HOME
        TheInfoList






Containment is a geopolitical strategic foreign policy pursued by the United States. It is loosely related to the term cordon sanitaire which was later used to describe the geopolitical containment of the Soviet Union in the 1940s. The strategy of "containment" is best known as a Cold War foreign policy of the United States and its allies to prevent the spread of communism after the end of World War II.

As a component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to the Soviet Union's move to increase communist influence in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Containment represented a middle-ground position between detente (relaxation of relations) and rollback (actively replacing a regime). The basis of the doctrine was articulated in a 1946 cable by U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan during the post-WWII term of U.S. President Harry S. Truman. As a description of U.S. foreign policy, the word originated in a report Kennan submitted to U.S. Defense Secretary James Forrestal in 1947, which was later used in a magazine article.

Between 1873 and 1877, Germany repeatedly intervened in the internal affairs of France's neighbors. In Belgium, Spain, and Italy, Bismarck exerted strong and sustained political pressure to support the election or appointment of liberal, anticlerical governments. That was part of an integrated strategy to promote republicanism in France by strategically and ideologically isolating the clerical-monarchist regime of President Patrice de Mac-Mahon. It was hoped that by surrounding France with a number of liberal states, French republicans could defeat MacMahon and his reactionary supporters. The modern concept of containment provides a useful model for understanding the dynamics of this policy.[2]

After the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, there were calls by Western leaders to isolate the Bolshevik government, which seemed intent on promoting worldwide revolution. In March 1919, French Premier Georges Clemenceau called for a cordon sanitaire, a ring of non-communist states, to isolate Soviet Russia. Translating that phrase, US President Woodrow Wilson called for a "quarantine."

The World War I Allies launched an incursion into Russia, ostensibly to create an eastern front against Germany. In reality, the policy was anti-Bolshevik as well, and its economic warfare took a major toll on all of Russia. By 1919, the intervention was entirely anti-communist, although the unpopularity of the assault led it to be gradually withdrawn. The US simultaneously engaged in covert action against the new Soviet government. While the campaigns were officially pro-democracy, they often supported the White Terror of former Tsarist generals like GM Semenov

The Federal government would surround the south with free states, free territories, and free waters, building what they called a 'cordon of freedom' around slavery, hemming it in until the system's own internal weaknesses forced the slave states one by one to abandon slavery.[1]

Between 1873 and 1877, Germany repeatedly intervened in the internal affairs of France's neighbors. In Belgium, Spain, and Italy, Bismarck exerted strong and sustained political pressure to support the election or appointment of liberal, anticlerical governments. That was part of an integrated strategy to promote republicanism in France by strategically and ideologically isolating the clerical-monarchist regime of President Patrice de Mac-Mahon. It was hoped that by surrounding France with a number of liberal states, French republicans could defeat MacMahon and his reactionary supporters. The modern concept of containment provides a useful model for understanding the dynamics of this policy.[2]

After the 1

After the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, there were calls by Western leaders to isolate the Bolshevik government, which seemed intent on promoting worldwide revolution. In March 1919, French Premier Georges Clemenceau called for a cordon sanitaire, a ring of non-communist states, to isolate Soviet Russia. Translating that phrase, US President Woodrow Wilson called for a "quarantine."

The World War I Allies launched an incursion into Russia, ostensibly to create an eastern front against Germany. In reality, the policy was anti-Bolshevik as well, and its economic warfare took a major toll on all of Russia. By 1919, the intervention was entirely anti-communist, although the unpopularity of the assault led it to be gradually withdrawn. The US simultaneously engaged in covert action against the new Soviet government. While the campaigns were officially pro-democracy, they often supported the White Terror of former Tsarist generals like GM Semenov and Alexander Kolchak.[3][4]

The U.S. initially refused to recognize the Soviet Union, but President Franklin D. Roosevelt reversed the policy in 1933 in the hope to expand American export markets.

The Munich Agreement of 1938 was a failed attempt to contain Nazi expansion in Europe. The U.S. tried to contain Japanese expansion in Asia in 1937 to 1941, and Japan reacted with its attack on Pearl Harbor.[5]

After Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 during World War II, the U.S. and the Soviet Union found themselves allied against Germany and used rollback to defeat the Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Key State Department personnel grew increasingly frustrated with and suspicious of the Soviets as the war drew to a close. Averell Harriman, U.S. Ambassador in Moscow, once a "confirmed optimist" regarding U.S.-Soviet relations,[6] was disillusioned by what he saw as the Soviet betrayal of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising as well as by violations of the February 1945 Yalta Agreement concerning Poland.[7] Harriman would later have a significant influence in forming Truman's views on the Soviet Union.[8]

In February 1946, the U.S. State Department asked George F. Kennan, then at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, why the Russians opposed the creation of the World Bank and the International Monetary F

In February 1946, the U.S. State Department asked George F. Kennan, then at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, why the Russians opposed the creation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He responded with a wide-ranging analysis of Russian policy now called the Long Telegram:[9]

Soviet power, unlike that of Hitlerite Germany, is neither schematic nor adventuristic. It does not work by fixed plans. It does not take unnecessary risks. Impervious to logic of reason, and it is highly sensitive to logic of force. For this reason it can easily withdraw—and usually does when strong resistance is encountered at any point.[10]

According to Kennan: