Revision Diary

Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan


Truman Doctrine; Marshall Plan; attitudes of Stalin and Truman.



Make sure that you know about the Truman Doctrine and its results, and also about the Marshall Plan and its effects.




Truman Doctrine


   Stalin was taking over eastern Europe by 'salami tactics'

   George Kennan's 'Long Telegram' assured Truman that Russia COULD be stopped by resolute action.

   At Fulton, Truman had got Churchill to give the 'Iron Curtain' speech

   In the 'percentages agreement', Stalin had promised to leave Greece alone - but Communists were still attacking the Greek government.

   British soldiers were defending Greece, but in Feb 1947 the British told Truman they could not afford to keep them there any more.


   As after the First World War, many Americans had hoped to be able to return to 'isolation'.

   12 Mar 1947 he told Congress:

a.  that Communism was growing

b.  that it was America's 'responsibility ... 'to ensure the peaceful development of nations, free from coercion'.

   Although the word was not in the speech), the Truman Doctrine came to stand for 'containment' - not trying to 'roll back' Communism, but stopping further advance.


   Congress supported Truman, who asked for $400 million for military intervention in Greece and Turkey

   Truman sent General George Marshall to Europe to see what else needed to be done to stop Communism.



Results of Truman Doctrine

  1. America changed her policy - overturned for ever the 'Monroe Doctrine' of isolation (which they had followed since the 19th century) - and adopted instead the 'Truman Doctrine' . Truman's speech was in fact America's declaration of 'Cold War' on Russia.

  2. Congress allocated $400 million for immediate military intervention in Greece and Turkey - the Communists were quickly defeated/stopped in both countries.

  3. Truman sent General George Marshall to Europe to see what else needed to be done - this led immediately to the Marshall Plan

  4. Although the word was not in the speech), the Truman Doctrine came to stand for 'containment' - not trying to 'roll back' Communism, but stopping further advance - this idea led to the Korean and Vietnam Wars

  5. Truman's idea of Soviet advance led to the 'domino theory', which lay behind the Korean and Vietnam Wars

  6. Truman's decision to give military support to countries resisting Communism led eventually to the formation of NATO





Marshall Plan


   All the background of - Salami tactics; Kennan; Fulton; Greece.

   12 Mar 1946, Truman had secured the support of Congress for the 'Truman Doctrine' of 'containing' Communism.

   Truman sent General George Marshall on a tour of Europe to see what needed to be done to stop the spread of Communism.   Marshall came back believing that Europe was so poor after the war that ALL EUROPE was 'a breeding ground of hate' and in danger of turning Communist.


   5 June 1947, Marshall gave a speech advocating spending vast sums of money to get the European economy going.

   He said that the war had caused: 'the dislocation of the entire fabric of the European economy'.

   He insisted that: 'Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos.'

   He said that the countries of Europe needed to decide how much they needed for what - on 12 July 1947 Britain arranged a meeting in Paris to decide.

   In 1948, the European Recovery Program (ERP) went into effect.


   Congress at first hesitated to spend so much money.   However, in March 1948 Czechoslovakia turned Communist, and Congress voted the funding.



Results of the Marshall Plan

  1. Europe asked for $22bn, Truman asked for $17bn, and Congress voted 13bn.  

  2. The money was spent as the countries of Europe decided - on roads and railways, factories, tractors, fishing nets, food aid .. everything down to donkeys.

  3. Note that a substantial proportion of the money was spent on the military and weapons.

  4. Britain (got $3bn) and West Germany benefited most, also France, Italy and the Netherlands.

  5. This money worked - it stopped further countries from turning Communist.

  6. The Russians (correctly) interpreted this as America going to war with them, using money not weapons.

  7. Stalin forbade Iron Curtain countries to seek Marshall Aid (Czechoslovakia, which had at first asked for Aid, had to 'change its mind').

  8. Stalin set up Cominform as a counter-influence.

  9. Co-operating over the Marshall Plan led eventually to the 'European Economic Community' (the EU).





Revision Focus

This is a Paper 1 topic, so concentrate on learning:

1.   WHAT happened

2.   EFFECTS/ Importance



e-book on Truman Doctrine/ Marshall Plan,


More detailed notes on the Truman Doctrine



Online revision sheet  







Essays on What was the Truman Doctrine?  and What was the Marshall Plan?