Truman Doctrine and Marshall Aid

Last Updated: 19 May 2021
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By 1946, Greece and Czechoslovakia were the only countries in Eastern Europe that weren’t Communist. Even in Greece, the government, which was being supported by British soldiers, was having to fight a civil war against the Communists. In February 1947, the British told Truman they could no longer afford to keep their soldiers in Greece. President Truman stepped in. The USA paid for the British soldiers in Greece. Truman noted that Turkey too was in danger from Soviet aggression, so Congress voted to give aid to Turkey as well. -Part of the money was given in economic and humanitarian aid, but most was spent on military supplies and weapons. Truman Doctrine In the 1930s, America had kept out of Europe’s business. Now, on 12 March 1947, Truman told Americans that it was America’s DUTY to interfere. His policy towards the Soviet Union was one of ‘containment’  he did not try to destroy the USSR, but he wanted to stop it growing any more.

This was called the ‘Truman Doctrine’. Greece -After WWI Greece appeared to be 'under threat' from Communism. Britain was unable to support Greece (as it had done in the past). -In 1947 Greece was under attack from Communist rebels and asked the USA for help. Communism Truman was concerned about the spread of Communism and was determined to take action. He offered arms, supplies and money to Greece. Communism in Greece was defeated by 1949 following a civil war. Doctrine Truman was determined that the USA would not live in isolation. The Truman Doctrine aimed to contain Communism, but not push it back - known as Containment. -Offered assistance to "all free peoples" resisting "attempted subjugation". Marshall Aid -Truman saw war ravaged Europe as a "breeding ground" for Communism. He felt it was vital to encourage countries to become prosperous again - to recover from the war. US Secretary of State, George Marshall, propsed Marshall Aid (also know as the Marshall Plan)

Just being helpful? Helping European countries to recover also meant creating a market for US exports. Also (although not publicly admitted) it was a clear aim to prevent the spread of Communism. Stalin saw this as America trying to buy support. Tension -Between 1947-51 12 billion dollars was given in aid! Vital help for recovery. However, Stalin refused Marshall Aid and banned Eastern European countries under the USSR's control from accepting it. This created tension on both sides.

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