CQ – Truman Doctrine

Greece, Truman Doctrine, and Marshall Plan.

Events that took place in Greece 1947 had confirmed the West’s worst fears. There had been a civil war in Greece in 1944 between the monarchists and the communists – that were trying to take control of Greece. Greece was in the British sphere of influence, so Stalin did not help the Greek communists although other neighbouring communist countries like Albania and Yugoslavia had sent aid. The West had believed that this was another way of increasing Soviet Expansion, which they had increasing worries about. The British economy was in a state of crisis as they were in a debt of £3000 million after the war against Germany.

As a result, Britain had asked the USA for help as they were not able to maintain their troops in Greece. Stalin kept out of Greece on the terms that Britain would stay outside of Poland. So, Poland was involuntarily part of a communist government, while Greece remained a capitalist state.

Truman, president of the United States, came up with a statement known as the Truman Doctrine. This was a response to the events in Greece, and also to stop the spread of communism – later known as Containment. Essentially, the Truman Doctrine was the West’s non-violent way of counteracting the Soviet Union and communism itself, and meant that Truman would be willing to help any country that was anti-communist. He had sent aid and money to Greece to help the Greek government, resulting in victory against the communists. This doctrine became the foundation of America’s foreign policy.

These events led to the creation of the Marshall Plan in 1947. The Marshall Plan had been named after George Marshall, who was the new US secretary of state, who had initially come up with the idea of sending aid to recovering countries in Europe after the war against Germany.

When Secretary of State George C. Marshall gave his famous speech at Harvard proposing massive program of American aid to Europe, he stated that the countries of Europe come together to determine their needs for economic recovery after the war. Two weeks later the British and French foreign ministers issued a joint message in which they invited twenty-two nations, including the Soviet Union and the Eastern European states,to send delegations to a meeting that would draw up a common plan for recovery. The Soviets had said that the Marshall Plan was an instrument of American economic domination of Europe, and announced that neither they nor their satellite states in Eastern Europe would attend.

An investment of about $13 billion in Europe during the next few years had resulted in the extraordinarily rapid reconstruction of a democratic Western Europe.

It was certainly clear that Europe needed economic support and assistance as it was damaged from the war, hence why the Marshall Plan was put in place. Not only was this put in place for Europe’s needs, but it was also an advantage for the USA as they would be trading with these countries and boosting their own economy as well as others. Marshall Aid was offered to every European country, but resulted in only Western Europe receiving the aid. This is because Stalin had come up with Cominform, an organisation consisting of Eastern European countries under communism, to discuss important matters to do with communism. One of which, was Marshall Aid. He did not allow these countries to accept aid from the West, as he thought that it was an attack against communism.

Therefore, the countries of Eastern Europe were left crippled and further worsened relations between East and West.

As well as this, the communists in Czechoslovakia had led a coup in 1948 as a result of the Marshall Plan and Aid, where leading politicians who advocated democracy were arrested and imprisoned, and the communists infiltrated the government. It was an aggressive way of gaining control of the country, but was a great result for Stalin as Czechoslovakia was now communist. Also, it was a buffer zone, so it was of important relevance to the Soviet Union. This also meant that Stalin had a larger sphere of influence, hence a larger control and hold over Eastern Europe, which alarmed the West.


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