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Cold War Radar


Containment was a policy followed by the United States to stop the spread of communism.

George Kennan wrote a report considering the Soviet threat in 1946 which was published in 1947.  He saw the Soviet Union as not having a very sturdy foundation.  He said they could be beaten by containing them and their ideology.  This policy which came to be known as containment, would be an American staple in the Cold War.  The United States was willing to get involved around the world to make sure communism did not spread and that they had their influence instead.  Sometimes this even involved getting rid of other democracies.


The first test of the containment policy was in Greece in 1947.  Stalin and Churchill (without the United States) had come to a percentage agreement, which said that each country had their sphere of influence (Latin America for the United States, Eastern Europe for the Soviet Union, and their empire for the British).  Greece was in Britain’s area.

There had been a civil war in Greece in which Britain supported the monarchists against the communists.  However, they could not afford to after the Second World War, so Truman and the United States offered arms and money.

The communists in this case were not supported by the Soviet Union, but rather Tito and Yugoslavia.  This process did prove that containment could work.


Iran was under the traditional influence of Britain, though it was located south of the Soviet Union.  The monarch, Shah Mohammed Pahlavi was afraid of the Soviet Union and worked with the British.  In 1951, Massadq became the Prime Minister and he wanted to nationalize Iranian oil, by especially getting rid of the West. 

He also said Iran would be neutral in the Cold War, which the United States did not agree was possible.  So Eisenhower’s United States paid people within the military and others to protest and to help get rid of him in 1953, and uphold their capitalist influence.


Jacobo Arbenz decided to try democracy in Guatemala, and in doing so shared power with the communists and socialists.  Promising land reforms, he took over land from large landowners.  Some of these people were powerful friends of the head of the CIA, Nixon, and Eisenhower, including shareholders in the United Fruit Company.

The United States said that communism would not be allowed in its sphere.  Eisenhower reformed the Monroe Doctrine (a 1823 policy which had kept Europeans out of the Americas) to say this as well.  They used covert operations and worked from 1950-1954 to overthrow Arbenz until he fled.


Salvador Allende, a socialist who had been elected in Chile, nationalized mines.  Some of those he turned away were American companies.  The United States helped to overthrow him.