This will border dangerously close to a discussion rather than question/answer, but I would like to know whether there exists any consensus regarding the effects of the United States' policy of containing Communism post WW2.

How "strong" is communism today without this policy? Is this an open question with answers falling along ideological lines, or have we come to anything close to a consensus?

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    How strong is communism today? Today no communist state like USSR exists (You may say China is communist but that won't be a valid example) which may be seeking to promote Marxist views in other nations. So comparing the impact then and now is not correct. You should instead compare the situations before and after implementation of US policy of containing communist influence
    – NSNoob
    Feb 8, 2017 at 21:55
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    @Aegon: Well, there's Cuba. And currently Venezuela is run by wannabe Communists.
    – jamesqf
    Feb 9, 2017 at 0:45
  • @Aegon, If you want to show just the existence of a communist state then there are many. We have Laos, People's Republic Of China, Vietnam, North Korea and Cuba. There are many countries which have already had a communist ruling party like Nepal, Guyana and Moldova. Feb 9, 2017 at 5:33
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    @jamesqf yes but neither is like USSR, a humongous state with great resources. China fits that bill but Americans are already kind of involved in containing China even though they seem more focused on trade, the Chinese rather than spreading communism unlike USSR.
    – NSNoob
    Feb 9, 2017 at 6:24
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    @Mansha Mannan Ul Haque: China and Vietnam are de facto very capitalist these days - probably more so than the US - though they keep the "Communist" label for face-saving reasons. North Korea is in no way Communist: it's basically a theocracy worshipping its god-king. Don't know much about Laos these days, which really just leaves Cuba.
    – jamesqf
    Feb 9, 2017 at 7:05

1 Answer 1


There were a lot of doctrines released by the US to contain communism. One of which is the Truman's Doctrine.It aimed at stopping the geopolitical spread of communism in Turkey and Greece. Historian James Oakes explained containment as -

"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."

Also, policies like the Marshall plan were formulated to rebuild Europe after WW2 and to contain the spread of communism.

How would communism be contained by rebuilding Europe? It was the US which was rebuilding Europe and America would look noble in the eyes of the Europeans and thus the Europeans would like to follow the policy of the Americans (Capitalism) and would discard the policy of the soviets (communism).

The Americans believed in the Domino Theory. It meant that if a country becomes a communist state, then the states nearby the communist state would also be influenced by the communist state and would adopt communism. It was not formally accepted but American President Dwight D. Eisenhower described this theory once. It was believed that this domino effect would justify American intervention around the globe.

Also, containment actually meant(in historical terms) to stop the spread of communism " without a Nuclear War". Containment actually worked properly. If there would not have been a policy of containment by the US we wouldn't have been able to see the world as it is now. We would have seen India, Thailand, Afghanistan and many other countries as either communist or under the present Russian government.

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    What evidence do you have to back up the last paragraphs assertions? Would the world necessarily have seen a nuclear war with a different doctrine/policy? Would there have been more communist states without containment? Feb 9, 2017 at 6:22
  • India right now has more than 50 communist parties which believe in Marxism and sometimes also call their real leaders as "joseph stalin". I dont know much about the other coubtries but during the soviet Afghan war, if the americans did not form the mujahideen, the soviets would have faced no resistance thus guving all power to the soviets. During the korean war, if there would not have been american resistance the result would have something else. Without resistance soviet victory would have been very easy. The UN would have become powerless ( with all due respect). Feb 9, 2017 at 7:56

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