ZL – Truman Doctrine

In April 1945, President Roosevelt had passed away, his enemies had accused him of being soft on communism. Soviet actions in Eastern Europe after the Yalta conference, February 1945, seem to have indicated that Stalin couldn’t be trusted. Truman, the new US president, was very anti-communist and was determined not to make the same mistakes as FDR made of being too kind towards Stalin. In July 1945, at the Potsdam conference, it was agreed that if Stalin stayed out of Greece, then the West would stay out Poland. However, Greece was in Britain’s sphere of influence but this worried the West as they thought that Stalin might try intervene and place a communist government in Greece. This was because Albania and Yugoslavia, who were both run under communist governments, sent aid to Greece, which would influence Greece to Stalin’s sphere of influence. Britain sent troops into Greece to protect them from Stalin’s sphere of influence. However, in February 1947, Britain could not maintain its military stability in Greece due to the economic issues Britain faced. Therefore, Britain relied on help from America and warned them about the situation. This triggered the start of the Truman Doctrine. This aimed to stop the expansion of communism across the world – ‘containment’.  http://www.history.com/speeches/the-truman-doctrine . On March 12th 1947, Harry S. Truman gave a speech about the Truman Doctrine, and tried to convince the congress to aid Greece and Turkey in order to protect countries from the influence of communism.

When World War II ended in 1945, Europe lay in ruins: its cities were shattered; its economies were devastated; its people faced famine. In the two years after the war, the Soviet Union’s control of Eastern Europe and the vulnerability of Western European countries to Soviet expansionism heightened the sense of crisis. To deal with this, the Secretary of State, George Marshall, proposed in a speech on June 5, 1947: http://marshallfoundation.org/marshall/the-marshall-plan/marshall-plan-speech/ that European nations create a plan for their economic reconstruction and that the United States provide economic assistance. On December 19, 1947, President Harry Truman sent Congress a message that followed Marshall’s ideas to provide economic aid to Europe. Congress overwhelmingly passed the Economic Cooperation Act of 1948, and on April 3, 1948, President Truman signed the act that became known as the Marshall Plan.

Over the next four years, Congress appropriated $13.3 billion for European recovery. This aid provided much needed capital and materials that enabled Europeans to rebuild the continent’s economy.  Only western Europe were provided with Marshall Aid , making the programme exclusive to capitalist countries. The Soviet Union regarded this as an attack on communism and it’s way of stopping the spread of communism. However, Marshall Aid had escalated tensions even further, and acted as a catalyst for the Berlin Blockade which occurred in 1948-49. This caused East Europe countries to reject the opportunity of having Marshall Aid because of the soviet’s pressure.

Cominform was the Communist Information Bureau that was established in 1947 by Stalin. It was a organisation set up to represent Communist Parties all across Europe and bring the under the direction of the USSR. The first Cominform conference rejected Marshall Aid. The Eastern European governments refused to accept it and the Western parties encouraged strikes against the plan. In France 2 Million worker went on strike in protest against Marshall Aid. Cominform was set up in order to test the loyalty of Eastern European governments. It investigated and removed those minister who weren’t loyal. In Hungary 5% of the population was in prison by 1953. Cominform consolidated the power of the USSR through Eastern Europe by stamping out the opposition.

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