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Terms in this set (44)

Absence of a common enemy: Only opposition to a common threat had suppressed conflict between the Soviet Union and the West. After defeat of the Axis powers, ideological and political differences reemerged dramatically.
Differing experiences of the war itself: The Soviet Union had suffered massive human and economic losses during the war and wanted to both punish Germany and protect its borders. The United States in contrast had not endured extended fighting on its shores and emerged from the conflict with new strength. These different perspectives added to conflict about how to approach the postwar world, especially in Eastern Europe and Germany.
Economic pressures: After the war, the United States perceived access to foreign markets and goods as crucial to forestalling an economic depression and continuing American economic expansion. The desire to have politically and economically sympathetic partners abroad added to competition and tension with the Soviet Union.
Containment and global politics: George F. Kennan's analysis of the Soviet threat gave rise to the policy of containment that attempted to restrain Soviet power by combating socialism and communism around the globe. He maintained that Soviets' insecurity at home led them to pursue aggressive, expansionist policies abroad, which made negotiations impossible. Using arms and dollars, the United States tried to cultivate friendly regimes and markets around the world. This approach, manifest in the Marshall Plan and later in the Point IV Program providing aid to newly liberated third world countries, confirmed and expanded conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Thumbnail of the conflict: After World War II and the ejection of the Japanese, the United States and the Soviet Union created two occupation zones separated by the thirty-eighth parallel. North of the line became Communist North Korea, and south of the line, anti-Communist South Korea. In June 1950, North Koreans made significant military incursions into the South. The United States led a UN-sponsored effort to repel the attack.
Korea as a case study in containment: The war ended in an armistice and the restoration of the old boundary. Although Truman judged the war a success for containment, it had exposed Americans' frustrations with the policy. Many had supported General MacArthur's desire to push beyond restoring the integrity of South Korea's border to facilitate the unification of Korea and the elimination of Communist influence on the peninsula.
Expansion of military spending: Following the Korean War, the National Security Council warned that the security of the United States depended on an enormous expansion of the nation's capacity to act as a military world power. Their proposal to expand the military met with approval, and by 1953, 60 percent of the federal budget went to defense spending, and the armed forces had tripled in size. This military expansion confirmed commitment to containment and expanded the resources for pursuing such policy.
Ambiguous legacy for American involvement in Asia: Although some, including MacArthur's successor, General Matthew Ridgway, took away the lesson that the United States should never again pursue a land war in Asia, the conflict contributed to American involvement in Indochina.