ND – Truman Doctrine and Greece

Greece was heavily influenced by the British after they helped to rebuild the country following the defeat of the Nazi Germans. Within Greece there was a civil war  from 1944 involving the Monarchists and the Communists; the West suggested that Stalin was involved in Stalinist expansion in Greece because the communist governments of Yugoslavia and Albania sent aid to the Greek Communists. The West saw this as a sign that Stalin was using indirect action to further expand Communism and in turn, his own sphere of influence. As a result, the British called on Truman to help with the situation in Greece. Due to the economic crisis that was occurring in Britain at the time, the British government could no longer afford to keep its troops in Greece which would mean that there would be communist takeover in yet another country. Also, Greece was of key strategic importance meaning that it was of importance for Greece not full under influence of Stalin as it would be of significant usefulness for any further conflict.

This led to the US President issuing the Truman Doctrine in March 1947 which declared that the United States would ‘support free peoples who are resisting subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.’ This allowed the US to respond to situations such as Greece as it was policy; it was a tactic devised to stop the spread of Communism and to enforce Democracy. The US sent aid and military advisers to support the Greek government and as a result, the communists were defeated. This was viewed by Stalin as evidence of US  imperialism that was the forcing of certain US political or cultural influence over other countries. This was reinforced by the launching of the Marshall Plan.

The Marshall Plan was set up in 1947 by George Marshall who was the new US Secretary of State. As he travelled through western Europe, he was shocked to find such a high level of devastation and economic crisis in these countries. It was also to stop the potential of economic recession in USA. If the economies of European countries could not recover then this would mean that Europe could not act as a market for US goods. It also had an underlying political purpose which was that the Americans saw poverty as an ideal breeding ground for Communism which would mean that the Europe at the time would be susceptible to the spreading of Communism.

The Marshall Plan was suppose to be available to all European countries but it reality, it only effected those countries in western Europe. In order to receive aid, the countries would have to provide economic records and open up their economy to US capitalist interests. Therefore, Communist states could not do so without making a fundamental change to their systems; USSR saw this as an attack on Communism. Molotov saw this foreign interference from USA as dollar imperialism and so, due to Soviet pressure, the countries of eastern Europe declined this aid. This led to USSR declaring war on the Marshall Plan. They set up the Cominform which was an organisation to coordinate communist parties and groups throughout Europe. They also set up the Comecon which was an organisation that provided economic assistance to the countries of eastern Europe. This created a divide in Europe as different regions of Europe were reliant and received aid from opposing political systems.

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