Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Comparing the Truman, Eisenhower, and Monroe Doctrines
US History
Time Frame:
45-60 minutes
Middle East
Cold War

Grade Levels:
11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • Students will compare and contrast the foreign policy aspects of the Truman, Eisenhower, and Monroe Doctrine using excerpts.  This can be done individually, in rotating groups, or in jigsaw/expert groups.

  • To emphasize and review essential aspects of US foreign policy

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Truman Doctrine Excerpt  (provided)


Truman Doctrine

Background: Truman Doctrine, pronouncement by U.S. Pres. Harry S. Truman on March 12, 1947, declaring immediate economic and military aid to the governments of Greece, threatened by Communist insurrection, and Turkey, under pressure from Soviet expansion in the Mediterranean area. As the United States and the Soviet Union struggled to reach a balance of power during the Cold War that followed World War II, Great Britain announced that it could no longer afford to aid those Mediterranean countries, which the West feared were in danger of falling under Soviet influence. The U.S. Congress responded to a message from Truman by promptly appropriating $400,000,000 for this purpose.

-Encyclopedia Britannica


Excerpt from Transcript of Truman Doctrine (March 12, 1947)

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Congress of the United States:

The gravity of the situation … necessitates my appearance before a joint session of the Congress. The foreign policy and the national security of this country are involved.

One aspect of the present situation, … concerns Greece and Turkey.

The United States has received from the Greek Government an urgent appeal for financial and economic assistance. … assistance is imperative if Greece is to survive as a free nation.

Greece is not a rich country. Lack of sufficient natural resources has always forced the Greek people to work hard to make both ends meet. Since 1940, this industrious and peace loving country has suffered invasion, four years of cruel enemy occupation, and bitter internal strife.

When forces of liberation entered Greece they found that the retreating Germans had destroyed virtually all the railways, roads, port facilities, communications, and merchant marine. More than a thousand villages had been burned. Eighty-five per cent of the children were tubercular. Livestock, poultry, and draft animals had almost disappeared. Inflation had wiped out practically all savings.

… Greece is in desperate need of financial and economic assistance to enable it to resume purchases of food, clothing, fuel and seeds. … so essential for economic and political recovery.

The very existence of the Greek state is today threatened by the terrorist activities of several thousand armed men, led by Communists…

Meanwhile, the Greek Government is unable to cope with the situation. The Greek army is small and poorly equipped. It needs supplies and equipment … Greece must have assistance if it is to become a self-supporting and self-respecting democracy.

The United States must supply that assistance. We have already extended to Greece certain types of relief and economic aid but these are inadequate.

There is no other country to which democratic Greece can turn.

No other nation is willing and able to provide the necessary support for a democratic Greek government.

The British Government, which has been helping Greece, can give no further financial or economic aid after March 31.

We have considered how the United Nations might assist in this crisis. But the situation is an urgent one requiring immediate action …

Greece's neighbor, Turkey, also deserves our attention.

The future of Turkey as an independent and economically sound state is clearly no less important to the freedom-loving peoples of the world than the future of Greece. The circumstances in which Turkey finds itself today are considerably different from those of Greece. …

Nevertheless, Turkey now needs our support.

Since the war Turkey has sought financial assistance from Great Britain and the United States for the purpose of … modernization necessary for the maintenance of its national integrity.

That integrity is essential to the preservation of order in the Middle East.

As in the case of Greece, if Turkey is to have the assistance it needs, the United States must supply it. We are the only country able to provide that help.

One of the primary objectives of the foreign policy of the United States is the creation of conditions in which we and other nations will be able to work out a way of life free from coercion. This was a fundamental issue in the war with Germany and Japan. Our victory was won over countries which sought to impose their will, and their way of life, upon other nations.

At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life….

One way of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression.

The second way of life is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon the majority. It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio; fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms.

I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.

I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.

It is necessary only to glance at a map to realize that the survival and integrity of the Greek nation are of grave importance in a much wider situation. If Greece should fall under the control of an armed minority, the effect upon its neighbor, Turkey, would be immediate and serious. Confusion and disorder might well spread throughout the entire Middle East.

