Greece, The Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan: The Allies’ Response

Access the articles used here and here

By 1947, Stalin’s influence had spread across the majority of Eastern Europe, but he had failed to completely dominate the region with pro-communist, friendly states as Greece and Turkey remained resisting the Soviet take-over. Greece specifically was undergoing civil war since the end of World War 2, in which the leftist forces had been battling the royalists for control over the country, and Britain was unable to provide any more of the financial aid it had been throughout World War 2. Therefore, on March 12th, 1947, President Harry Truman made a speech before congress concerning the need to offer aid to any countries resisting subjugation or outside pressure, America being the only country powerful enough to stand against Stalin and his Red Army. The U.S felt that Stalin intended to complete his ‘sphere of influence’ over the entirety of eastern Europe, considering the aims of Comintern, and the strategic advantage that would be achieved through forming friendly states around Russia. In this way, the Truman Doctrine- a belief that America should be responsible for stemming the spread of communism, if this spread was carried out without the consent of the countries being affected- was implemented into the actions the U.S.A would later act out.

Some historians argue that the founding of the Truman Doctrine marks the true start of the Cold War, or at least a declaration on behalf of Truman himself towards his recognition of its existence: Truman had outlined the need for America to intentionally act against the Soviet Union’s needs, conveying openly the fear of Communism and the hostility between the two super powers. The Truman Doctrine was to partially take effect within The Marshall Plan: the provision of economic support, through channelling over $13 billion towards the economic recovery of Europe between 1948 and 1951. Although America perceived the plan as a generous means of supporting those devastated by over a decade of war, the Soviets felt- rather ironically- that it was an attempt to interfere with internal affairs of other states and, after being asked to join, refused to participate. Moreover, it should be noted that the United States government was aware of the political implications of Marshall Plan, in that it would provide financial relief to much of Europe in the hope of stemming the already rapid spread of communism in the east.

A photo of George C. Marhsall
George C. Marhsall

Some revisionists criticise America for implementing Marshall plan, suggesting that the exportation of American Dollars into Europe kept the United States from falling into depression- as had occurred in years prior to World War 2- by providing a bigger market for its products.


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