The Mutual Security Act was signed by President Harry S. Truman on October 9, 1951. This announced to the world, particularly to the communist countries, the nation’s resolve to provide military aid to democratic countries at the time that their services are needed. On October 9, prior to its signing, the Soviet Union exploded their second nuclear weapon in a test.
The Mutual Security Act was similar to the Marshall Plan, America’s economic initiative during the post-World War II to help European countries rebuild war-devastated regions. Unlike the Marshall Plan, however, the Mutual Security Act’s purpose was not solely to provide economic aid. Stipulated on the act was the country’s emphasis to increase military assistance to democratic nations.
The congress designated the required monies needed to fund guns, tanks, raw materials, technicians and books, fertilizer and seeds, irrigation pumps, and medical supplies, things that were needed for the movement.
Truman and the Congress believed that the joint effort of nations to help one another, U.S. included, was the key to preventing the spread of communism and building a better world. He identified developing areas in Asia that especially needed help in building stronger defense against possible communist attacks. The help given to these countries was in the hopes that they use the funds and technical assistance given to them for their own economic growth following the economic system capitalism, eventually discouraging them from being lured into practicing the communist model.
Truman understood that the Mutual Security Act would put a strain on its relationship with the Soviets given that building armaments was part of the process. In his announcement after signing the act, he explained that while the arms race against the communist nation that most people feared could eventually be further aggravated, he stressed that there’s gain in the Mutual Security Act despite the conflict – the U.S. will play a key role in rebuilding the productive power of war-shattered countries.
The countries that received constant threat from the Soviets – the nations of Europe, including the divided section of Germany and its capital, Berlin – continued to receive economic help, although to a much lesser degree because of the act.