Harry Truman (1884-1972) was president of the United States from 1945 to 1953, during which time World War II was won and the Cold War began. In 1947, he set forth the Truman doctrine of the containment policy designed to halt Soviet expansion, and the following year he launched the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe in the wake of World War II. Truman’s 1949 inaugural address, also known as the Four Point Speech, offered a broad-ranging vision of American foreign policy in light of the threat the Soviet Union posed to freedom. Truman contrasted the principles of Communism and democracy, denouncing Communism as oppressive and violent. Truman declared, “We are ready to undertake new projects to strengthen a free world.” This program was based on four points: support of the United Nations, continued programs for world economic recovery, support to democratic states against Soviet aggression, and scientific advancement. Truman’s speech summed up the course of American foreign policy in the coming decades and encapsulated the American drive to ensure the spread of freedom and democracy around the globe.
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