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Truman Doctrine or the Marshall Plan - Essay Example

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After six years of intensive warfare and destructive battles, most of which were concentrated on the European continent, World War II came to an end. The end of the war, however, did not herald an age of peace and harmonious co-existence but instead, witnessed the outbreak of one of the world's most intense and protracted conflicts: the Cold War…
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Truman Doctrine or the Marshall Plan
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After six years of intensive warfare and destructive battles, most of which were concentrated on the European continent, World War II came to an end. The end of the war, however, did not herald an age of peace and harmonious co-existence but instead, witnessed the outbreak of one of the world's most intense and protracted conflicts: the Cold War. Essentially ideological in nature, the Cold War was a bitter conflict between Communism and Democracy, between the Soviet and the U.S. camps. Former wartime allies had become tenacious enemies and it is impossible to ignore the role which either the Truman Doctrine or the Marshall Plan played in this development.
The Truman Doctrine came into being in 1947. It signalled a break with previous US foreign policy and undoubtedly contributed to the bitter rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union. While the United States had previously pursued a policy of non-intervention and had hoped to return to this policy following the conclusion of the war, the Truman Doctrine effectively prevented this. Instead, it defined a policy of intervention in European domestic affairs as an extension of American national interests. Most specifically, the Truman Doctrine aimed to contain and curtail the power of the Soviet Union within Europe. Hence, upon being informed by the British forces that Great Britain could no longer afford to maintain a military presence in Greece for the purposes of fighting the Greek communist threat, the United States covered the cost of the operation. The point here is that the United States, irrespective of the concept of European nationalism and regardless of the Soviet Union's own European identity and continental affiliation, had decided that intervention for the purposes of containing the spread of Soviet influence was both its right and duty. The consequence of its doing so was the division of Europe into East and West, into the Communist and the Liberal/Democratic blocs.
The Marshall Plan, which also unfolded in 1947, complimented the purposes of the Truman Doctrine. The Marshall Plan was, in essence, an aid package designed to restore the ravaged European economy following its destruction as a consequence of the war. It was predicated on the assumption that if the European economy was not restored, growing dissatisfaction and poverty will lead Western European nations to the adoption of communism. It was, in other words, an aid package from the United States to Europe, whose specific purpose was the curtailment of the communist influence.
On the basis of the foregoing overview of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, one may assert that Europe would have been different were it not for them. Quite simply stated, the Cold War may not have come into being and even more importantly, Western European nations may have succumb to communism. It is, thus, that one may affirm that both of these combined to create the Europe we know today. Read More
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