Foreign Policy towards the Soviet Union under Presidents Truman through to Nixon (1945-1974) was characterized by the "Cold War" -- a period of heightened tension between the two 'super powers' of the world. Even while being constrained by the compulsions of the 'Cold War,' the relations between the two countries gradually evolved into a less hostile association under successive U.S. Presidents in this period.
Harry Truman who became the U.S. President towards the end of World War II was the architect of the policy of containment of the Communism, led by the Soviet Union, around the world enshrined in the 'Truman Doctrine.' He was also instrumental in establishing a strong Western alliance called NATO in Europe that checked Soviet designs beyond Eastern Europe. Eisenhower continued with his predecessors' policy of "containment" without direct confrontation with the Soviet Union. While he extended U.S. aid and protection to South Vietnam to prevent it from being over-run by the Communists, he did not intervene when the U.S.S.R. crushed an uprising in Hungary in 1956 to avoid a nuclear confrontation. President Kennedy displayed great courage to force the Soviet Union from deploying nuclear weapons in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1961 but later signed a limited nuclear test ban treaty with the U.S.S.R., which cooled down the Cold War temperature somewhat. President Johnson, though bogged down by the escalating Vietnam War, sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union and managed to attain its co-operation in containing the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Finally, Nixon pursued a policy of detente (based on "realist" rather than "moral" principles) in the 1970s and developed more cordial relations with the Soviet Union. This resulted in signing of important anti-ballistic missile (ABM) and SALT treaties between the two super-powers and lowered the Cold War tensions.
As we saw in this essay, the relations between the U.S. And the U.S.S.R. were by no means static in the post World War II period until the mid-seventies. Although involved in an intense ideological struggle during the Cold War, they managed to avoid direct confrontation and even improved their relations. This was owed in no small measure to the wise foreign policy of the U.S. presidents from Truman down to Nixon.