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How valid is the claim that the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan saved Western Europe from communism in the aftermath of the Second World War?

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Introduction

How valid is the claim that the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan saved Western Europe from communism in the aftermath of the Second World War? Danielle Solanki-Mensah The Truman Doctrine 1947 was a declaration of policy, in which America felt the right to protect the free people from the threat of communism. How America planned to do this was through the Marshall Plan 1947, where if a country requested, America would fund them in the fight against communism, and help to rebuild their economy. Some historians believe this policy to be what it is - helping countries to stay democratic, in the fight against the suppressive communism, other historians believe this to be a political move, where by offering money to needy countries, America was bribing its political alliance. Whatever their underlying motive, it would appear that they were successful. These two polices came just in time when Britain declared it could no longer support the civil war in Greece, and the fight for Turkey. ...read more.

Middle

Perhaps, they did not want to join the West in their crusade, and were content in their current situation. There are no uprisings or rebellions until the 50's, when Stalin was dead. This then leads to the possibility that Stalin was an extreme totalitarian compared to Khrushchev - if the people wanted to break free, who could they, if he controlled their governments with the Red Army? The Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan only worked to a degree on non-communist countries, but were untouchable on Stalin and his sphere. This is probably why the Truman Doctrine was only a containment policy, and not one of total destruction - Stalin was too great a force to contend with (at the moment). Yet, there are many other cases that could have saved Western Europe from communism, or at least helped. The Iron Curtain speech in 1946 was a useful piece of propaganda that swayed the public opinion on communism. Churchill gave a speech stating there was an obvious divide between East and West Europe. ...read more.

Conclusion

Later in 1950, the Truman Doctrine was then abandoned. This might have been because of the development of the atomic bomb, so the NSC-68 was introduced - the idea to 'roll-back' communism. By abandoning the previous policies, does this mean that they were no longer successful in their aim, or maybe, they were no longer relevant? It seems that from the three years that were in play, they were the most significant factor in saving Western Europe from communism. Although, it was not the sole saviour; the path was paved with the Iron Curtain Speech and it was justified by the Long Telegram. At the same time, the two policies were the causes of some problems, nor could they solve some - the sphere of influence for one. What made them so successful was that there was no retaliation from the East - probably because they did not have the military, economic or political power to counteract. When the East finally did catch up, it was then when the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan were abandoned, proving only to be successful because it was allowed to be so. ...read more.

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