I therefore ask the Congress to provide authority for assistance to Greece and Turkey in the amount of $400,000,000 for the period ending June 30, 1948.

In addition to funds, I ask the Congress to authorize the detail of American civilian and military personnel to Greece and Turkey, at the request of those countries, to assist in the tasks of reconstruction, and for the purpose of supervising the use of such financial and material assistance…

If further funds, or further authority, should be needed …I shall not hesitate to bring the situation before the Congress. On this subject the Executive and Legislative branches of the Government must work together.

I would not recommend it except that the alternative is much more serious. …This is an investment in world freedom and world peace.

It is only common sense that we should safeguard this investment …

The free peoples of the world look to us for support in maintaining their freedoms.

I am confident that the Congress will face these responsibilities squarely.

 http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=81&page=transcript   7/18/13


  • Eisenhower Doctrine Excerpt (provided)


Eisenhower Doctrine

Background: Eisenhower Doctrine,  (Jan. 5, 1957), in the Cold War period after World War II, U.S. foreign-policy pronouncement by President Dwight D. Eisenhower promising military or economic aid to any Middle Eastern country needing help in resisting communist aggression. The doctrine was intended to check increased Soviet influence in the Middle East, which had resulted from the supply of arms to Egypt by communist countries as well as from strong communist support of Arab states against an Israeli, French, and British attack on Egypt in October 1956. Eisenhower proclaimed, with the approval of Congress, that he would use the armed forces to protect the independence of any Middle Eastern country seeking American help. The Eisenhower Doctrine represented no radical change in U.S. policy; the Truman Doctrine had pledged similar support to Greece and Turkey 10 years earlier. It was a continuation of the U.S. policy of containment of or resistance to any extension of the Soviet sphere of influence.

-Encyclopedia Britannica


Excerpt from The Eisenhower Doctrine on the Middle East,
A Message to Congress, January 5, 1957

The Middle East has abruptly reached a new and critical stage in its long and important history. …Our country supports without reservation the full sovereignty and independence of each and every nation of the Middle East.

…(J)ust recently there have been hostilities involving Western European nations that once exercised much influence in the area. Also the relatively large attack by Israel in October has intensified the basic differences between (Israel) and its Arab neighbors. All this instability has been heightened and, at times, manipulated by International Communism.


Russia's rulers have long sought to dominate the Middle East. That was true of the Czars and it is true of the Bolsheviks.

The Soviet Union has nothing whatsoever to fear from the United States in the Middle East, or anywhere else in the world, so long as its rulers do not themselves first resort to aggression.

The reason for Russia's interest in the Middle East is solely that of power politics. Considering her announced purpose of Communizing the world, it is easy to understand her hope of dominating the Middle East. . . .

Thus, we have these simple and indisputable facts:

  1. The Middle East, which has always been coveted by Russia, would today be prized more than ever by International Communism.
  2. The Soviet rulers continue to show that they do not scruple to use any incants to gain their ends.
  3. The free nations of the Mid East need, and for the most part want, added strength to assure their continued independence.


Under all the circumstances I have laid before you, a greater responsibility now devolves upon the United States. We have shown, …our dedication to the principle that force shall not be used internationally for any aggressive purpose and that the integrity and independence of the nations of the Middle East should be inviolate.

There is general recognition in the Middle East, as elsewhere, that the United States does not seek either political or economic domination over any other people. Our desire is a world environment of freedom, not servitude.


Under these circumstances I deem it necessary to seek the cooperation of the Congress. …


The action which I propose would have the following features.

It would, first of all, authorize the United States to cooperate with and assist any nation or group of nations in the general area of the Middle East in the development of economic strength dedicated to the maintenance of national independence.

It would, in the second place, authorize the Executive to undertake … programs of military assistance and cooperation with any nation or group of nations which desires such aid.

It would, in the third place, authorize such assistance and cooperation to include the employment of the armed forces of the United States to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of such nations, requesting such aid, against overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by International Communism.

These measures would have to be consonant with the treaty obligations of the United States, including the Charter of the United Nations and with any action or recommendations of the United Nations. …

The present proposal would, in the fourth place, authorize the President to employ, for economic and defensive military purposes, sums (money) available ….


