The end of World War II did not slow the pace of the challenges that Harry Truman faced. Much of Europe and Asia lay in ruins, ravaged by starvation and economic collapse. The only nation to emerge stronger after the war, the United States took the lead.
The Soviet Union had suffered catastrophic losses. After the war, it seized control of Eastern Europe to bolster its industries and to create a buffer against future incursions. Truman aggressively sought to counter Soviet expansionism. This — and preventing a third world war — became his top foreign policy objective. Tension between the two nations gave rise to the Cold War.
Featured document: Letter from Harry Truman to Bess Truman, September 30, 1947