1. Discuss the policy of containment in the postwar world. What was its purpose and how did it evolve from the 1940s to the end of the Cold War?
2. Compare and Contrast the policies of Khrushchev and Gorbachev.
How were their circumstances different and what were the results?
Containment was a United States policy in the postwar years using numerous strategies to prevent the spread of communism abroad and to limit Soviet expansionism. It was a theory that communism was like water and would trickle into weak and unstable countries. A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet Union to enlarge communist influence in Eastern Europe, China, Korea, and Vietnam.
The basis of the doctrine was articulated in 1946 by U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan. Kennan, a top official at the US embassy in Moscow, defined the new approach in a “long telegram” that he sent to the state department in 1946. He extended his analysis “The sources of Soviet conduct” after he returned home in an article published under the signature “X” in the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs in 1947. Kennan argued that the Soviet Union would not soften its stance under any circumstances pointing of Russia’s traditional sense of insecurity. And he said, Moscow’s pressure to expand its power had to be stopped through “firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies.”