This Day In History: Truman Warns of The Threat Of Communism (1952)

On this day in 1952, President Harry Truman warned of the threat to America from Communism. In his State of the Union speech, he told the listening America public that the nation was facing a real threat from the Soviet Union and that they had to be vigilant and strong in the face of these dangers.  Truman was eager to appear as tough on Communism and the Soviet Union. Many Americans were deeply concerned by Communism and believed that it was a real threat to their way of life and even their lives. Truman had become President only after the death of Roosevelt. His popularity has waned in recent months because of concerns about his handling of the Korean War. Firing MacArthur and other events made many Americans believe that Truman was not doing a good job and that they were losing the war in Korea, which was not the reality on the ground.

Truman’s speech in the Houses of Congress was very well-received. Indeed all those present gave him a standing ovation. Truman made it clear that communism was a clear and present danger to the Republic.  He stated that the US was prepared to stand up to Communism all over the globe. He claimed that the US army was turning back the Communist tide in Korea. He also noted that the communist threat had been contained in Eastern Europe.  Truman pledged to meet any Communist aggression head on anywhere in the world.

Truman had earlier instigated the  Point Four program,  which offered help to underdeveloped countries. This sought to help them develop and this would meant that they were less likely to be attracted to Communism.  Truman knew that in order to defeat communism that he and his nation had to help poor nations develop and grow prosperous.  Truman also noted that America was threatened by Soviet nuclear weapons and he promised to build up the stockpile of US A-Bombs to deter the Communists from attacking the United States or their allies.

Truman also wanted to appear tough on Communism to refute any suggestion that he was soft on the Reds. He had come under pressure from the rapidly anti-communist Senator Joseph McCarthy. However, Truman despite his speech was increasingly unpopular and he did not run in the Presidential Election. He is now regarded as a successful President who successfully met the Communist head-on and helped to halt Soviet expansion. He is a controversial figure and many believe that he should not have ordered the A-Bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many believe that if he had engaged with the Soviets maybe he could have prevented the Cold War.