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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

In 1947, President Truman sought congressional approval to increase aid to Greece and Turkey, two countries whose economies were on the brink of failure. The collective fear was that their governments would turn to communism as an economic fix for continued survival. Truman’s speech quickly formed the basis of U.S. policy towards communism and political entities that threatened democracy. Even though this laid the groundwork of the U.S.’s public international policy, a far different and ironic action emerged. Just a few short years later President Eisenhower authorized the CIA, in conjunction with Britain’s MI6, to carry out Operation AJAX. At the heart of the operation’s targets sat an elected Iranian prime minister, new-found Iranian national pride, a power-hungry shah, and a plot to overthrow a fledgling democracy. Overall, the operation was considered a success with regard to its objectives, but when compared to U.S. policy and interests, it was a horrible failure and arguably the focal point of almost a half-century of soured Iranian-U.S. relations.

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