The Truman Doctrine

The main results of World War II were the following: millions of victims, losses in the economic, political and social spheres of life. Western Europe, Greece and Turkey suffered mostly because of German troops’ invasion. In post-World War II period the only strong and economically independent country was the United States of America. So, under the aegis of the United Nations Organization it became the main financial donor of the abovementioned countries. The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan were the official documents of the US foreign policy at the post-war period.

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Firstly, the Truman Doctrine was unveiled during president Harry S. Truman`s address before a joint session of Congress on March 12, 1947. This Doctrine was a decision concerning financial aid for Greece and Turkey. In fact, the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan became the primary documents of the foreign policy of the United States of America for the next forty years. Undersecretary of the USA Dean Acheson stressed in his speech that while Greece and Turkey were in danger of Soviet Union`s influence, communism had all the possibilities of spreading from these countries to south of Iran and far east to India (Harry Truman and the Truman Doctrine, 1947). The President of the United States Harry S. Truman stressed in his radio address to the Congress and American nation that Greek Government had sent to the United States an urgent appeal for financial help and experienced personnel. The main reason for financial aid from the USA to Greece was the Greek government`s need in American assistance (President Harry S. Truman`s address, 1947). This fact was also proved by the American Economic Mission and the American Ambassador in Greece. Human longing for power and misery had created political chaos in Greece. President also mentioned that suffering country should receive help to revive the process of importing goods in the country and recommence internal order and security as the most important factors for political and economic recovery (President Harry S. Truman`s address, 1947). The United States was presented in the speech as the only country in the world that could help Greece and Turkey to become economically and politically strong countries. Financial aid for Greece was discussed in the American Congress, as well as demand for experienced American administrators, economists and technicians. Greek government needed to rebuild the public administration of the country. One of the main reasons for the USA to help Turkey and Greece was defense of these countries against thousands terrorist activities, led by Communists. Greece, Turkey, Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia were threatened by these groups of terrorists (President Harry S. Truman`s address, 1947). The fact that the USA was the only country to which democratic Greece could resort, as there was no nation that was able to provide all the necessary support for Greek government, which policy was based on democratic features. Britain, that had been helping Greece during World War II after March 31, 1947, had no opportunity to do it. The British Embassy informed the US State Department about its unwillingness to provide financial aid for governments of Greece and Turkey on February 21, 1947 (Harry Truman and the Truman Doctrine, 1947). Another reason for the US help to Greece was the improvement of public administration and making Greece economically independent.

Secondly, Turkey was noticed in Harry S. Truman`s address as the country, which had sustained after German invasion during World War II. During the war the USA and Great Britain provided material aid for Turkey. Such actions were necessary to preserve the same order in Middle Eastern countries and prevent spreading of the Communist regime. The US government struggled for building a strong bloc of the democratic structured countries to fight against Communist invasion. Truman emphasized that whether Greece suffered economic fall, Turkey could appear in the same hard position (President Harry S. Truman`s address, 1947). Firstly Turkey and then the whole Middle East may experience disorder and outer influence. Harry S. Truman offered financial help for Greece and Turkey in an amount of 400 million dollars per year. The main aim of Turkish government was to protect Dardanelle Straits (38 miles that link the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara), which became a strategic point for Soviet Union. In this country the US military aid and economic assistance was provided in 1948 (Harry Truman and the Truman Doctrine, 1947).

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In terms of the Truman Doctrine Greece and Turkey`s economies recovered soon and in 1951 both of them became member States of NATO. This doctrine also helped Western Europe; for example, France was aided by the USA in the war against Vietnam (Truman Doctrine, 1947). The main purpose for the Truman Doctrine was to prevent Soviet expansion in Europe. This Doctrine was rather concise and based on a single issue in order to concentrate attention of Congress and American nation on financing aggrieved Greece and Turkey (Watson, 2003).

Thirdly, origins of the Marshall Plan were in Truman’s speech to the US Congress in Harvard University in June 5, 1947. George Marshall revealed the economic situation in Europe, he stressed that breakdown of the business and farming structures in Europe was obvious and that it was a lasting process. In 1947 he stated the fact that in two years’ time after World War II no agreement between Germany and Austria as alien countries on the one side, and the USA and European countries on the other side (Great Britain, France, Italy), had not signed any peace treaty due to economic renewal of the States victims of World War II (Marshall`s Speech to the US Congress, 1947). In accordance with Marshall`s plan Europe had to provide itself with foreign supplies or financial aid for the next three or four years. Europe should also make a special draft of financial program and draw a proper judgment as a part of Marshall Plan. General Marshall was a statesman, who was in the office of Secretary of State (1947-1949); then he became Secretary of Defense in 1950. In 1953 he was awarded the Nobel Prize as an architect of the Marshall Plan (The “Marshall Plan”, 1947). His plan became the main step in defensing and financing European countries with democratic regimes. This plan was one of the main instruments of Cold War prosecution against Soviet Union.

Fourthly, the speech in Harvard University initiated the post-war European Aid Program, called the Marshall Plan. Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) started to exist as a joint recovery program and in 1961 the OEEC became OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). The main aim of this organization was to rehabilitate economy of European States victims of World War II. The Marshall Plan was approved by Congress in the Economic Cooperation Act in April 1948. Between 1948 and 1951 13 billion dollars was spent as a financial help for Europe (Arkes, 1972). The European Recovery Program had very complicated formulation and structure. Most of the US assistance under such program was paid to European countries in the form of grants. Loan level was rather low in order to prevent transfer problems. One of the main points of the Marshall Plan was opening of the Economic Cooperation Agency and the US board operating in Europe (Arkes, 1972). Financial side of this plan was mulled over properly. Dollar payments by the ECA for any deliveries were provided by national funding systems. It meant that counterpart funds were created to give a possibility to European countries to pay for the US deliveries in the national currency. Counterpart funds were created especially for providing financial transactions of the United States and Europe. But the European Recovery Program had one imperfection – it caused development of the dollar gap in economically weak European countries. In order to fill this gap the ECA in 1950 presented Europe`s transition as a part of Bretton Woods System (The “Marshall Plan”, 1947). As there was a great demand for the United States’ financial aid for Europe, only 2.5 % of GNP of such countries was extinguished after the US assistance.

There are different versions of the Marshall Plan`s impact in historical aspect. One of them is that post-war Europe united into a large protectionist bloc of countries under French leadership in order to oppose the process of integration. This process stopped creating of the United States and Europe union. The second version of the Marshall Plan`s incompleteness was major international cooperation problem, because a lot of debts were left in Europe after financial war was broken by Germany (Arkes, 1972). Nevertheless, only continuing the U.S. military presence in European countries, self-sustained recovery and economic cooperation could provide an effective integration process of the USA and Europe. Part of German goods was so extensive in the economy of Greece and Turkey that a large amount of money had to be spent by the USA to commute German exports by the United States`. The Marshall Plan proclaimed creation of a regional authority within Europe (Arkes, 1972).

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To sum up, the Truman Doctrine was a political aspect and the Marshall Plan was an economical aspect of bipartisan Cold War foreign policy of the USA. The Truman Doctrine signaled the American’s post-war turn for global leadership. Doctrine’s implementation put an end to the longstanding policy of isolationism. The Marshall Plan provided financial aid for European countries, but it did not foresee a big part of German export in European countries’ economy. Process of integration between the United States and Europe was blocked by the impossibility of full economic and political recovery of European countries. Communist expansion was determined as the major hostile for the countries with democratic forms of governance.

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