Greece and the Truman doctrine
In 1944 there was a civil war in Greece between the communists and the monarchists. After the defeat of Nazi Germany the Greek government had been restored to power with the help of the British, despite resistance from the Soviet Union. Stalin seems to have kept to his agreement with Churchill that Greece was an area of British influence and didn’t directly help the Greek communists. However, communist governments in Yugoslavia and Albania did send aid and this looked like soviet expansion to the west.
By 1947, the impact of the second world war had hit them and the British government owed £3000 million in debts incurred during the war against Germany. The British economy was in a state of crisis and they were forced to admit that they were now unable to sustain its overseas commitments and that they were unable to maintain their troops in Greece. Now that Britain had to withdraw its influence on Greece, the US president issued the Truman doctrine.
MARCH 1947-TRUMAN DOCTRINE
‘It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace'(Wilson centre sources’ . This statement was a response to the situation in Greece but it was clear that it was designed to have a wider application. In this case, Truman saw it as a straightforward choice between Democracy or Communism. In clearer words Truman was prepared to support any government that was anti-Communist. In this way US aid were sent to support the Greek government and the Communists were defeated. Stalin believed that this was evidence of US Imperialism, when the Marshall plan was launched.
June 05, 1947- MARSHALL PLAN
The US secretary of state traveled through Europe and was devastated by the economic suffering he was witnessing, and this led to his idea of the Marshall plan. It was according to Churchill ‘the most unselfish act in history’. Though these were the humanitarian causes of the Marshall Plan many still believed that there had to be more to this loving situation than that. The West saw poverty as a breeding ground for Europe so they decided to take action before some ‘wrong’ decisions were made by the innocent people. Marshall aid was available for any European country to apply for but in practice it went to Western Europe only. Molotov(a leading politician and soviet diplomat at the time) condemned it as a soviet interference in the states of Europe and labelled this Interim aid as ‘Dollar Imperialism’. The USSR had effectively declared war on the Marshall plan by tightening their hold on Europe by setting up Cominform, an organisation set up in order to coordinate communist parties and groups throughout Europe. Followed by Comecon, an organisation that provided economic assistance to the countries of Eastern Europe. Therefore the Truman doctrine and Marshall aid led to a more divided Europe.