George Kennan, the “Father of Containment”

George Kennan

George Kennan was  a huge political figure during the Cold War, known best for his belief that the Soviet Union had to be contained. His writings, such as the Long Telegram, show that his principal concerns were that the Russians were determined to expand their regime, and were convinced that socialist  and capitalist societies could not coexist. He wanted to both contain the USSR and reinforce Western institutions so that the Soviet Union would not pose a threat to America. He inspired the Truman Doctrine, in which America gave military and financial aid to Turkey and Greece, countries which were in danger of being swallowed into the Soviet Union. He also inspired the Marshall Plan, which gave aid to weakened European countries.

Had it not been for George Kennan, the attitudes towards the Soviet Union during the Cold War may have been very different. Policies like the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan may never have come into existence. For all we know, the Union may have only gotten larger and more powerful over time and could have potentially been a threat to the U.S. Their influence might have grown, causing Communism to develop in other European and Asian countries. I’m not sure how much my life would have changed personally; however, America may have had different allies, enemies, business partners, and a completely different standing in the world had the USSR succeeded in spreading Communism and expanding its empire.

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