Here's How the Truman Doctrine Established the Cold War

Here's How the Truman Doctrine Established the Cold War

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Learn how the Truman Doctrine marked the beginning of the Cold War, how it shaped America's attitude towards communism and how it shifted its foreign policy on interventionism with its involvement in the Mediterranean after World War II.

The Cold War (1945–1989)

On 22 September 1947, delegates from the Communist Parties of the Soviet Union, Poland, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Italy and France gathered near Warsaw and created the Cominform, an information bureau located in Belgrade. It quickly became the Communist movement’s agent for spreading its ideology through its newspaper For a lasting peace, for a people’s democracy . Presented as a ‘revival’ of the Comintern, the Cominform actually served as an instrument for the USSR to keep close control over Western Communist parties. The aim was to close ranks around Moscow and to ensure that European Communists were in line with Soviet policies. Tito’s Yugoslavia, accused of deviationism, would soon be excluded from the Cominform.

Andrei Zhdanov, the Soviet delegate, ideologist in the CPSU and Stalin’s right-hand man, persuaded the participants in the constitutive meeting to approve the doctrine according to which the world was now divided into two irreconcilable camps: an ‘imperialist and anti-democratic’ camp led by the United States and an ‘anti-imperialist and democratic’ camp led by the USSR. This doctrine was the Soviet response to the Truman Doctrine. Zhdanov condemned imperialism and colonisation but advocated ‘new democracy’. He emphasised the fact that the anti-imperialist bloc across the world relied on the democratic workers’ movement, on Communist parties and on those involved in liberation movements in colonial countries. In 1947, the world therefore became bipolar, divided into two conflicting blocs.

Then in January 1949, in response to the Marshall Plan, the USSR created a programme of economic cooperation with the Soviet bloc countries known as the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA or Comecon).


In its narrowest sense, the New Look was the name applied to the Department of Defense budget for Fiscal Year 1955, which was the first defense budget prepared entirely by Eisenhower's own Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was based on an extensive reappraisal of U.S. military requirements that began among Eisenhower and his closest advisers immediately following his election in November 1952. [1] It was formalized in National Security Council document 162/2 (NSC 162/2), which Eisenhower approved on October 30, 1953.

Eisenhower said of tactical nuclear weapons that "on strictly military targets and for strictly military purposes, I see no reason why they shouldn't be used just exactly as you would use a bullet or anything else". [2] NSC 162/2 reflected Eisenhower's desire for a "long-haul" approach to security planning that would maintain a more or less constant level of military preparedness, consistent with the health of the U.S. economy. [3] In this respect, it differed from NSC 68, approved by President Harry S. Truman on September 30, 1950. Truman's advisers believed that Soviet military capabilities would reach a maximum relative to those of the United States and its allies in the mid-1950s. [4]

Eisenhower rejected the idea that one period would be any more dangerous than another and urged his planners to think in terms of a Soviet threat that was economic as well as military. He wanted to avoid, in his own words, "an unbearable security burden leading to economic disaster." [4] With the costly experience of the Korean War in mind, Eisenhower was fearful that U.S. resources would be drained by Soviet-inspired regional conflicts. [1]

The New Look Policy also embodied an increasing reliance on the use of covert operations and espionage. This was not only due to the fact that clandestine forces were cheap when compared to conventional forces, but also because covert techniques were legitimised in the context of the Cold War. [5]

The Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM) program, relying on small, portable nuclear weapons, also was consistent with the New Look policy. Green Light Teams, U.S. commandos trained in secret exercises in which they carried actual nuclear weapons, were set up. Their missions would have been to infiltrate targets carrying nuclear weapons, to detonate and to be exfiltrated, although the commandos often understood that they were to be sent on kamikaze missions. [6] [7]

Psychological warfare was a nonviolent technique of combatting the Soviets that especially appealed to Eisenhower, with the goal of flooding Communist states with anti-Soviet propaganda. [8]

In order to contain defense costs, the New Look brought about a shift in emphasis from conventional military capability to "air-atomic" capability in the form of the Strategic Air Command within a scaled-down overall military establishment. Land and naval forces were cut. Continental air defense was expanded. Although strategic air power attained a lower level than the Truman administration had projected, it became the centerpiece of U.S. security thinking, embodied in the doctrine of "Massive Retaliation." Summarized in the popular slogan "more bang for the buck," Massive Retaliation was intended to be both a deterrent to an enemy and an economy of scale if deterrence failed. [9]

The doctrine was proclaimed in its most absolute form by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations on January 12, 1954, in which he said, "Local defenses must be reinforced by the further deterrent of massive retaliatory power [emphasis added]. [10] Dulles continued:

The way to deter aggression is for the free community to be willing and able to respond vigorously at places and with means of its own choosing.


Now the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff can shape our military establishment to fit what is our policy, instead of having to try to be ready to meet the enemy's many choices. That permits of a selection of military means instead of a multiplication of means, As a result, it is now possible to get, and share, more basic security at less cost. [11]

Criticism of Massive Retaliation Edit

What Dulles implied was that the United States was prepared to respond to a Soviet-backed conventional threat anywhere with a nuclear strike against the Soviet Union itself. [12] Critics of Massive Retaliation such as historian John Lewis Gaddis have pointed out that the doctrine was not credible in the face of "less-than-total challenges" such as the Soviet intervention in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, and that whatever credibility it might have had diminished steadily as Soviet strategic power grew. [13] Furthermore, it theoretically provided the Soviet Union with an incentive to strike first to disarm the United States. The Hungarian Revolution involved a matter internal to the Eastern Bloc, so it is unclear whether any sort of conventional military response would have been undertaken regardless.

The refusal of the United States to act to prevent the defeat of France by the Communist-led Viet Minh at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, just four months after the Dulles speech, highlighted the political difficulties Eisenhower faced in balancing interference in Asia with his determination to keep the U.S. out of a "hot war". [14] His refusal to intervene using air strikes - a tactic that he decided would have been ineffective in the scenario of Dien Bien Phu - led instead to a third option: a threat of nuclear strikes against strategic Chinese targets, in line with "Massive Retaliation". This was approved on May 26, on the condition that both congress and U.S. allies supported it. [15]

This tactic could not be relied upon to secure US interests in every case however. Defense planners, therefore, began shaping a "new" New Look marked by emphasis on strategic "sufficiency," not superiority on tactical nuclear weapons to fight "limited wars" and on standing forces as opposed to reserves. [16] The emphasis was still primarily on nuclear weapons and the justification was still that of economy, but a shift toward what would later be called "flexible response" had begun.

The new approach was embodied in NSC 5440 (approved as NSC 5501 on January 7, 1955), [17] finalized in December 1954, which stated:

The ability to apply force selectively and flexibly will become increasingly important in maintaining the morale and will of the free world to resist aggression. As the fear of nuclear war grows, the United States and its allies must never allow themselves to get into the position where they must choose between (a) not responding to local aggression and (b) applying force in a way which our own people or our allies would consider entails undue risk of nuclear devastation. However, the United States cannot afford to preclude itself from using nuclear weapons even in a local situation, if such use . will best advance U.S. security interests. In the last analysis, if confronted by the choice of (a) acquiescing in Communist aggression or (b) taking measures risking either general war or loss of allied support, the United States must be prepared to take these risks if necessary for its security. [18]

NSC 5440 was a fundamental revision of the earlier BNSP [Basic National Security Policy]. Its authors (a) renounced massive retaliation, (b) precisely articulated the strategy of "flexible response" as it would become known seven years later, and (c) predicted, in the last sentence, exactly the dilemma which the Eisenhower administration would face in Berlin four years hence. [18]

Section Summary

Joy at the ending of World War II was quickly replaced by fears of conflict with the Soviet Union. The Cold War heated up as both the United States and Soviet Union struggled for world dominance. Fearing Soviet expansion, the United States committed itself to assisting countries whose governments faced overthrow by Communist forces and gave billions of dollars to war-torn Europe to help it rebuild. While the United States achieved victory in its thwarting of Soviet attempts to cut Berlin off from the West, the nation was less successful in its attempts to prevent Communist expansion in Korea. The development of atomic weapons by the Soviet Union and the arrest of Soviet spies in the United States and Britain roused fears in the United States that Communist agents were seeking to destroy the nation from within. Loyalty board investigations and hearings before House and Senate committees attempted to root out Soviet sympathizers in the federal government and in other sectors of American society, including Hollywood and the military.

Review Question

Answer to Review Question

  1. The border between North and South Korea was established close to the original line along the thirty-eighth parallel, with a demilitarized zone serving as a buffer. Prisoners of war were free to decide whether they wanted to be returned home.


blacklist a list of people suspected of having Communist sympathies who were denied work as a result

Cold War the prolonged period of tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, based on ideological conflicts and competition for military, economic, social, and technological superiority, and marked by surveillance and espionage, political assassinations, an arms race, attempts to secure alliances with developing nations, and proxy wars

containment the U.S. policy that sought to limit the expansion of Communism abroad

domino theory the theory that if Communism made inroads in one nation, surrounding nations would also succumb one by one, like a chain of dominos toppling one another

Iron Curtain a term coined by Winston Churchill to refer to portions of Eastern Europe that the Soviet Union had incorporated into its sphere of influence and that no longer were free to manage their own affairs

Cold War

The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II. Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span the 1947 Truman Doctrine (12 March 1947) to the 1991 Dissolution of the Soviet Union (26 December 1991). [1] The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two superpowers, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict was based around the ideological and geopolitical struggle for global influence by these two superpowers, following their temporary alliance and victory against Nazi Germany in 1945. [2] Aside from the nuclear arsenal development and conventional military deployment, the struggle for dominance was expressed via indirect means such as psychological warfare, propaganda campaigns, espionage, far-reaching embargoes, rivalry at sports events and technological competitions such as the Space Race.

Part of a series on the
History of the Cold War

The Western Bloc was led by the United States as well as the other First World nations of the Western Bloc that were generally liberal democratic but tied to a network of the authoritarian states, most of which were their former colonies. [3] [A] The Eastern Bloc was led by the Soviet Union and its Communist Party, which had an influence across the Second World. The US government supported right-wing governments and uprisings across the world, while the Soviet government funded communist parties and revolutions around the world. As nearly all the colonial states achieved independence in the period 1945–1960, they became Third World battlefields in the Cold War.

The first phase of the Cold War began shortly after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The United States created the NATO military alliance in 1949 in the apprehension of a Soviet attack and termed their global policy against Soviet influence containment. The Soviet Union formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955 in response to NATO. Major crises of this phase included the 1948–49 Berlin Blockade, the 1927–1950 Chinese Civil War, the 1950–1953 Korean War, the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the 1956 Suez Crisis, the Berlin Crisis of 1961 and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The USA and the USSR competed for influence in Latin America, the Middle East, and the decolonizing states of Africa and Asia.

Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split between China and the Soviet Union complicate relations within the Communist sphere, while US ally France began to demand greater autonomy of action. The USSR invaded Czechoslovakia to suppress the 1968 Prague Spring, while the US experienced internal turmoil from the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War. In the 1960s–70s, an international peace movement took root among citizens around the world. Movements against nuclear arms testing and for nuclear disarmament took place, with large anti-war protests. By the 1970s, both sides had started making allowances for peace and security, ushering in a period of détente that saw the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People's Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the USSR.

Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the beginning of the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. The early 1980s was another period of elevated tension. The United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when it was already suffering from economic stagnation. In the mid-1980s, the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of glasnost ("openness", c. 1985) and perestroika ("reorganization", 1987) and ended Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Pressures for national sovereignty grew stronger in Eastern Europe, and Gorbachev refused to militarily support their governments any longer.

In 1989, the fall of the Iron Curtain after the Pan-European Picnic and a peaceful wave of revolutions (with the exception of Romania and Afghanistan) overthrew almost all communist governments of the Eastern Bloc. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union itself lost control in the Soviet Union and was banned following an abortive coup attempt in August 1991. This in turn led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December 1991, the declaration of independence of its constituent republics and the collapse of communist governments across much of Africa and Asia. The United States was left as the world's only superpower.

The Cold War and its events have left a significant legacy. It is often referred to in popular culture, especially with themes of espionage and the threat of nuclear warfare.

Truman Doctrine

On March 12, 1947, President Harry S. Truman introduced his Truman Doctrine, a foreign policy aimed at reducing Soviet expansion during the Cold War.

