The United States was the strongest country on earth in 1945. Its factories produced half the world’s manufactured goods. It had the world’s biggest air force and navy. And it was the only nation armed with atomic bombs.
After the United States came the Soviet Union. Soviet soldiers were the masters of all Europe from the middle of Germany eastwards. After driving out I litlcr’s armies they had helped communists to take over the governments in country after country there. In 194b Britain’s wartime leader, Winston Churchill, spoke of an “Iron Curtain” across Europe, separating these communist-ruled nations of the cast from the countries of the west.
The Americans and the Russians had fought 1 Iitler’s Germany together as allies. But friendship between them barely lasted the war out. The Russian dictator. Stalin, knew that many Americans hated the Soviet Union’s communist way of life. He feared that the United States might drop atomic bombs on his country at any moment. The new American President, Truman, was just as suspicious of the Soviet Union. He suspected that Stalin’s actions in eastern Europe were the first steps in a plan to convert the world to communism. The United States and the Soviet Union became deeply suspicious of one another. People began to speak of a “Cold War” between them. Although the two countries were not actually fighting, they were always quarreling.
Truman decided to use American power and money to “contain” Soviet influence—that is. to stop it from spreading. In 1947 he sent money and supplies to help the government of Greece to beat communist forces in a civil war. From this time on, containing communism became the main aim of the United States in dealing with the rest of the world. Because Truman started the policy, containment is sometimes called the Truman Doctrine.