Why did the US implement containment?

Essay by Keir September 2006

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After the Yalta and Potsdam conferences in 1945, with the increasing Soviet and British-US tensions, the expansion of the Soviet Union became a pressing concern for the West. The Soviet Union, an already communist society, was planning on spreading its influence throughout Western Europe as well as Eastern; to create "friendly states" along its border for various reasons. It was unclear where the Soviets would draw the line as to their expansion, so to combat the growing USSR-controlled communist monopoly, the US introduced a containment policy, intended to cause the collapse of the USSR and its satellite nations. The US had various reasons for implementing containment, mainly relating to the military, geo-politics/social issues, historical occurrences, and economics.

One of the main reasons that the United States decided to follow the containment plan and the Truman doctrine was due to potential military problems that Soviet expansion would present. The Truman Doctrine's main principle was that the USSR was to be stopped from expanding any further.

If the USSR were to spread so far as the Mediterranean, and gain control of states there, their military powers would extend all the way to the Suez Canal. Even though two oceans border the US, giving it substantial protection against invasion, if Stalin obtained control of the Suez Canal, the US would be much more susceptible to attack by the Communist states, as navy navigation would be greatly facilitated by that particular feather in Stalin's cap. Furthermore, once the Soviets expanded their military by amassing their collection of "friendly" Communist States on their border, their aim of protecting themselves from invasion would be accomplished. For the US, this would present a problem further along the line if war were ever to be an option, unless they used nuclear power. Even though the Americans...