Leading up to World War II worldwide depression had helped to undermine a political order that had been shaky. This brought distrust in politics and government for the United States, and even to Europe and Asia. The result was a large drop in international trade, making unemployment rise (Out of Many). All these factors played a role in World War II. Once war broke out, America would struggle a great deal to recover from it. Some say it was worth the price for world freedom and world peace. Two primary sources that explain the effects of World War II are Truman Doctrine and The American Century. Although these documents were written at different periods, Truman Doctrine was written before America joins the war and The American Century was written after the war, these articles had a similar view. These two articles went in depth on America being a leading country who promoted freedom and peace.
In the American Century, Luce discusses the war that was going on. He wrote as if he were explaining what had happened step by step to citizens. He seems to write slightly sarcastically because the government has not been entirely honest it seems. In his article he says, “The trouble is not with the facts,” he continues, “The trouble is that clear and honest inferences have not been drawn from the facts,” (Luce). We see this problem happening today even. The reason we were invested in this war is because of defense. We were fighting to defend democratic values across the world, not our territory. America wanted to avoid war, however Luce claims that we were already in the war. If America were to go to war we can look forward and move on with peace. Luce views war as a positive occurrence in this article and tries to motivate his audience by writing this. He finishes his article saying the opportunity of leadership is ours. “The big, important point to be made here is simply that the complete opportunity of leadership is ours,” (Luce). If we want it we can take it, and if we refuse well that is on us too. He believes that through this war, we can create the first great American Century. This article is primarily focused on America and Europe, shifting to Truman Doctrine we will look into Greece and Turkey.
This article was a call to war directed to the President. The Truman Doctrine went in depth with the issues Greece and Turkey face. In this it states that Greek Government has been operating under chaos and extremism. No government is perfect, and they all have their flaws but Greek Government is in need of aid. Providing them aid does not mean we are condoning what they may or may not do, but we advice tolerance now. Turkey is in need of financial assistance and as of now the United States is the only country who can help. The main argument of this article was that the United States need to help free people in order for them to stay free. “The free peoples of the world look to us for support in maintaining their freedoms,” (Truman Doctrine). He finishes his article by saying that if we do not show leadership we could ruin the peace of the world.
Both these articles show that the United States is powerful and a leader for the rest of the world. We are the country that others come to when they are in need. We have the upper hand and we need to keep that position. During this time period the audience would have been empowered after reading these which was important at this time, given they had just gotten over a depression. I believe that is what both these authors were trying to do when they wrote these articles.
Henry Luce, “The American Century,” Life, (February 17, 1941): p 64-65,
“Truman Doctrine, ‘Recommendations for Assistance to Greece and Turkey’,” March 12, 1947
Faragher, John M. Out of Many: A History of the American People. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2004. Print.