FG – Greece and the Truman Doctrine

The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek Government Army, who represented the belief of the restoration of the monarchy and were backed by the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) – the military branch of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) – who wanted to control the government of Greece and therefore withhold the ability to impose their Communist beliefs on the country. Once the Second World War had ended on the 2nd September 1945, Britain started the process of providing economic support for Greece in the form of material goods and services, in hope that this support would not only strengthen Greece’s economic position, but would also offer a firm platform in which the Monarchists could use to assert their political dominance in Greece. Britain didn’t just have an obligation to do this, as Stalin and Churchill had agreed that Greece was in an area of British influence, but it was in their interest to oversee the eventual formation of a democratic government and the inevitable disarmament of the Greek Communist Party. Throughout the three years of civil war, either side experienced moments of control, however the gravest KKE mistake was the support given (in late 1948) by its leadership to Stalin, in the latter’s row with the “renegade” Yugoslav leader Tito. Yugoslavia had been the main training and supply center of the DSE, but the moment the KKE supported Stalin and condemned Tito, the latter severed his military and logistics ties with the DSE (July 1949). Without Tito’s support, the Communist forces suffered a defeat three months later in the last battles of the DSE on Greek soil. This defeat of the Communist forces was only achievable with the support of the United States; as Britain’s economy was still recovering from the huge indents that the Second World War created, Churchill had called upon the assistance of American resources and services to overcome the Communist threat that was ever more apparent.

The Truman Doctrine was an American foreign policy created to counter Soviet geopolitical spread during the Cold War. It was first announced to Congress by President Harry S. Truman on March 12, 1947 and further developed on July 12, 1948 when he pledged to contain Soviet threats to Greece and Turkey. However, many saw through this initial purpose, as it was obvious to all that the Truman Doctrine was manufactured to have a more expansive use; it was a threat to the Communist forces that were attempting to overthrow a democratically elected government. Truman had effectively promised to help any government, no matter its level of corruption or military status, providing it was actively anti-communist.

 

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