What Was the Containment Policy?

The U.S. policy of containment after World War II attempted to inhibit the spread and influence of communism and the Soviet Union worldwide. The Soviet state at the time actively encouraged communist uprisings in many post-war countries in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa.

The U.S. foreign policy of containment attempted actively to support, to varying degrees, democratically elected governments that were undergoing communist agitation. The containment policy, associated with actions by former Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson and Nixon, was a compromise between policies of appeasement of Soviet ambitions and rollback, which would have likely resulted in a destructive outright war between the United States and Soviet Union. The containment policy helped to shape the course of the Cold War, creating proxy wars in Korea and Vietnam.