Section One

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March 24, 1948: “Some Kind of A Shortage Here?”
Washington Post

Herblock’s cartoon suggests that President Truman’s Cold War “containment” policy of the Soviet Union was unbalanced and that an ideological response to Communism was as important as military preparedness. The cartoon may have been triggered by President Truman’s speech the previous week to a joint session of Congress, in which he pointed to a number of episodes of Soviet aggression: promoting a Communist coup in Czechoslovakia; pressuring Finland to become part of the Soviet bloc, which would threaten “the entire Scandinavian peninsula”; and condoning and abetting military attacks by Communist rebels in Greece and efforts by the Communist minority to take over Italy.

To deal with these threats, Truman asked Congress to fund the European Recovery Program, or Marshall Plan—which would offer economic aid to a European continent devastated by World War II—and to strengthen the nation’s defense preparedness by restoring the draft and increasing the size of the army.