The (Previous) Greece Crisis

“We have to get tough with the Russians. They don’t know how to behave. They are like bulls in a china shop. They are only 25 years old. We are over 100 and the British are centuries older.  We have got to teach them how to behave.”
Harry Truman, April 1945″From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.”
Winston Churchill, March 5, 1946

“The seeds of totalitarian regimes are nurtured by misery and want.”
Harry Truman, March 3, 1947 (ahead of the Marshall Plan).

Greece a nation embroiled in many sticky situations from the IMF financial crisis to austerity problems was once threatened by a Communist takeover led by the Democratic Army of Greece. A little history lesson about Greece:

A former colony of Great Britain. The United Kingdom had exhausted all coffers during the long drawn out war to prevent a fascist takeover of Britain (Battle of Britain and blitzkrieg). After the war, Greece was sucked into a civil war that would threaten the very fundamentals of democratic politics in Greece. The Royal Government of Greece sent word to Britain that it needed aid to counter the insurgency that was strong in the countryside. However, Britain whilst exhausting its coffers had  incurred a debt of £3000 million and had no way of helping the doomed Greek islands.

Who will save the day I wonder?

Who other than the…

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The Truman Doctrine was first introduced to Congress during President Truman’s speech:

The gravity of the situation which confronts the world today necessitates my appearance before a joint session of the Congress. The foreign policy and the national security of this country are involved. 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. Preliminary reports from the American Economic Mission now in Greece and reports from the American Ambassador in Greece corroborate the statement of the Greek Government that assistance is imperative if Greece is to survive as a free nation.

The Truman Doctrine although closely connected with the crisis in Greece and Turkey was not in direct response to those crises but instead was an overall smack to Stalin’s face that he will not appease him the way the Brits and the French appeased Hitler. This doctrine was also in support of the hard-line stance adopted by Truman: to deal with Stalin with an “iron-fist”. The Truman Doctrine promised monetary aid, equipment, advice and will issue verbal warnings to the USSR if Stalin got involved.

That sounds expensive. How are they going to fund all this expensive sounding promises?

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Through the Marshall Plan (introduced by former US Army General/Secretary of State George Marshall) all American commitments to Europe will be realised as 13 billion US dollars was committed into the rebuilding of Europe.

This theory of rebuilding Europe came about when the theory of ‘Communism triumphs when hardship is very apparent’. Initially Congress rejected the idea of spending so much money abroad instead they planned to spend the cash on domestic affairs. However, when On March 10, 1948, the Czechoslovakian minister of foreign affairs Jan Masaryk was found dead, in his pajamas, in the courtyard of the Foreign Ministry below his bathroom window. The initial investigation stated that he committed suicide by jumping out of the window, although some believe that he was murdered by the ascendant Communists (which is most likely true).

When the programme was first announced even the USSR was planning on ‘applying’ for it however they later thought that the aid is meant to undermine their nation by implanting capitalism in Europe permanently. Hence, the USSR demanded that no Eastern European nation takes the aid. They instead formed Comecon to reject the idea of Marshall Aid.

 

 

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