The doctrine came as a result of a pair of crises in Turkey and Greece. In the wake of World War II, the Soviets had pressured Turkey to allow Russian shipping to pass freely through the Turkish Straights. When Turkey refused, tensions rose in the UK and later the US provided economic and military aid.

US #1499 was issued on Truman’s 89th birthday. Click image to order.

During this same period, Greece was in the middle of a civil war between the Greek Communist Party and the Greek royalist government. Britain had provided aid to Greece but in late 1946, they told American officials they could no longer help because of their own weakened economy.

By early 1947, Truman’s administration recognized that if Greece fell to Communism, Turkey likely would too. So the American government decided to provide equal aid to both Turkey and Greece, in the hopes it would also help to relieve the long-standing tensions between the two nations as well.

US #2755 was issued for Acheson’s 100th birthday. Click image to order.

Truman would need the support of both houses of the Republican Congress to pass legislation, so he met with key congressional leaders to explain the seriousness of the situation. Undersecretary Dean Acheson explained that the spread of communism was like a rotten apple that could quickly spread its infection to an entire barrel. His rhetoric impressed chief Republican spokesperson Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, who encouraged Truman to address Congress and “scare the hell out of the American people.”

The situation grew dire, as on March 7, Acheson told the president that he feared Greece might fall within weeks if they didn’t soon receive aid. So Truman and Acheson worked together to craft the Truman Doctrine. On March 12, 1947, the president delivered his 18-minute speech before a joint session of Congress. In it, he stated, “it must be the policy of the United States to support free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”

US #2755 – Silk Cachet Combination First Day Cover. Click image to order.

In general, Truman’s speech was well received and his proposal was approved in May by a large majority, granting $400 million in military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey. By 1948, the Greek Communist threat was defeated.

US #1008 was issued for the 3rd anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. Click image to order.

The doctrine would have even longer-lasting effects. It established America’s Cold War policy and was one of the stepping-stones to the creation of NATO.

What was the Truman Doctrine? Question 1 options:

Doctrine established by President Truman to secretly turn the US into a communist country.

Doctrine established by President Truman to stop the spread of communism to other countries.

Doctrine established by President Truman to send troops to all nations to help set up a democracy.

Doctrine established by President Truman to invade communist countries.
Question 2 (1 point)

The purpose of the Berlin Wall was to separte East and West German for the purpose of allowing a Communist government to control East Germany while a capitalist form of government controlled the West side of Germany.
Question 2 options:
Question 3 (1 point)

Which best describes the Cuban Missle Crisis?
Question 3 options:

A war in which the US launched missiles against Cuba and this angered the Soviets

A war in which the Soviets launched missiles against US and this angered the Soviets

The people of Cuba started secretely manufactoring missles to be launched towards the US.

The Soviets placed missiles in Cuba as a threat to the US.
Question 4 (1 point)

Which statement is true about the Korean Conflict?
Question 4 options:

Korea was divided into North and South Korean. The North was ruled by Communist. The South was capitalist. The US supported the North. The Soviets supported the South.

Korea was divided into North and South Korean. The North was ruled by Communist. The South was capitalist. The Soviets supported the North. The US supported the South.

Korea went to war with both the US and the Soviet Union in order to establish a communist nation.

The Soviet Union tried to overtake all of Korea, so the US declared war and stopped them.
Question 5 (1 point)

Which best describes the Vietnam Conflict?
Question 5 options:

Vietnam was divided into North (Communists) and South (capitalist) after WWII. The Soviets and China supported the South. US helped the North. Once war was declared, it was a very short war.

Vietnam declared war on the Soviet Union in order to stop the spread of communism to thier country. The US stepped in and stopped them.

Vietnam was divided into North (Communists) and South (capitalist) after WWII. The Soviets and China supported the North. US helped the South. War was never declared, but the conflict was very costly, both monetarily and with human lives.

Vietnam was a small coutry everyone was afraid of. The US invaded the country because they were afraid they were going to do what Hitler had done in Germany.

Truman’s Foreign Policy

May is always the month when A-level classes shift focus to revision in preparation of the exams. After picking up the module The American Dream (American history in the period 1945-1980) for the second year’s teaching I was faced with delving into the domestic and economic policies of various presidents something that I have not fully enjoyed. However, the one area where I get much more satisfaction is with foreign policy, which links to the History foundation degree module The Reluctant Handover. I enjoy the themes and the over-arching political concepts and fears, such as that of the Cold War and what this meant for the relationships of the countries of the world.

So, one of my first directed revision sessions on the module focussed on foreign policy, starting with Harry S. Truman’s time in the hot-seat from 1945 to 1952. It makes sense to start at the beginning due to Truman’s high influence in establishing the tone of foreign policy throughout the post-war period until the fall of communism in Russia. Therefore, how about a whistle-stop tour through some of the key concepts and precedents established in the 1940s.

Truman’s character is of interest: he has been called a ‘plain speaking Southerner’, and is a rarity amongst presidents in that he came to occupy the main seat in the White House after the death of a president. Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) had won an impressive and unprecedented four election victories (the limit on two terms was officially imposed after the war), however, his health was in decline. Roosevelt was the vital cog in the maintenance of the war-time alliance with the USSR and Britain, and after his death Truman took a tougher line on the Communists. This led to a distancing with Stalin and a greater reliance on the advice of Churchill (ever the anti-Communist) and Dean Acheson. The thinking changed from the need to preserve the alliance to win the war to become more focussed on how to achieve balance of power in the aftermath of peace.

Potsdam Conference: Attlee, Truman, Stalin

The 1945 conferences (Yalta in February and Potsdam in July-August) show this change of direction. Although positive goals had been established in these meetings (notably the creation of the United Nations) by Potsdam Truman was aware that the new atomic bomb had been tested and was ready for use against Japan (the last remaining enemy after the fall of Germany). The use of two of atomic bombs against Japan has been a hot topic of historical debate: were they dropped in order to speed up the conclusion of the war and to avoid the possible deaths of hundreds of thousands of American troops, or was it dropped as a show of strength to Stalin and the Communists? The bombs did lead to Japan’s surrender and the end of the world war, but clear friction had been established between the two remaining superpowers.

