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The Truman Doctrine: A declaration of Cold War

Summary

President Harry Truman's address to the United States Congress and the world in March 1947 is seen by some historians as marking the start of the Cold War. In it, the President committed the USA to the role of defender of global democracy and pledged to contain the expansion of the Soviet Union and the spread of communism. The Truman Doctrine, as it became known, led to the establishment of Nato and, later, US involvement in conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. The speech and the policy it set out, less than two years after the end of the Second World War were by no means inevitable - both were shaped as much by misunderstandings and exaggerated fears as they were conflicting ideologies and the actions of the USA's former ally. Presented by Bridget Kendall

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ProducerSimon Tullett

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