These Are the American Presidents Who Stood Against Communism, and How Donald Trump Compares

America’s founding fathers were not challenged with fighting against Communism. In fact, Communism didn’t really show its face until the late 19th century. After World War II, the Cold War standoff began. The 45-year deadlock rattled a lot of cages and required every U.S. president during that time frame to take a position on Communism.

These are the American presidents who stood against Communism and how President Donald Trump compares (page 7).

1. Harry S. Truman

Harry Truman (1884-1972), the 33rd President of th

He enacted the Marshall Plan. | AFP/Getty Images

  • 1945 – 1953

When Harry S. Truman took office after President Roosevelt’s death, he really had no other choice than to take a strong stand on Communism. WWII had ended, but the Cold War was just beginning. As tensions continued to rise between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, Truman enacted the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan was a multi-billion dollar plan created to help European countries resist the temptation to take up Communism.

Next: New presidency and a new look. 

2. Dwight D. Eisenhower


He focused on Communist resistance. | Fox Photos/Getty Images

  • 1953 – 1961

With Dwight D. Eisenhower’s taking office came a new look at foreign policy. But really, it was called the New Look. Stalin died shortly after Eisenhower became president, which changed up the Soviet Union’s rhetoric. Nevertheless, Eisenhower was skeptical. Part of the New Look focused on nuclear weapons as part of the Communist resistance. Despite claims that he wanted to feed the hungry, Eisenhower spent well over half of the federal budget on armed forces.

Next: Backlash from foreign policies made this president think outside of the box. 

3. John F. Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

He established the Peace Corps. | AFP/Stringer/Getty Images

  • 1961 – 1963

John F. Kennedy came into office with a host of cards stacked against him. Just a couple months after becoming president, JFK gave the go-ahead on the Bay of Pigs disaster, which quickly blew up in his face. In an effort to bounce back from the embarrassment and scrutiny, JFK established the Peace Corps. The good work of the Peace Corps was JFK’s answer to anti-Communist resistance on a community level — an attempt to stabilize social and economic environments in need.

Next: This president refused to allow other countries to be taken by Communism. 

4. Lyndon B. Johnson

a portrait of lyndon b johnson

He stayed in the Vietnam War. | Keystone/Getty Images

  • 1963 – 1969

When Lyndon B. Johnson was passed the presidential torch after JFK’s assassination, his biggest anti-Communist force was sending and keeping more troops involved in the Vietnam War. Although his predecessors commenced America’s involvement in the war, Johnson struggled to pull soldiers out of Vietnam for fear of losing South Vietnam and subsequently other Southeast Asian countries to Communism. The Vietnam War last nearly 20 years.

Next: A tumultuous term didn’t stop this president from taking a stand against Communism. 

5. Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon

He was a vocal opponent to Communism. | Keystone/Getty Images

  • 1969 – 1974

Despite Nixon’s tumultuous presidency and the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to his impeachment, he strongly opposed Communism early on in his career. He campaigned on it, and a year prior to his election, he wrote about it. He said, “There is no place on this small planet for a billion of its potentially most able people to live in angry isolation.” Nixon worked to create diplomacy between the U.S. and China by making an unheard of trip to the Communist country.

Next: This president of the 80s had strong opinions on Communism.

6. Ronald Reagan

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan

He felt Communism was immoral and destructive. | Michael Evans/The White House/Getty Images

  • 1981 – 1989

Far before his campaign and presidency, Ronald Reagan was well-known for being a strong opponent of Communism. According to the Miller Center, Reagan “regarded Communism as an immoral and destructive ideology and believed that the Soviet Union was bent on world domination.” He went as far as to call the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” Reagan went even further to communicate that “the West won’t contain Communism, it will transcend Communism.”

Next: Here’s where Trump stands on the matter. 

7. Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House April 3, 2018 in Washington, DC

He threw his support behind anyone “living under a brutal regime.” | Alex Wong/Getty Images

  • 2017 – present 

Although the Cold War days are long behind us, Trump prides himself on being the “leader of the free world.” Furthermore, he stands against Communism and any other Marxist-based political theories by asserting that “America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests, and their well-being, including their prosperity.”

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