This growing mistrust can be clearly evidenced in the second half of the 1940s. George Kennan’s ‘Long Telegram’ of February 1945 stated that the USSR was ‘highly sensitive to the logic force’, therefore suggesting a stronger line against Stalin. This was followed with Churchill’s famous speech in 1946 when he outlined the danger of the ‘Iron Curtain’ forming in Europe. Stalin’s involvement in post-war Greece provided the official stimulus for Truman to become more active in contesting the spread of communism in March 1947 he obtained $400 million in military and economic assistance for Greece and Turkey to push back Stalin’s gaze. This led to the establishment of the Truman Doctrine: a cornerstone of American policy was to ‘support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.’ American strategists became convinced by the notion of the Domino Theory: if one country fell, then all others could come tumbling down. Cynics might view this as the continuation of former doctrines (Monroe’s of 1823 and the later Roosevelt Corollary) with the ever arching theme being the growth of American power and influence. Whatever our interpretation, Truman’s steps established the narrative of the Cold War in the post-war period: America would step in to thwart communist expansion.

The Domino Theory

In this light, we can understand the meaning behind National Security Council Report 68 (issued in 1950) a top secret document that suggested an increase in defence spending from $13 billion a year to $50 billion. It also helps us understand the motives behind the Marshall Plan when billions were pumped into Europe to help rebuild the war-torn economies and societies. Clearly Truman and the Americans decided that the best way to prevent communist spread was to stabilise the western democracies and the capitalist structures. With Czechoslovakia already lost to Stalin’s orbit (in 1948), Truman was able to bring the rest of western Europe into America’s sphere of influence. This economic protection was coupled with a military protection: the establishment of NATO meant that any threat against a member state would mean the involvement of American force.

The Cold War developed and during Truman’s presidency there were two contested zones: Europe (centring on Germany) and Asia. The war-time conferences had established that Germany was to divided into four zones, to be divided to the four bigger powers (USA ,USSR, Britain, and France). However, the western democracies began pooling their resources together to create Bizonia and the Trizonia the creation of a new currency – the Deutchsmark – was seen as a threatening move by Stalin. Essentially, Germany was now split into a two-way divide: West Germany (capitalist and democratic) and East Germany (communist and under USSR’s direction). The whole picture was further muddled with Berlin: like the whole of Germany, it too had been divided into four zones, later forming into two blocks. Stalin decided to strangle western Berlin in order to absorb it this took the form of a blockading the city to prevent any supplies reaching the western half by land. Truman had a decision to make at this point, and his proactive approach ended up saving Berlin: he ordered a continuous airlift into the city over 324 days in which 2.5 million people were serviced with 1.5 million tons of supplies over 275,000 flights. It was a test of brinksmanship: if Stalin responded by attacking the planes he risked starting a brand new war. Ultimately, Stalin ended the blockade and the Americans won a valuable victory, thereby entrenching the Truman Doctrine. However, this gamble and test of brinksmanship was followed by later presidents even though Kennedy himself enjoyed a victory in 1962, many historians question just how close the world came to nuclear war.

Berlin Blockade: 1949

The Asian picture created further complex for Truman. The occupation of Japan (1945-52) helped transform the country from enemy to key ally. Similar to Europe, money and expertise was pumped into Japan to help rebuild it and tie it into America’s economic sphere of influence. Its importance grew after the revolution in China which confirmed a new communist state America would need a firm Asian ally to help prevent further spread of communism. Elsewhere, Truman ordered money to be pumped into Indo-China to help maintain a French presence this would later prove disastrous when the French left the region leaving America to pick up the pieces. The escalation of American troops in the form of the Vietnam War would be one of America’s devastating legacies of the Cold War.

Truman’s presidency was later dominated by the Korean War: in 1950 the communist North Koreans invaded the South. A United Nations mandate brought forth American troops to help push back the invaders, all before both North and South re-agreed on a clear line by 1953. In many ways, this war was a success for Truman: it highlighted the strength of the Truman Doctrine, and the president prevented further escalation by removing MacArthur after hearing his suggestion of using atomic bombs in the region. However, the war was costly: by 1953 there were 138,000 American dead or injured, all of which hit Truman’s approval rating.

All in all, Truman experienced clear successes: he established a balance of power in Europe, prevented communist spread in key regions, and helped create key post-war institutions (the United Nations, NATO, and the Marshall Plan). However, his presidency also established later problems: he set the tone for an aggressive foreign policy, as well as for the American presence in Vietnam. It would not be until Nixon when an American president would establish a more harmonious relationship with both the USSR and China. But, on the whole, his presidency must be congratulated for steadying the ship with FDR’s death and for establishing the basis of American superiority in the post-war period.

Truman Doctrine (1947)

On March 12, 1947, President Harry S. Truman presented this address before a joint session of Congress. His message, known as the Truman Doctrine, asked Congress for $400 million in military and economic assistance for Turkey and Greece.

On Friday, February 21, 1947, the British Embassy informed the U.S. State Department officials that Great Britain could no longer provide financial aid to the governments of Greece and Turkey. American policymakers had been monitoring Greece's crumbling economic and political conditions, especially the rise of the Communist-led insurgency known as the National Liberation Front, or the EAM/ELAS. The United States had also been following events in Turkey, where a weak government faced Soviet pressure to share control of the strategic Dardanelle Straits. When Britain announced that it would withdraw aid to Greece and Turkey, the responsibility was passed on to the United States.

In a meeting between Congressmen and State Department officials, Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson articulated what would later become known as the domino theory. He stated that more was at stake than Greece and Turkey, for if those two key states should fall, communism would likely spread south to Iran and as far east as India. Acheson concluded that not since the days of Rome and Carthage had such a polarization of power existed. The stunned legislators agreed to endorse the program on the condition that President Truman stress the severity of the crisis in an address to Congress and in a radio broadcast to the American people.

Addressing a joint session of Congress on March 12, 1947, President Harry S. Truman asked for $400 million in military and economic assistance for Greece and Turkey and established a doctrine, aptly characterized as the Truman Doctrine, that would guide U.S. diplomacy for the next 40 years. President Truman declared, "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 sanction of aid to Greece and Turkey by a Republican Congress indicated the beginning of a long and enduring bipartisan cold war foreign policy.

For more information, visit the The Truman Doctrine Study Collection at the National Archives’ Truman Presidential Museum and Library.

Using the Cold War: The Truman Administration’s Response to the Bolivian National Revolution

In light of Evo Morales’ May Day expulsion of USAID from Bolivia, here is a look back to the Harry Truman administration’s work to undermine Bolivia’s transformative National Revolution in 1952. This history’s legacy lives on Washington’s power is woven into the fabric of Bolivian politics, from the dreams and nightmares of the National Revolution, into the MAS era of today.

