Marshall Plan/Containment

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The countries in the various green colours recieved Marshall Plan aid. The grey countries recieved no aid by their own choice, and the various red coloured countries were denied access to the US monies by the Soviet Union. The actions of the West caused noticeable tension buildup with the Soviet Union.

By November of 1944, Germany had evacuated Greece; they were losingground to the Soviet Union. This gave a chance for the communists to attempt a take-over. The only thing was, Greece was traditionally in the Western sphere, so it was assumed that Britain would protect it. Only Britain could no longer afford to do so. Greece then appealed to the United States for assistance, but they were still being isolationist, so Greece was ignored (also the Soviet Union vetoed Greece's appeal to the UN). In March of 1947 Harry Truman announced the he would give military and economic aid to Greece. Turkey, who was suffering from the same problem, appealed to the US as well. Truman called for the authorization of expenditure of $250 million to Greece and $150 million. This came to be known as the Truman Doctrine.

The Truman Doctrine

The Truman Doctrine stated that the United States was to adopt a policy of supporting countries that are being threatened by communism. This changed American foreign policy; the United States was no longer going to isolate itself from the rest of the world, they would "not let communism set its foot outside of its current borders". This would be done by setting up a buffer zone of friendly, non-communist governments around the Soviet Union, preventing it from expanding its communist ideals. The way to get these friendly governments was to come later, via the Marshall plan.

The Marshall Plan

In June of 1947, the US Secretary of State, George Marshall, spoke at Harvard University; he explained that the Soviet Union would take advantage of Western Europe's newly liberated countries by way of their struggling economies and political structure. Marshall suggested that if the economy of these nations were improved, they would be able to resist the lures of communism.

The United States approached the European nations in its own sphere, as well as the Soviet Union and its satellites. Josef Stalin was initially interested, but in truth, the Western powers didn't really want to give him aid, so they set up conditions that they knew Stalin would not accept. Stalin did not accept, and was angered at the conditions, but Czechoslovakia and Poland did ask for assistance. Stalin was infuriated, and called Jan Masaryk (the Czechoslovakian Foreign Minister) to Moscow, berating him for appealing to the United States after the Soviet Union denied assistance. On February 25 1948, the President of Czechoslovakia , Edvard Beneš, was deposed by communists, and two weeks later, Masaryk was found dead (officially labelled suicide, but many believe it to have been murder).

When the United States learned of Masaryk's "suicide", they began wanting intervetion in European affairs. The American people feared what the Soviet Union would do if they captured other countries into the communist ideology. On March 11, the American Senate voted 69 to 17 in favor of extending Marshall Plan assistance to Europe, hoping to prevent the success of communism elsewhere.

In total, the Marshall Plan was spread out among sixteen European countries within the Western sphere of influence (Poland and the other Soviet satellites no longer felt the need for assistance), three of which were nuetral during the war. Around $13.2 billion US (around $88 billion US today) was given to these countries for the duration of the Marshall Plan, which went from 1948 up to 1952. As one can notice still today, the countries that were given this aid after the war (the Western half of Europe) ended up being far better off than those countries without aid (Eastern Europe), politically, socially, and economically.

In an attempt to rebuild the economies of the countries that he stripped to rebuild his own, Stalin introduced his own sort of economic aid program into his satellite nations, called Comecon (Council for mutual economic assistance), in 1949.

This event increased the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.

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