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The 1950's
Cold Warriors, Part 2 - The U.S.



Cold Warriors, Part 2 - The U.S.
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.54

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    charisma, front-line, hands-off, iffy, plain-spoken, restraint, stalemate, orchestrate, Post-war, agenda, first-hand, policies, containment, atomic, thwart, economic
     content words:    Harry Truman, At Franklin, In April, Third Reich, Humpty Dumpty, When Japan, Cold War, After WWII, Truman Doctrine, Communist China


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Cold Warriors, Part 2 - The U.S.
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     Harry Truman had some big shoes to fill. At Franklin Roosevelt's death in 1945, Truman stepped up to lead the U.S. The new president was a plain-spoken man. He had little of Roosevelt's charisma. Truman grew up on a farm in rural Missouri. He'd served in WWI and been a partner in a clothing store. The store went broke, but not because Truman was foolish or lazy. He believed in tackling the job and being responsible for results. "The buck stops here" was one of his best-known quotes. Another was "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
 
2     Truman knew about heat. When he took office, he was called upon to make some heavy decisions. In April 1945, the Third Reich crumbled. The Nazis were defeated, but Europe lay in pieces like Humpty Dumpty after his fall. Truman met with the great leaders of the world to figure out how to put Europe back together again. When Japan showed signs of dragging the war out, Truman faced a grim decision. It was his decision that sent U.S. planes to drop two atomic bombs on Japan.
 
3     In 1948 Truman pushed for the enforcement of civil rights. He also signed an order ending segregation in the U.S. armed forces. This bold stand was a big risk just before an election, but Truman believed it needed to be done. "My stomach turned over when I learned that Negro soldiers, just back from overseas, were being dumped out of Army trucks...and beaten," Truman said. His efforts laid groundwork for the civil rights campaigns of the next two decades.
 
4     The Cold War was beginning as Truman took office. After WWII, under Soviet influence, many nations became communist. Post-war shortages and suffering made communist ideals look good. Communism seemed poised to spread through Greece and Turkey. France and Italy looked iffy as well. Truman and his advisors sought to stem the tide.
 
5     The Truman Doctrine was signed into law in 1947. It outlined a U.S. policy of support for countries that were in danger of falling to communism. Truman himself helped raise 400 million dollars for foreign aid to rebuild Europe. This concept of keeping countries from communism was called "containment."

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The 1950's
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United States
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