11-3: Early Cold War Policies

Assignment 3George Frost Kennan: Father of the Containment Policy

Early Cold War Policies

The United States firmly resisted the potential expansion of communism through the Containment Policy. The United States believed that if it could stop the spread of Communism through the vigilant application of military intervention, diplomatic pressure and economic aid then Communism would collapse on its own. The following is an excerpt from George Frost Kennan’s Long Telegram which outlined this policy.

“Soviet power…bears within itself the seeds of its own decay, and the sprouting of these seeds is well advanced…[If] anything were ever to disrupt the unity and efficacy ?(efficiency) of the Party as a political instrument, Soviet Russia might be changed overnight from one of the strongest to one of the weakest and most pitiable of national societies….This would…warrant the United States entering with reasonable confidence upon a policy of firm containment, designed to confront the Russians with unalterable counter-force at every point where they show signs of encroaching upon the interests of a peaceful and stable world.” ~ The Long Telegram, George Kennan, U.S. State Department February 22, 1946

Primary Source Document Questions:

  1. What is the main idea contained within this document?
  2. What is going on in the country/world when this document was written?
  3. Is this document a reliable source? Why or why not? (Is there bias?)
  4. Who said this? When did they say it?
  5. What are 2 facts that you have learned in class or on your own that you can connect to this document?
  6. How does this primary source contribute to our understanding of the time frame and/or history?