Domino theory

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The domino theory was a foreign policy theory during the 1950s to 1980s, promoted at times by the government of the United States, that speculated that if one land in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect. The domino effect suggests that some change, small in itself, will cause a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear sequence, by analogy to a falling row of dominoes standing on end. The domino theory was used by successive United States administrations during the Cold War to clarify the need for American intervention around the world.

Referring to communism in Indochina, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower put the theory into words during an April 7, 1954 news conference:



In 1945, the Soviet Union brought most of the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Europe under its influence as part of the post-World War II settlement, prompting Winston Churchill to declare in a speech in 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri that:

Following the Iran crisis of 1946, Harry Truman declared what became known as the Truman Doctrine in 1947, promising to contribute financial aid to Greece and Turkey following World War II, in the hope that this would impede the advancement of Communism into Western Europe. Later that year, diplomat George Kennan wrote an article in Foreign Affairs magazine that became known as the "X Article", which first articulated the policy of containment, arguing that the further spread of Communism to countries outside a "buffer zone" around the USSR, even if it happened via democratic elections, was unacceptable and a threat to U.S. national security. Kennan was also involved, along with others in the Truman administration, in creating the Marshall Plan, which also began in 1947, to give aid to the countries of Western Europe (along with Greece and Turkey), in large part with the hope of keeping them from falling under Soviet domination.

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