The proposed legislation is primarily designed to deal with the possibility of Communist aggression, direct and indirect.

Experience shows that indirect aggression rarely if ever succeeds where there is reasonable security against direct aggression; where the government possesses loyal security forces, and where economic conditions are such as not to make Communism seem an attractive alternative. The program I suggest deals with all three aspects of this matter …

And as I have indicated, it will also be necessary for us to contribute economically to strengthen those countries, or groups of countries... Such measures will provide the greatest insurance against Communist inroads. Words alone are not enough.


…If power-hungry Communists should either falsely or correctly estimate that the Middle East is inadequately defended, they might be tempted to use open measures of armed attack. If so, that would start a chain of circumstances which would almost surely involve the United States in military action. I am convinced that the best insurance against this dangerous contingency is to make clear now our readiness to cooperate fully and freely with our friends of the Middle East ….


The policy which I outline involves certain burdens and indeed risks for the United States.

The occasion has come for us … to show our deep respect for the rights and independence of every nation - We seek, not violence, but peace. …

Source: from The Department of State Bulletin, XXXV1, No. 917 (January 21, 1957), pp. 83-87.  http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1957eisenhowerdoctrine.html                        7/18/13


  • Monroe Doctrine Excerpt (provided)


Monroe Doctrine

Background: Monroe Doctrine, (December 2, 1823), cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy enunciated by President James Monroe in his annual message to Congress. Declaring that the Old World and New World had different systems and must remain distinct spheres, Monroe made four basic points: (1) The United States would not interfere in the internal affairs of or the wars between European powers; (2) the United States recognized and would not interfere with existing colonies and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere; (3) the Western Hemisphere was closed to future colonization; and (4) any attempt by a European power to oppress or control any nation in the Western Hemisphere would be viewed as a hostile act against the United States.

-Encyclopedia Britannica


Excerpt from Transcript of Monroe Doctrine (1823)

Note: The Monroe Doctrine was expressed during President Monroe's seventh annual message to Congress, December 2, 1823:

. . . as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents…are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers. . .

… In the wars of the European powers … we have never taken any part… It is only when our rights are invaded … that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense. With the movements in this hemisphere we are of necessity more immediately connected….

We owe it, therefore, …to the… relations existing between the United States and those powers (in Europe) to declare that … any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere.

The late events in Spain and Portugal show that Europe is still unsettled. Our policy in regard to Europe…is not to interfere in the internal concerns of any of its powers; …to cultivate friendly relations with it, and to preserve those relations by a frank, firm, and manly policy….

It is impossible that the allied powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent without endangering our peace and happiness; nor can anyone believe that our southern brethren (South and Central America would choose this), … It is still the true policy of the United States to leave the parties to themselves, in hope that other powers will pursue the same course. . . .

Transcription courtesy of the Avalon Project at Yale Law School. http://www.ourdocuments.gov/print_friendly.php?flash=true&page=transcript&doc=23&title=Transcript+of+Monroe+Doctrine+%281823%29                                                                      7/18/13

Full description of activity or assignment.
  • Students will be placed in groups (Jigsaw or otherwise) and given the Monroe Doctrine and either the Eisenhower Doctrine excerpt or the Truman Doctrine excerpt (teacher-created excerpts are provided for regular students) to analyze.  AP or IB students may simply use the full version.
  • As they read, they will fill out the Comparing Foreign Policy Documents graphic organizer for their documents. 
  • They will prepare a presentation by which to teach their document to the class (or a partner who used the opposite document) so that other students will have a completed chart at the end of presentations. A “Sage and Scribe” approach might be useful.
  • A writing prompt will conclude the lesson as an assessment, during which students will have the opportunity to synthesize the similarities and differences of the policies.

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

Students could be assessed in a variety of ways.

  1. Class discussion (formative)
  2. Debate (formative or summative)
  3. Essay comparing and contrasting at least 2 of the documents
  4. Political cartoon/poster either supporting or critiquing a President’s policy.