!!!

The art or practice of pressing a dangerous situation
, esp. in international affairs, to the limit of safety and peace in order
to win an advantage from a threatening foe.
After the US developed the atomic bomb, the Soviets followed with their own in 1949
1952 – the US tested the first
hydrogen bomb
– a thousand times stronger than the atomic bomb
This started the nuclear arms race (competition between the US and USSR to build and develop nuclear superiority)
the Arms Race
Americans built
fallout shelters
-- Shelters in which citizens could take cover in the event of a nuclear attack
“Duck and cover”
Schools had nuclear attack drills
Taught students
“duck and cover”
Led to McCarthyism/Red Scare -- more later!!)
1952 – Dwight Eisenhower was elected president
Strongly believed in the “
domino theory
” – that if one country fell to communism, its neighboring nations would fall, too.
Introduced the
promised US aid to any Middle Eastern country fighting communist aggression
“I Like Ike”
Vietnam had been a colony of France for years. After WWII, some Vietnamese started fighting for independence
Some of these revolutionaries were communist -- Eisenhower feared the “
domino theory
” taking place here.

In 1954,
the Geneva Accords
were drawn up,
dividing Vietnam into North (Soviet-allied) and South (US-allied). It was divided at the 17th parallel.

the Arms Race is joined by the Space Race
1957 – USSR – ICBM - intercontinental ballistic missile – threat of long-range nuclear attack
1957 – USSR – launches
– 1st artificial satellite to orbit Earth
.................More to come in Unit 8!!
1953 –
Nikita Krushchev
became the Soviet leader when Stalin died
1958 – Krushchev
Eisenhower in the US, and Ike was supposed to go to Moscow
In 1960, a US U-2 spy plane was shot down over the USSR
Pilot Francis Gary Powers was captured

Ike refused to apologize and the Cold War heated up! No Moscow visit for Ike….
U-2 Incident
1959 –
Fidel Castro
took power in Cuba, killing or jailing anyone who opposed him
He declared himself communist and allied himself with the Soviet Union
Eisenhower authorized the CIA to train Cuban exiles to invade Cuba
1961 – new president John F. Kennedy approved the invasion at the Bay of Pigs
Was a disaster!! Again –
intensified the Cold War
Bay of Pigs Fiasco
Kennedy began increasing the US’s military force
In response, the Soviets built a wall that separated communist East Berlin from West Berlin
Berlin Wall
“…Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in… All -- All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin.
And, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner.“ (1963)
Castro (Commie!!) allowed the Soviets to put nuclear missiles in Cuba
US spy planes spotted them in 1962
Kennedy responded by blockading Cuba.
For 13 days, the US and Soviet Union were on the brink of nuclear war
Krushchev finally agreed to remove them if the US promised to remove our missiles from Turkey.
And so.....back to Cuba!!!
Cuban Missile Crisis
Movie alert!!!!
"Thirteen Days"
Kennedy and Khrushchev meet in July 1963 in Moscow
Signed a test ban treaty - limited nuclear testing
Created a hot-line – emergency line of communication between the White House and the Kremlin to prevent an accidental war
Easing Tensions
After WWII, the
United Nations
was formed to avoid future conflicts
Within the UN is the Security Council, with 5 permanent members: US, Soviet Union, Britain, France, and China
Can investigate disputes and even authorize military action
the United Nations
1949 – the US signed a treaty with Canada and several European countries called the
Would provide a combined military force if necessary
1955 – In response, the Soviets formed the
, uniting the communist countries of Eastern Europe

After France was forced to give up Vietnam, the US formed the
Included Great Britain, France, and numerous countries in the Pacific

Cold War Foreign Policy Legacy

Truman -- End of WWII, Atomic Bomb,
Marshall Plan, Truman Doctrine,
Korean War, Berlin Airlift
Eisenhower – Domino theory, Eisenhower Doctrine,
Space Race, U-2 Incident
Kennedy – Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Wall
Johnson -- Vietnam War, war protests
Nixon -- Vietnam War, Vietnamization
The Truman Doctrine
And the Cold War will continue until......??????
June 1950 - North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel
The UN decided to help South Korea
Truman chooses
Gen. Douglas MacArthur
to lead the UN forces
This was NOT a declared war - rather, it was a UN police action.

