After the United States ended World War II with the dropping of the atomic bombs, an era known as the Cold War began. This was not a direct conflict, but rather an ideological competition between the forces of communism and the forces of capitalism. As neither side could launch an attack without the assurance of being destroyed by the other side’s weapons, a stalemate occurred. Instead of fighting, both sides sought to create more allies and to have their ideas outgrow the other side’s, to isolate and ultimately bringing them to an end. The United States, as the center of capitalist ideology, attempted to sway nations that were well within the Soviet (communist) sphere of influence. On March 12, 1947, President Truman addressed a full session of Congress to propose aid to the nations of Turkey and Greece, which had been ravaged by World War II and were being threatened by a possible communist takeover. This address became known as the Truman Doctrine and said that America would give both military and economic aid to any country that desired to remain free from communism. A year later, Secretary of State George Marshall gave a commencement address at Harvard University in which he laid out a plan for rebuilding any nation affected by World War II, including the Soviet Union if it had asked (which it never did). This plan for aid, called the Marshall Plan, was also a plan of action to make allies, which would eliminate the possibility of another world war, and help isolate the Soviet Union and its communist ideals. The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan formed the basis for American foreign policy for well over forty years.