LN- Truman Doctrine and Greece

By 1947 Greece was one of the only few countries that hadn’t fell under the Communist regime in Eastern Europe. This was due to the military support from the British army, who sent troops in to prevent a communist take over. Although Britain were forced to addressed their financial struggles due to their troops having to also be sectioned in Italy, Germany and Asia as well as their economic issues with the British transport, mining and industry. Therefore this proved too much financial and military stress with sending troops to Greece, so on the 31st of March Britain withdraw their military support. Nevertheless, Truman persuaded congress that it was America’s responsibility to tackle Communist increased influence. Truman was determined not to let the Soviets gain more power, which was why he proposed the Truman Doctrine. The United States were to support Greece so that they were able to become a “self- supporting and self-respecting democracy” . Furthermore the USA felt it necessary to provide military and economic aid to protect nations that were targeted by the Communism outbursts, this policy was viewed by some as a warning to the USSR that USA would intervene to protect those threatened by the Soviets.

In order to fulfil Truman’s decision to effectively aid Greek government during their civil war between the Greek Communists, he would have to deliver a dramatic speech to Congress. He asked for $400,000,000 worth of aid for the Greek government so it was possible to support military and civilian equipment. The reasoning for this was if the Communist took over Greece then this would effect the political stability of Turkey , which could then have an overall effect on the political stability of the Middle East. Overall Truman argued that it became the duty of America to help the “free people”. He urged that no longer could America stand by and allow Soviets to expand into independent nations. This went against the American belief of national security as this didn’t just consist of America but that of American influence.

Since 1945 Americans had been funding Western Europe, to prevent a total collapse in the European Economy. However in 1947 the USA entrusted $13 billion to the European Economy. This amount of money would be used for building political structure for countries such as Germany and act as forceful boost towards the US economy as many of their goods gained a European market. This was known as the Marshall Plan, named after the Secretary of State George C.Marshall who gave a rewarding speech to a graduate class at Harvard University about the importance of rebuilding and providing help for Europe.

After Marshall’s speech Britain and France set up a conference in Paris where they would accept the US economic aid. Stalin felt that the USA motivations for their aid would allow them to interfere in domestic affairs of Europe, therefore he sent Molotov to Paris to discuss details with Britain and France. Stalin wanted the US help but to the extent of a Capitalist influence over Europe. Which was recognisable when Britain and France proposed that they complete a joint programme of spending aid, however Molotov the Foreign Minister left the conference after clear instructions from Stalin to abandon this policy. Stalin felt that a joint programme would allow the USA to effectively alter the Soviets influence in Eastern Europe as they could use trade and persuasion of the West. Molotov’s departure from the conference was said to have marked the Western bloc , an alliance of Western European states and the USA.  Then on the 16th of July, most Western European nations, even Turkey and Greece who were represented came to make negotiations on the Marshall plan. The negotiations were proved difficult due to each countries own agenda when deciding these plans and even though the USSR weren’t present,  big powers still seemed to clash.  An example being, France were willing to consider customs union, an area of free trade not dominated by national tariffs. Then in return they demanded control over the West German economy. Where as the British were more adamant in improving their national sovereignty and didn’t want to create organisations.

The Marshall plan began to see failures even before it was put into action, due to the European countries failed attempt to create a supranational list of requests but instead individual national requirements. To further this the countries asked for $29 billion more financial aid than Congress were willing to grant. To prevent an embarrassing attempt at solving economic issues in Europe an emergency meeting was held in Paris, where the USA officials would decide how to organise the money and to prioritise certain proposals.

Then by September, there was a list of necessities involving the European countries demands. For example Congress had managed to control Germany’s economic situation, they were to control power stations that generate electricity from water as well railway wagons and targets for coal.

Both the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall plan highlighted this idea of East against the West, Capitalism against Communism. The Doctrine showed that Truman offered support to countries resisting Communist subversion and it encouraged the need to improve economic conditions in Europe, which lead to the development of the Marshall plan. The Marshall plan of course demonstrated this division between the two sides as it was the West who accepted  and the USSR who rejected the US help.

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