You are on page 1of 2

Assess the Impact of the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan on

the Development of the Cold War between 1947 and 1961
During 1947 to 1961, the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan
contributed greatly to the development of tension between the Soviet Bloc and
the Western Allies. The Truman Doctrine created tension mainly between the
Soviet Union and the United States after providing “$300 million in military and
economic aid” (Truman Doctrine) to Greece, a state in which the Soviet Union
had a large influential sphere and interests. The Marshall Plan however, in
providing “$13 billion in economic and technical assistance” (Marshall Plan) to
the countries who had joined the OEEC [Organization for European Economic Co-
operation]. This increased Western sympathy and support from the countries in
the Eastern Bloc whose economies were assisted by the USA.

The Truman Doctrine was signed on May 22, 1947, and provided economic
and military aid for Greece and Turkey; Turkey being the country in which the
USA later placed a potentially-offensive missile barrage. Truman had given a
speech to congress about the Doctrine and quoted the USA as being the ‘leaders
of the free world’ and that the USA must support democracy worldwide and fight
against communism” (Truman Doctrine). Truman’s comment on communism and
the now widely broadcast intentions of the doctrine was taken sourly by the
Soviet Union, who now felt directly under threat. This threat increased the friction
that the two main sides were experiencing. However, this was just the start, soon
after the doctrine, in April 1948; the Marshall Plan was executed, which increased
tension even more.

The Marshall Plan was the brain-child of Secretary of State George
Marshall, a US citizen and politician, who was directly, interested in the
expansion of the US economy and international relations, especially with
countries contained within the Soviet Bloc. The Marshall Plan over the course of
its implementation injected “$12,731 million” (Marshall Plan) into the respective
economies of participating countries economies. It reduced rationing and
discontent within the respective countries, in addition to reducing “the
communist influence on Western Europe” (Marshall Plan). This reduction in
popularity for communism severely impacted the Soviet Union, they perceived it,
like the Truman Doctrine, to be a direct attack on Soviet control and influence
within their Eastern Bloc, and escalated the friction between the two sides

The increased tension now felt by both sides started to impact on
decisions and crisis. The death of Stalin in 1953 increased the Soviet anxiety as
well however, as the Soviet Union felt like they had lost their only leader, the
only person worthy of taking on the global fight for communist control. The new
tension from the plan and the doctrine led to the building of the Berlin Wall, a
landmark in time of the increased division now felt by the two sides. The Cuban
Missile Crisis started and escalated as a result of the feverish tension that the
Soviet Union and the United States had with each other. Another example of this
rivalry and growing dislike for one another was reflected in the ‘Space Race’, a
race to get control and an advantage over the other in a time of severe dislike
and mistrust. These events were all triggered by the now incredibly high levels of
friction between the Eastern and Western powers as a result of the two policies.
In conclusion, both the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan had
incredibly strong impacts on the developments of the Cold War from 1947 to
1961. The tension created by the two policies led to disastrous consequences.
Overall, the two policies were implemented to resolve the economic problems
present in Europe after the devastating effects of WWII, although these polices
succeeded in their individual goals, their consequences on the tensions and
relations between the two parties in the Cold War were enormous.

Citations: Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine sourced from Wikipedia