In evaluating the successes and failures of United States political policies during the Cold War (1945-1990) it is vital to gain a clear understanding of the impact this period had on American history. The policies designed to ensure the containment of communism dramatically effected U. S. diplomacy, the rights of American citizens, the United States economy, NASA and the space program, as well as played a significant role in America's use of force and espionage to manipulate the governments of weaker nations. Only through examination of the influence of the Cold War in these areas can there be a valid exploration of whether the policy of containment led to any true victories over communism.
When looking back on United States diplomacy during the Cold War it is apparent that the advancements in foreign policy achieved were often marred by embarrassing political incidents. President Harry Truman played a significant role in the creation of a Cold War between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Immediately following the end of World War II President Truman set a precedent for American foreign policy by creating the Truman Doctrine. In a 1947 speech at Baylor University, the leader of the United States proclaimed that the containment of communism was necessary to ensure "peace and the freedom of all Americans" (p.837). Through the creation of the Truman Doctrine "the United States had declared its right to intervene to save other nations from communist subversion." (p.838) This fundamental stance against communist subversion would later lead to foreign policy failures and military humiliation in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, and Latin America. The European Recovery Program gave the Truman administration one major victory over communism. The Marshall Plan, as it is more commonly identified, was designed to "turn back both socialist and communist bids for power in northern and western Europe" (p.