The United States’ actions during the Korean War were in alliance with the UN in support of South Korea. In this way, the United States participation in Korea was largely a team effort. However, it is still worth noting the internationalist or world policeman aspects of their actions, mostly the Korean War being a means of United States’ containment policy. Nevertheless, it was still a group effort carried out in group interests.
On March 12, 1947 President Harry S. Truman addressed congress on the issue of Turkey and Greece’s economy. However, he also greatly stressed Greece’s current government situation, specifically the Greek Communist Party. This marked another point of soviet expansion, and caused a great deal of concern to the U.S. Accordingly, In Truman’s address he proposed an idea to provide support to any countries suffering from external pressures, namely communism. This idea became known as the Truman Doctrine and is summed up well in a this quote from President Truman, “I believe that 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 Domino Theory
A hallmark of the Truman Doctrine was the Domino Theory. This was the idea that if one country fell to communism, many more would follow suit. As such it would be vital to prevent any spread of communism whatsoever, as to prevent it’s infection of major regions such as Asia and Europe.
George F. Kennan, a Foreign Service Officer, is credited with the idea primarily used throughout the cold war. This was known as containment, and was first introduced in a Foreign Affairs article written by Kennan under the pen name X. In this Kennan advised preventing communist expansion by applying counter forces in areas of political turmoil and vulnerability. Though controversial and considered by some to be too defensive, Kennan’s idea of Containment helped set the frame for most of the U.S. foreign policy during the cold war.
Was the Foreign Policy Successful?
By maintaining the 38th parallel, America’s foreign policy goals were largely met. They prevented communist influence from spreading to South Korea, and made steps towards stabilizing a volatile political zone. However, the U.S.’s goals were simply met, not exceeded. They failed to free or destabilize North Korean communism, which stands to this very day.