Truman said that the west needed to have a tougher approach towards the Soviet Union. He thought his predecessor Roosevelt was too soft. He wanted to fight the ‘iron curtain’ with the ‘iron fist’.
Greece was threatened by the soviet sphere of influence. The soviets were rapidly moving through Eastern Europe, establishing pro-soviet governments in the weakened countries.
As seen in the picture above, Greece was well positioned that if the west had control of it, they could manipulate whether or not soviets could advance through Greece and get to Turkey.
The Turkish Straits crisis (a series of waterways in Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Black Sea) was a Cold War territorial conflict between the Soviet Union and Turkey. Turkey, which had remained officially neutral throughout most of the Second World War, was pressured by the Soviet government to allow Russian shipping to flow freely through the Turkish Straits. Tensions rose after the Turkish governments did not agree to these requests. The incident would later serve as a deciding factor in the issuing of the Truman Doctrine. At its climax, the tensions would cause Turkey to turn to the United States and NATO, for protection and membership, respectively.
———– Since 1944 there had been a civil war in Greece between the monarchists and the communists. The geological aspect of Greece made it a threat to communist security. Because of Britain’s economic state in 1947, they couldn’t keep defending Greece. This was a great chance for the soviets to take control.
Information on the Truman Doctrine can be found here.
‘One aspect of the present situation, which I present to you at this time for your consideration and decision, concerns Greece and Turkey. The United States has received from the Greek Government an urgent appeal for financial and economic assistance’ – President Truman to Congress
One of Truman’s main aims was to be harsh with the Soviets. He issued an idea of ‘containment’ in 1947 which meant stopping the expansion of soviet influence throughout the rest of Europe. Truman knew Britain’s economic state would result in their retreatment and the soviets advancement meaning he had to issue the Truman Doctrine. This meant that United States would provide political, military and economic assistance to all democratic nations under threat from external or internal authoritarian forces. At the time, the U.S. Government believed that the Soviet Union supported the Greek Communist war effort and worried that if the Communists succeeded in the Greek civil war, the Soviets would ultimately influence Greek policy. Furthermore, the west wanted to keep as close as possible to the edge of the buffer zone to make sure the soviets could not expand further. By keeping Greece as a non-communist state, the United States and the United Kingdom felt they had a bit more control on the situation.
Information on the Marshall Plan can be found here.
The Marshall Plan aka. European Reovery Program (ERP) was an American idea to aid Western Europe, in which the United States gave $13 billion (approximately $130 billion in current dollar value) in economic support to help rebuild Western European economies after the end of World War II. Lasting for four years, beginning in April 1948.
The soviet union were fine with it at first… At first. Then as expected the soviets obviously thought it was undermining their country and everything they stand for by rudely implementing capitalism in European countries. Because, only communism is allowed to be forced into people’s homes right? One inch of capitalist help and the soviets are anxious that WW3 is about to kick off.