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The Presidency of Harry Truman, 1945-53

2. Confronting Stalin

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In this module, we think about Truman’s approach to the Soviet Union, focusing in particular on: (i) Truman’s reaction to the 1945 Moscow Conference, including his famous letter to James Byrnes, his Secretary of State, in which he wrote that he was “tired of babying the Soviets”; (ii) George Kennan’s ‘Long Telegram’; (iv) Winston Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech; and (v) the Iran Crisis of 1946.


In this course, Professor Mark White (Queen Mary University of London) explores the presidency of Harry Truman (1945-53). In the first module, we think about Truman’s rise to power and how he became President in April 1945. In the second, we think about his attitude towards the Soviet Union, before turning in the third to his transformation of the US national security system with the launch of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, as well as the National Security Act 1947. In the fourth and fifth modules, we turn from foreign policy to domestic policy, thinking first about McCarthyism and the Red Scare, and then about other aspects of Truman’s domestic policy, including his response to the strike wave of 1945-46 and his Fair Deal.


Mark White is Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London, specialising in US foreign policy in the Cold War and the US presidency since 1945. His recent publications include Against the President: Dissent and Decision-Making in the White House (2007) and The Presidency of Bill Clinton: The Legacy of a New Domestic and Foreign Policy (2012)

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APA style

White, M. (2019, December 19). The Presidency of Harry Truman, 1945-53 - Confronting Stalin [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

White, M. "The Presidency of Harry Truman, 1945-53 – Confronting Stalin." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 19 Dec 2019,

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