Like Most of Western Europe Term Paper

  • Length: 24 pages
  • Sources: 12
  • Subject: Drama - World
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #97862805

Excerpt from Term Paper :

[15] The United States saw that this must be prevented at all
costs due to Greece's connection to the economies of Western European and
United States. Furthermore, with Greece's strategic position in the
Mediterranean region and proximity to the Middle East, it and Turkey could
be vital allies in the future of global politics.[16]
Greece, Turkey, and Iran were part of the so-called Northern
Tier which was a buffer zone designed to stop the USSR from getting to the
Middle Eastern oil reserves and the Persian Gulf. Some have suggested that
these nations were used as pawns in a much larger political game. Since
those nations needed assistance, they were given it, but with certain
expectations about their future allegiances. This was certainly what
Truman with his famous doctrine was expected to have happen in this region
of the world.[17]
The aid package that Truman proposed and that was approved on May 22,
1947, by the U.S. Congress was valued at $400 million. Some sources state
that Greece was to receive $350 million and Turkey the remaining $50
million.[18] However, others suggest that the split was somewhat more even
with Greece receiving $300 million overall. The distribution of the money
as Truman intended it was to give Greece and equal amount in relief and
military supplies with $150 million going to each. Turkey was to receive
$100 million in arms and military advice.[19] The ability and willingness
of the United States to give this kind and amount of aid coupled with the
strategic purpose behind the package solidly put the United States in the
position of world superpower. Truman saw the necessity of winning Greece
from communism and the fact that he put so much on the line to do it shows
his and the U.S.'s willingness to act and take a world power position. The
isolationist policies of the past would no longer work in the growing
environment of the Cold War and the concern about spheres of influence in
Truman's timing could not have been better as the situation for the
Greek government was bleak in the spring of 1947. The Greek National Army
(GNA) began advancing on toward areas where the communist guerillas were
known to operate in April of that year. The drive through central Greece
heading north by the GNA was expected to be successful. It was assumed
that the guerillas would give in; they were even offered amnesty if they
surrendered. However, the army bogged down and became the victim of
ambushes and guerilla attacks. Frequently, the GNA could not tell who was
the enemy and who was not in the villages plus villagers often secretly
worked for the guerillas making life even more difficult for the legitimate
army and reducing the moral of the soldiers. The civil war mostly affected
the countryside and villages many of which were isolated with the cities
relatively safely held by the Greek government. Despite this, the economy
of the nation came to a stop as it was largely agricultural.[21]
The communist backed guerillas were able to work in the mountainous
areas in small groups of 70-100 men and cripple the central government by
cutting off access to supplies and roads. The guerilla forces were
receiving assistance from outside sources from Yugoslavia, Albania, and
Bulgaria all of which would have been pro-Soviet, communist countries at
the time. These countries were helping to train and supply the guerillas
in Greece.[22] It was clearly not a fair fight. The Truman Doctrine
served to sway the fight to the side of the legitimate government. The
Greek government was beginning to get more general support due to the death
of King George II. His brother, Paul I, came to the throne and was a more
active and political person than his brother. Paul was also more well
liked in his country and more respected as a political player by the United
The first wave of American military advisors arrived in Greece on May
24, 1947. They were known as the United States Army Group Greece (USAGG).

"USAGG immediately began studying the equipment needs of the Greek
army, air force, and gendarmerie. By mid July USAGG had cut Greek
General Staff requirements from forty million dollars to sixteen
million dollars, established an integrated relationship with the
British and Greeks, and made recommendations for supplies and
The USAGG was able to gain administrative control relatively quickly and
easily. However, a new concern was mounting.
The British wanted to pull their remaining 5000 troops from Greece as
they were needed at home for re-construction. Truman and his
administration were reluctant to commit U.S. troops in a foreign situation
such as this. Additionally, the U.S. military had shrunk considerably in
size following the end of World War II. Truman would have to pull soldiers
from other assignments to send to Greece. Pouring U.S. soldiers into
Greece may also appear like an act of war against the Soviet Union which
would further complicate the political atmosphere. In the end Truman
decided against sending in U.S. soldiers and imposed two other measures
that would help the GNA be successful against the guerillas. These were
increasing the size of the GNA and putting U.S. Army officers with Greek
units to assist them in their decisions.[25]
With this new plan in mind, the U.S. began moving in 74,000 tons of
military equipment in the second half of 1947. These supplies included
things like artillery, dive bombers, and napalm. Furthermore, 250 officers
took up advisory positions with the Greek army.[26] The leader of the U.S.
intervention, General James Van Fleet "started a policy-standard in dealing
with popular insurrections of forcibly removing thousands of Greeks from
their homes in the countryside, to try to isolate the guerrillas, to remove
the source of their support."[27] In all, the U.S. forces took a tougher
line than had the British advisors and troops in the years they had been
there. Van Fleet was aggressive in both military and domestic
operations.[28] This moved the Greek government in the direction of
victory over the communist backed rebels, but it did little to improve the
conditions in the nation as a whole.
The following year, 1948, was to be the strongest year for the
guerillas. Their forces grew to over 20,000 plus a number of informants.
Under the direction of Van Fleet, however, the Greek National Army was
systematically moving throughout the country and beginning the process of
regaining control through a series of offensive maneuvers. The final blow
to the communist came in a political not military way. In June of 1949,
Stalin's Soviet government ceased to acknowledge Tito of Yugoslavia. Since
Yugoslavia had been assisting the communists in Greece, this became a
complicated situation. In the end, the Greek communists chose to side with
Stalin. Consequently, Tito cut off their training camps and supplies. The
Greek National Army took advantage of the weakened state of the rebels and
launched a major attack in northern Greece in August of 1949. The rebels
could not keep it together without outside assistance and a cease-fire was
soon called. This cease fire marked the end of the civil war in
As all of that was occurring, the post-war conditions in Greece
continued to decline. With the backdrop of the civil war in Greece, the
U.S. was recognizing the need for other forms of intervention in Greece and
in all of Western Europe in the post-war period. To help relieve the
economic and social conditions of the time, a plan was being formulated.
On July 12, 1947 at a meeting of the European states, a plan for recovery
was being developed. The plan known as the European Recovery Plan or the
Marshall Plan was first introduced by U.S. Secretary of State George C.
Marshall at a graduation address at Harvard University in June of 1947.
Marshall was one of the most respected leaders of his day. He was a
"former wartime chief of staff, the first career soldier to become
secretary of state. Marshall was a man of enormous personal integrity
whose selfless devotion to duty and hard-boiled honesty made him one of the
most respected global leaders of the day."[30] Marshall's role in World
War II and his involvement in current affairs including the civil war in
Greece made him the perfect person to reveal and instigate this plan.
The plan was a massive investment by the U.S. government in economic
recovery in both Western Europe and the forming Easter Block states. The
plan would actually be so expensive to America that Truman's administration
was reluctant to reveal the plan to the U.S. public and did not invite the
American press to the commencement speech at Harvard. The British press
had been tipped off to the text of the speech and soon the word spread
throughout the world.[31] The program would equal between 5 and 10 percent

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