Author’s note: At a May Day speech this month, Bolivian President Evo Morales announced that his government would be expelling the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) out of the country for seeking to undermine the leftist policies and agenda of the Morales government. As I wrote in an investigative article on this topic in 2008 for The Progressive Magazine, the US government has for years been attempting to oppose the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), the political party of Morales, and weaken Bolivia’s leftist social movements.

Washington is no stranger to interfering in leftist and nationalist politics in the Andean nation. As the following paper, originally published in the University of Vermont History Review in 2012, outlines, the Harry Truman administration worked against the progressive policies, self-determination and grassroots base of Bolivia’s transformative National Revolution in 1952. This history’s legacy lives on Washington’s power is woven into the fabric of Bolivian politics, from the dreams and nightmares of the National Revolution, into the MAS era of today.

At the beginning of the Cold War, Bolivian miners and peasants took to the streets in what would become one of the most transformative and symbolically-rich political events of the twentieth century for the Andean nation. Bolivia’s National Revolution in 1952 initiated shockwaves that are still felt among the country’s impoverished and indigenous majority. From land reform and the nationalization of the tin mines, to expanding access to voting, education and healthcare, the changes and promises wrought by the National Revolution were historically unprecedented for Bolivia.

Public support for the National Revolution was fed by many Bolivians’ dissatisfaction with working conditions in the fields and mines of the nation and the country’s widespread social and economic inequalities. A testimony from Bolivian miner Domitila Barrios de Chungara conveys the perception of injustice that was common among Bolivian workers at the time of the revolution: “Why should we allow a few to benefit from all of Bolivia’s resources while we go on forever working like animals, without having higher aspirations, without being able to provide a better future for our children? Why shouldn’t we aspire to better things when our country is rich thanks to our sacrifice?”[1] Barrios de Chungara’s complaints illustrate the rage felt by many poor Bolivians, a rage which gave expression to the demands of the revolution. Yet, in the months and years following the uprising, many of the National Revolution’s promises remained unrealized. A string of military dictatorships, corrupt presidents, racism and vast inequality in the country contributed to these challenges. But a look at Washington’s response to the revolution in 1952 points to some other roadblocks to development and social change.

This essay explores the ways in which President Harry Truman’s administration undermined the historic nationalist changes that took place during the National Revolution in Bolivia. In the US fight against communism in the Cold War, the decisions of leading Truman administration foreign policy officials working on Latin America were consistently informed by US commercial interests. Such US policy fought against nations who challenged those commercial interests in their own countries by way of the state-led expropriation of private businesses, industry and land. Diplomatic cable exchanges between government officials and diplomats in Washington and La Paz detail how the Truman administration worked against the self-determination of Bolivia’s National Revolution. Of specific interest here is the extent to which the Truman administration, following Bolivia’s nationalization of tin mines, pressured Bolivian officials into reimbursing the private businessmen who were the former owners of the government-expropriated mines, a move that was against the popular sentiment of the grassroots base of the Bolivian revolutionary government.

Considering the roots of the Truman administration’s foreign policy in the wake of World War II, and the development of the Truman Doctrine, the administration’s response to the National Revolution took place at an important juncture in US-Latin American relations. In the years following Bolivia’s revolution, Washington notoriously helped orchestrate bloody coups against leaders with nationalist leanings elsewhere in the region. The way in which Washington dealt with this earlier threat to US hegemony in the Andes sheds important light on the machinations of US foreign policy in Latin America in the early Cold War.

Good Neighbors and Tin

Coming out of the commercial, economic and political disruption of the Great Depression and World War II, Washington sought to mend crises and prevent further decay in relations with Latin America through the Good Neighbor Policy, which essentially served as an “international counterpart of the New Deal.”[2] The Good Neighbor Policy was aimed at developing a more reciprocal trade relationship with Latin America, a departure, at least rhetorically, from the more interventionist policies of many previous US administrations. While directed toward developing more equal economic and political partnerships between Washington and the governments and people of Latin America, the Good Neighbor Policy was also aimed at expanding US influence, commercial presence and political power in the region. US President Herbert Hoover, elected in 1928, was considered one of the fathers of the Good Neighbor Policy in his plan to not view Latin America simply as a little brother. President Franklin Roosevelt expanded these neighborly policies toward Latin America, focusing on pro-trade approaches and a non-interventionist stance, which also involved cutting back on military spending due to the financial constraints imposed by the Great Depression.[3]

The Good Neighbor Policy was a shift away from the more explicitly interventionist Roosevelt Corollary, which was established in 1904 by President Theodore Roosevelt and served as an expansion of the Monroe Doctrine. The Roosevelt Corollary basically claimed that the US had the right to intervene militarily in Latin America in order to protect US commercial interests in the region, and to stabilize economies and penalize nations if they did not pay back debt to the US. The Corollary was based on the belief that if the US did not establish a strong presence in the region through intervention, then European powers would encroach on Latin America.[4]

When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor took place on December 7, 1941, Latin American countries rallied to resist Axis incursions into the region and supported the US in World War II, in part by breaking relations with Axis nations. The solidarity with the US on the part of many Latin American nations was due in part to a fear and disdain for the Axis Powers as well as an expectation that by supporting the US, they would receive helpful financial aid from Washington.

Latin America was a war-free zone in World War II, providing much in the realm of natural resources to the US.[5] Each year, from the 1920s and into the 1940s, the US used 160 billion tin cans and 75,000 tons of tin metal. This was roughly 45 percent of the entire global use per year. During World War II, Bolivia provided most of the tin for the US from 1940 to the early 1950s, the US purchased nearly half of all of Bolivia’s tin ore.[6] This tin trade was the most important aspect of US-Bolivian relations throughout the war, and would continue to be a key concern during the National Revolution in Bolivia.

Truman entered office in 1945, with Dean Acheson acting as Secretary of State from 1949 to 1953. This dynamic partnership created a foreign policy legacy that continued to influence US politics for the rest of the century. During the Truman years, the US established itself as a dominant ally in Europe with the Marshall Plan. The Soviet Union posed a threat to US economic and political interests, and Truman responded to this in March 1947 by developing the Truman Doctrine, which established Washington’s objective in the post-World War II era of using political and financial support to contain the Soviet Union to prevent its further expansion. Bolivia’s National Revolution in 1952 provides an interesting case study for measuring the impact of the Truman Doctrine in its early days.

