In another speech delivered by President Truman, he explained the need to provide economic help to some countries following World War II. After making his speech, his idea for extending this aid became known as the "Truman Doctrine." The doctrine promised to provide money and materials to nations of the world in need of rebuilding after the war. The Truman Doctrine also supported nations that were in danger of becoming communist or under the influence of the Soviet Union. The two countries addressed in this 1947 speech are Greece and Turkey.
At times during the speech, President Truman uses specific language and vocabulary to announce the purposes of his actions and includes some facts while leaving others out.
Read the entire Truman Doctrine on Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebookopens in new window website.
Now let’s take a look at portions of that speech. Look for the kind of language Truman uses to describe the United States, its enemies and allies.
The Truman Doctrine, 1947
At the end of this portion of the speech, Truman describes Greece as an "industrious and peace loving nation."
"Greece is not a rich country. Lack of sufficient natural resources has always forced the Greek people to work hard…Since 1940, this industrious and peace loving country has suffered invasion, four years of cruel enemy occupation, and bitter internal strife."
Why did he use this language to describe Greece? What was his purpose?
After describing Greece as a nation in need, Truman uses other language to identify the enemies of the United States, and how the United States is working with the United Nations to help Greece.
How does Truman carefully convey his point of view?
"The very existence of the Greek state is today threatened by the terrorist activities of several thousand armed men, led by Communists, who defy the government's authority…A Commission appointed by the United Nations security Council is at present investigating disturbed conditions in northern Greece and alleged border violations…"
Truman must also find a way to explain that the United States is providing military support to Greece. This is a delicate topic since many U.S. citizens do not want to get involved in another military conflict or war so soon after World War II.
"Meanwhile, the Greek Government is unable to cope with the situation. The Greek army is small and poorly equipped. It needs supplies and equipment if it is to restore the authority of the government throughout Greek territory. Greece must have assistance if it is to become a self-supporting and self-respecting democracy."
Describe how Truman uses language to directly appeal to the intended audience.
In summary, how do these passages help us understand Truman’s purpose and point of view in his speech, the "Truman Doctrine"?