The post-war tension b/w the US
& the Soviet Union
1947: Congress passes the
National Security Act

Creates the Sect. of Defense, National Security Council, and the Central Intelligence Agency.
a cease-fire agreement; end of
- pressing a dangerous situation

to win an advantage from a threatening foe
In the North,
Ho Chi Minh
established a
communist government. In the South, the
US supported Ngo Dinh Diem -- corrupt,
but NOT communist.

Like Korea, this was intended to be
Both Eisenhower and Kennedy will
send military advisors to South Vietnam to help prevent both Ho Chi Minh and the

Viet Cong
(communists living in South Vietnam; soldiers of the National Liberation Front - NLF - from taking control in the south.

In the meantime...Stalin dies. And in the US,
John F. Kennedy
is elected president.
**In November 1963, Kennedy is
assassinated; V-P Lyndon Baines
Johnson (LBJ) is sworn in...
(More on this in Unit 9)
Back to Vietnam...
1964 – Just two months before his re-election, LBJ informed Congress that 2 American ships were attacked by North Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin (Some questioned later if this was true…)

Congress then passed the
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
, which gave the president the authority to, “…take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the US.” In other words, the president could use military force WITHOUT Congress declaring war.
When LBJ learned that the Viet Cong received supplies along the Ho Chi Minh trail (a route which ran through Laos and Cambodia), LBJ launched
Operation Rolling Thunder
– intense bombings in North Vietnam
Many civilians were killed and Johnson received much criticism
LBJ named
General William Westmoreland
to command US forces in Vietnam
Between 1965 and 1968, US involvement and presence of US military grew dramatically

The dense jungles of Vietnam led to the use of new technology
Agent Orange
– a herbicide dropped to kill plants so US forces could see into the jungles;
Later proved to have caused cancer among
American soldiers and Vietnamese
– used to burn large areas. The bombs were made of a gel which stuck to people, either killing or burning them severely
New Warfare
US Involvement Grows...
January 30, 1968 – North Vietnamese and Viet Cong launched a major coordinated attack against the US and South Vietnamese forces.
Because it was Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, American forces were taken by surprise
US forces were able to turn back the Communists, BUT:

Tet was a HUGE psychological defeat for the US because:
The American public began to question the government’s handling of the war effort
Tet Offensive
March 1968 – Troops, under the command of Lt. William Calley, executed between 175 and 400 civilians – many were women, children, and elderly
Calley claimed it was necessary to find Viet Cong they believed were hiding in the village
Calley was sentenced to life in prison (later reduced)
AGAIN – the US public was outraged and protests to get out of Vietnam grew
My Lai Massacre
Richard M. Nixon (Rep.) was inaugurated January 1969 and quickly promoted a policy he called “
– the gradual withdrawal of American troops while the South Vietnamese assumed a larger role
Withdrawel from Vietnam
Renewed Bombing
Despite wanting a gradual withdrawal from Vietnam, Nixon did not want the South to fall to the Communists.
Nixon ordered bombings in neighboring Laos and Cambodia; he even ordered US troops into Cambodia hoping to gain more favorable terms for ending the war

But renewed bombing led to renewed protests.... some deadly.

Kent State University – National Guard troops were sent in to restore order; students threw rocks and troops opened fire
4 were killed, 9 injured
"Hanoi Jane" Fonda
But our soldiers kept fighting....and dying...
Paris Peace Accords
Leaders of the US, North and South Vietnam, and the Viet Cong met in Paris in 1973. The Accords called for:
Withdrawal of US troops in 60 days
Release of prisoners of war
End to military activities in Laos and Cambodia
The 17th parallel would still divide N & S Vietnam
Fall of Saigon
After US troops left, fighting continued until 1975 when North Vietnam surrounded the South’s capital of Saigon

US carried out an emergency airlift of about a thousand US personnel and 6,000 South Vietnamese.
Saigon fell on April 30, 1975; July 2, 1976 - N & S Vietnam is reunified -- Saigon is renamed Ho Chi Minh City
And the US has to recover from yet another foreign war....

U.S. policy of trying to "contain"
communism where it
Full transcript