The timing of the revolution was also significant in that it took place following the signing of the Rio Military Pact in September of 1947 between the US and Latin American nations. The pact involved collaborations in defense of the region, establishing that any nation would come to the defense of another in the case of a foreign intervention. Following the precedent set by the Truman Doctrine, Washington’s initial goal with its participation in this agreement was to curb the influence of communism and the Soviet Union in the region. Later, in April 1948, the Organization of American States was also established initially to protect the region from communism.

The Cold War and US containment policy quickly pushed aside the more “neighborly” language and approaches of the Good Neighbor Policy as fears of Soviet Russia and communist expansion in the region took center stage. Yet perhaps more notable than the Truman administration’s concern for the spread of communism in Latin America was its general ignorance and lack of concern toward Latin America. A brief look at leading political and diplomatic officials connected to the administration illustrates this view.

The View from Washington

On February 18, 1950, George Kennan, a senior Foreign Service officer and State Department counselor, boarded a train in Washington, DC that was bound for Mexico City. Kennan was a Cold War expert on Russia whose reports from the Soviet Union helped form the US containment policy toward communism. Yet he knew next to nothing about Latin America. The US State Department sent him on this trip to assess the threat of communism in the region and how to deal with it.[7]

The trip took Kennan to major cities in Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Peru. “I found the journey anything but pleasant,” he later wrote. Indeed, the 10,000 word memorandum to Dean Acheson painted a grim picture of the region. In his report, he essentially said that Latin American nations had to be pressured into following US wishes, either through coercion or intervention, because they were too weak on their own to resist communism. While these views were more typical of the stance of Washington within the framework of the Roosevelt Corollary, rather than the Good Neighbor Policy, they offered some insight into the views of the region from the perspective of the Truman administration at the time, in part because of Kennan’s influential role in shaping US policy toward Latin America in the Truman years. Kennan’s racist 1950 report following his travels in Latin America incredibly pointed to “nature and human behavior” as key obstacles to progress in the region. Kennan said that “extensive intermarriage” between people of Spanish, indigenous and African ethnicity was an impediment to development that was written in “human blood.”[8]

How this played out on the ground was a clear clash between what the Truman administration and others said the Cold War was all about. As historian Gaddis Smith explains, “The public rhetoric of American foreign policy, enshrined in the Truman Doctrine and innumerable other declarations, proclaimed that democracy, freedom, the rights of the individual were the answer to Communism. But in Latin America Kennan saw a political culture too weak and selfish to support a democracy strong enough to resist the superior determination and skill of the Communist enemy.”[9]

Kennan’s views were reflective of general perceptions and ignorance toward Latin America in Washington at the time. Truman, for his part, said Latin Americans were simply “very emotional” and hard to work with.[10] And in Acheson’s own almost 800 page memoir the only opinion he shares about Latin America was that the region’s challenges were caused by a lack of “population control,” “primitive politics, massive ignorance” and “archaic” societies.[11] Acheson himself admitted in 1950 that he was “rather vague” regarding Latin America, and unclear about whether Latin Americans were “richer or poorer, going Communist, Fascist or what.”[12]

Condescension was typical of the Truman White House toward Latin America during the early Cold War. Leaders in Washington could afford that condescension because they were extremely powerful in the region, expected obedience from most Latin American governments, and were generally unafraid of actual Soviet interference. “They were far more concerned about nationalism, especially its economic variety, and the threat this posed to private U.S. investments,” writes US foreign relations historian Robert Beisner.[13]

The Truman administration’s work in Latin America represented an important juncture in US-Latin American relations. Not only did Truman’s time in office coincide with the years immediately following World War II, but it also represented a shift away from the Good Neighbor Policy and to the Cold War interventionism that came to define the approach of subsequent administrations toward Latin America. For example, in 1954 the socialist president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, was overthrown in a US-backed coup largely organized by the CIA under President Dwight Eisenhower. This was in response to a direct threat against US business interests in that Arbenz had expropriated land used by the United Fruit Company, a US-based company. The case of the Bolivian National Revolution, therefore, is unique in that Bolivia nationalized its tin mines, affecting US investors, but the US continued working with the country, pressuring it diplomatically and commercially rather than seeking to overthrow the revolutionary government. How Truman worked with Bolivia in the National Revolution says much about US policy in the early Cold War.[14]

The events in Bolivia were dramatic and unparalleled in the country’s history. For Washington, it posed a challenge and opportunity to test the Truman Doctrine and continue the purchase of tin from the impoverished country. Though the revolution later transformed into a dictatorship, it began hopefully with a broad participation of society overthrowing a military ruler, and establishing long sought after rights for the impoverished indigenous majority.

“There Will Be a Lot of Bread”

The National Revolutionary Movement (MNR) party grew out of the camaraderie that was established between soldiers in the trenches of the 1930s Chaco War, a bloody fight with Paraguay over land and access to oil. In its early days, the MNR was led by a multi-class coalition of veterans of the war who allied with radical students. In the months leading up the 1952 National Revolution, the MNR also drew from the vital support of miners, workers and farmers, many of whom joined the party out of impatience with Bolivia’s traditional political parties they saw in the MNR a more inclusive and progressive set of platforms and political beliefs.

In 1951, the party ran Victor Paz Estenssoro as a presidential candidate. He won a resounding victory at the ballot box, but the military would not allow him to take power they put military General Hugo Ballivian in Estenssoro’s rightful place. After the legitimate victors were barred from entering office, the MNR decided that their only option would be armed revolution against Ballivian and his faithful supporters in the government and army.[15] Washington at the time was keeping a watchful eye on Bolivia, monitoring developments from afar. In the lead up to the revolution, they simply waited to see how things would turn out before taking a stance on either Ballivian or the MNR’s claims to power.

On April 10, 1952, Ballivian called for the lights to be put out in La Paz in order to impede the advance of the MNR rebels as they descended into La Paz from the neighboring city of El Alto. Yet a full moon lit the way, providing the rebels with guidance in their march down the steep hills from El Alto into the capital city. Many of the MNR rebels were members of the working class neighborhoods in El Alto, and so knew the terrain very well. They effectively cut off Ballivian’s forces by blocking key routes on the outskirts of the city. Conflicts flared up in the night, leaving wounded and dead on both sides. But news of the MNR rebels’ victory spread throughout countryside, inspiring similar uprisings across the nation. Three days later, with over 600 dead from the battles, the MNR was victorious over the Ballivian regime and took power.[16]

Estenssoro flew into the El Alto airport from exile in Argentina on April 15, 1952. When he entered La Paz he was met by a crowd of 7,000 people waving signs that read “Nationalization of the mines,” “Agrarian Reform,” and “Welcome, father of the poor.” The crowd was so massive that it took Estenssoro a full thirty minutes to arrive at the presidential palace half a block away. He greeted the crowd in Aymara, the indigenous language most members of the crowd spoke: “Jacca t’anta uthjani,” he said—“There will be a lot of bread.”[17]

Just three days after Estenssoro took office, the Bolivian Workers’ Center (COB) pressured the new president to nationalize the country’s tin mines, expropriating the industry and natural wealth without paying the private owners of the mines. The COB also demanded that the MNR government redistribute land to poor farmers, grant citizens universal suffrage, and formalize the armed worker and campesino militias as a replacement for the military. Such demands coming from the COB and other worker and farmer movements pushed the MNR to turn the radical changes they promised on the campaign trail into a reality.[18]

On July 21, 1952, the government granted the right to vote to all Bolivians over the age of 21, bringing 80 percent of the formerly marginalized indigenous population into the electorate. Further rights were gained through grassroots pressure on powerful institutions. Campesinos and rural workers’ unions, using their weapons from the revolution, applied their own systems of justice through militias, took over land, reorganized systems of production and often superseded the power of local political authorities.

As a result of the pressure from labor organizations and miners, the MNR signed a decree that nationalized the country’s tin mines on October 31, 1952. An enormous crowd of miners gathered to celebrate the signing with cheers, dynamite explosions and gunshots into the air. The festivities went on for days. The worker-run Bolivian Mining Corporation took over the operation of 163 mines and 29,000 workers formerly controlled by the three Bolivian “tin baron” families: the Patiños, Hochschilds and Aramayos. In spite of the COB’s demands not to pay the owners a cent, the Bolivian government ended up paying these families a total of $27 million to buy back Bolivia’s underground wealth.[19]

Poor, armed campesinos in various parts of the country also occupied land and pressured the government to break up large land holdings and expropriate and redistribute the land. In August of 1953, the MNR passed the Agrarian Reform Law to appease protesting grassroots organizations, but a difference remained between the rhetoric of the MNR’s policies and the actual change on the ground on a national level, the land reform only affected 28.5 percent of large landowners.[20] In the US, there was alarm regarding the revolution in Bolivia, but the State Department was mostly concerned about the nationalization of the tin mines as it affected US businesses.

Moderating the Revolution

From the very beginning of the revolution in April 1952, the Truman administration was opposed to the MNR government’s plan to nationalize the tin mines. In a memorandum from Secretary of State Acheson to President Truman on May 22, Acheson argued for the US to recognize the MNR government. Acheson believed this recognition would help the moderates in power of the MNR maintain their legitimacy against more radical sectors of the government, particularly the Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Juan Lechín, a popular union organizer who was advocating vociferously for the nationalization of the tin mines. The US ended up recognizing Bolivia, but only as part of a power play to draw moderates in the government closer to US interests, leading them away from more radical voices such as that of Lechín.[21]

In subsequent correspondences both Acheson and Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs Edward Miller were primarily concerned about nationalization, how that would affect US investors in the country, and how it would be a dangerous example of nationalist policies to others in the region. On September 8, Acheson wrote to the US Ambassador in La Paz to tell the Bolivian government that the US would not purchase tin from Bolivia if the country nationalized its tin industry.[22] This case of blackmail from the US State Department against the sovereignty of the Bolivian people demonstrates that the Truman administration was more interested in protecting US commercial and security interests than respecting the rights of Bolivia to develop its own economy in a nationalist direction.

Finally, when Bolivia did nationalize its tin industry on October 31, 1952, the US State Department responded with strong recommendations that Bolivia pay back the major tin companies, including US investors. This went entirely against the will and demands of much of the organized labor in Bolivia and the indigenous and peasant population that formed that backbone of the popular support for the MNR. In the view of this significant sector, the three main mining companies had been enriching themselves through the enslavement of Bolivian people in the tin mines for decades, and that therefore the tin barons should not be compensated for their cruelty. None the less, the US demanded that the Bolivian government compensate the tin barons of the mining industry a total of $27 million, a huge sum for the impoverished government.[23]

The National Revolution in Bolivia was met with pressure from Washington, and the “reluctant revolutionaries” of the MNR responded by compensating owners of the nationalized tin mines, an approach that was unpopular among tin miners and the grassroots base of the MNR, but pleased Washington. Shortly following the compensation plan, “US officials announced that the United States was doubling its purchases of Bolivian tin and that Bolivia would begin receiving food exports.” Over the next decade, into the 1960s, the Bolivian government received a third of its funding from US aid, totaling $100 billion, a higher amount than any other country in the region received at the time. In exchange, the Bolivian government had to follow Washington’s commands.[24]

The US government used its clout as a major purchaser of tin and provider of financial aid to the poor nation to pressure the MNR government into a more moderate approach in its policies toward the tin industry. In this way, Washington was able to maintain its supply of cheap tin as well as its hegemony over the country’s politics. The Truman administration thus paved the way toward a form of intervention that was not based on covert operations or a military coup – as was the case with President Arbenz in Guatemala just two years later. Instead, Washington was able to achieve US objectives in the country through diplomatic pressure to uphold US commercial interests.

In the US-dominated Latin America in the early Cold War, the odds were against nationalism in Bolivia from the beginning. As historian Stephen Zunes writes, “The decision to expropriate, rather than confiscate, the mines—despite immense pressure from the miners and other Bolivians for the latter option—was directly related to concerns by the MNR that they had to acknowledge that at least some form of compensation was necessary, otherwise they feared that the United States would label them communist and deny them foreign aid.”[25]

As tin was the main export for Bolivia, and the US was the biggest buyer of the tin, Bolivia was beholden to the US, and Washington used this dependency adeptly. Willard Thorp, the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, told Acheson early on in the tin negotiations with Bolivia, that the US would get what it wanted in the end: “We will almost certainly get the Bolivian tin eventually. They have no other place to sell it.”[26]

When Domitila Barrios de Chungara was a young girl in a family of tin miners, her father, a union organizer in Bolivia’s National Revolution, told her a story about the millions of dollars the MNR government paid to the tin mine owners. In telling the story, he used the metaphor of a doll. “Suppose that I bought you a beautiful doll or one of those puppets that can walk and talk,” he said. Then the doll is stolen by a man who exploits it in back-breaking labor. “But one day, after so much fighting, you grab [the man] and hit him hard and take the doll away from him.” After so much work, the doll is dirty, broken and weak. “[S]hould you pay him for the way the doll has aged? Don’t you see you shouldn’t? It’s the same with the ‘tin barons’ who’ve gotten rich with our mine.”[27]

The National Revolution had the momentum to place power in the hands of Bolivia’s poor majority. However, according to Barrios de Chungara, the “new bourgeoisie” in power started “undoing the revolution” in spite of the fact that the revolution was made by the working poor. “Everything’s been betrayed because we left the power in the hands of greedy people,” she said, explaining that in the end, most of the MNR’s policies just enriched a new group of elites.[28]

She saw the MNR leaders as playing a key role in the ultimate failure of the revolution, and believed the solution would involve electing a working class president who understood the plight of the people. Barrios de Chungara explained, “Because only those who know what it’s like to dig into a rock, only those who know what it’s like to work every day and earn your bread with the sweat of your brow, are going to be able to make laws that control and watch out for the happiness of the great majority, the exploited people.”[29]

The MNR leadership’s distance from the rank and file of their party contributed to the unfulfilled promises of the National Revolution. Yet Washington limited the revolution’s transformative capacity as well. The Truman administration’s role in pushing the MNR away from full expropriation of the mines demonstrated a Cold War tactic of putting US commercial interests above the rights to national sovereignty in Latin America. Certainly, the Cold War did involve economic and political battles against the Soviet Union and its allies across the globe. Yet in Latin America, the Cold War was often used by Washington as simply an excuse to squash nationalism, movements against US imperialism, and governments that were seeking a more independent and defensive route within the arena of a global market increasingly dominated by the US.

The case of Washington’s pressure on the National Revolution in Bolivia is illustrative of this dynamic. Just two years later, the Eisenhower administration overthrew the Arbenz government. In 1973, the US backed a military coup against democratically elected socialist president Salvador Allende in Chile, leading to a bloodbath orchestrated by the dictator Augusto Pinochet. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the US propped up repressive dictators in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. When the socialist Sandinistas took power in Nicaragua in 1979, the US began a covert military operation against this government that lasted throughout the 1980s. These are the tragedies that came to define the Cold War in Latin America. This conflict that was ostensibly against the Soviet Union and communism was fought out in part in the streets and government palaces of Latin America. The US pressure against Bolivia in 1952 was but an early sign of this development.

Benjamin Dangl is the author of The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia (AK Press) and Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America (AK Press). Dangl is the editor of, a progressive perspective on world events, and, covering activism and politics in Latin America. He is currently a doctoral student in Latin American history at McGill University.

[1] Domitila Barrios de Chungara, Let Me Speak!: Testimony of Domitila, A Woman of the Bolivian Mines (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1978), 51.

[2] Mark T. Gilderhus, The Second Century: U.S.-Latin American Relations Since 1889 (Lanham: SR Books, 1999), 71.

[3] For more information see Graham Stuart, “The Results of the Good Neighbor Policy in Latin America,” World Affairs vol. 102, no. 3 (1939): 166–70.

[4] For more information, see John M. Mathews, “Roosevelt’s Latin-American Policy,” The American Political Science Review vol. 29, no. 5 (1935): 805–20.

[5] Gilderhus, Second Century, 91, 98. Also see G. J. Dorn, “Pushing Tin: U.S.-Bolivian Relations and the Coming of the National Revolution,” Diplomatic History vol. 35, no. 2 (2011): 203–28.

[6] Kenneth D. Lehman, Bolivia and the United States: A Limited Partnership (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1999), 62, 75.

[7] R. R. Trask, “George F. Kennan’s Report on Latin America,” Diplomatic History vol. 2, no. 3 (1978): 307–12.

[8] “The American Republics: Views Within the Department of State Regarding United States Policy Toward The American Republics as a Group,” 4 January 1950, Miller Files, Lot 53 D 26, in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950: The United Nations The Western Hemisphere, vol. II (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1976), 589–690.

[9] Gaddis Smith, The Last Years of the Monroe Doctrine, 19451993 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1995), 70.

[11] Robert L. Beisner, Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 569.

[12] Gilderhus, Second Century, 134.

[14] For more on US relations with Latin America during the Cold War, see Arne Odd Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 143–52.

[15] Herbert S. Klein, A Concise History of Bolivia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 206–08.

[16] James Dunkerley, Rebelión en las Venas: La Lucha Política en Bolivia, 1952–1982 (La Paz: Plural, 2003), 67–69.

[18] Pablo Solón, La Otra Cara de la Historia (La Paz: Fundación Solón, 1999),

[19] Benjamin Kohl and Linda C. Farthing, Impasse in Bolivia: Neoliberal Hegemony and Popular Resistance (London: Zed Books, 2006), 64.

[20] Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Oprimidos Pero no Vencidos: luchas del campesinado aymara y quechua 1900–1980 (La Paz: HISBOL—CSUTCB, 1984), 122–23 Dunkerley, Rebelión en las Venas, 104–6.

[21] Memorandum by the Secretary of the State to the President, 22 May 1952, 611.24/5–2752, in Foreign Relations of the United States: The American Republics, 1952–1954, vol. IV (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1983), (hereafter cited as FRUS), 490.

[22] The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Bolivia, 8 September 1952, 824.2544/9–852:Telegram, in FRUS, 502.

[23] The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Bolivia, 23 December 1952, 824.2544/12–2352:Telegram, in FRUS, 516–22.

[24] Lester Langley, America and the Americas: The United States in the Western Hemisphere (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2010), 182–83.

[25] Stephen Zunes, “The United States and Bolivia: The Taming of a Revolution, 1952–1957,” Latin American Perspectives vol. 28, no. 5 (2001): 33–49.

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