Marshall Plan and Its Results in Greece Term Paper

Pages: 24 (6829 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 12  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Drama - World

Like most of Western Europe in the post-World War II years, Greece

faced many challenges. Greece's problems were a direct result of the war

and occupation by the Axis Powers and a direct result of internal conflicts

between various factions vying for power within the nation. Between World

War II and a brutal Civil War, Greece's infrastructure, people, and economy

were nearly devastated by the late 1940s. The United States' famous

European Recovery Program, more commonly known as the Marshall Plan,

combined with the Truman Doctrine helped rebuild the shambles that was the

Greek government and nation following the stresses of excessive and violent

internal and external conflict.

The need for outside assistance was obvious to the western world in

the years following World War II. Greece had suffered greatly as a result

of occupation by German and Italian forces. Greece was also caught in the

crossfire of determining where their future lay in terms of following the

Soviet Union into communism or becoming a member of the alliance of the

United States and Western Europe. This crisis created a vicious civil war

that raged from 1946-1949. The United States had a definite interest in

supporting Greece as the Cold War era began. Any nation that sided with

the West against the Soviet Union was a positive. Additionally, Greece was

strategically located. The economic recovery of European nations, which

was desperately needed in Greece, also had a direct impact on the U.S.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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economy. The combination of these factors plus a sense of humanitarianism

spurred the U.S. to develop and instigate the aid program known as the

Marshall Plan.[1]

It is impossible to discuss the Marshall Plan in Greece without first

gaining an understanding of the situation that warranted international

intervention. The situation began prior to World War II when Greece became

TOPIC: Term Paper on Marshall Plan and Its Results in Greece Assignment

a conservative dictatorship under General Ioannis Metaxas in 1936. King

George II who had been living in exile for 12 years in England initially

appointed Metaxas as leader. The period was generally marked by unrest due

to labor issues and poor economic conditions. Metaxas used this unrest to

his advantage and was able to suspend important parts of the constitution

in the summer of 1936.[2]

Metaxas' regime known as the "Regime of the Fourth of August 1936" was

not viewed positively by most and has been labeled "an authoritarian,

backward-looking and paternalistic dictatorship, overlaid with a patina of

quasi-fascist rhetoric and style"[3]. It was a fascist regime but lacked

the power of other such regimes that were gaining power in Europe at the

time. Metaxas' regime was aware of the growing problems in Europe and

attempted to align themselves with Great Britain who had been a supporter

for many years. Without offering a formal treaty of alliance, Britain and

France offered to help protect Greece's territory from invasion as long as

Greece would also resist any external aggression. Since Italy had just

entered and now occupied Greece's neighbor, Albania, Greece gratefully took

the offer from Britain and France in 1939 believing that Greece would be


Although it was Metaxas' hope not to get involved in the war, it was

soon obvious that he would have no choice. Mussolini of Italy, who was

anxious to showoff to its ally, Germany, decided that Greece would be an

easy target. On October 28, 1940, Italy demanded that Greece surrender to

them. Greece immediately refused and found themselves under attack by

Italy shortly thereafter. The powerful Germany saw a complete occupation

of Greece as a necessity in the war. Consequently, Germany brought in

extra troops and a bloody battle began in the spring of 1941. Greek

soldiers and citizens fought valiantly against the well supplied and highly

aggressive enemy, but, in the end, Greece was unable to stop them and was

occupied by a joint force from Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria.[5]

Greece was divided into three regions based on the occupying forces.

Greece did maintain a type of government based in Athens under General

Tsolakoglou. However, this government was not very effective against its

occupiers and mostly existed as a sort of figurehead. As a result of the

occupation and the weaknesses of Tsolakoglou's government, food was not

distributed well and many starved during the first winter of occupation.[6]

The situation did not improve for many years to come as the country

continued to be occupied.

As happened in other occupied nations, such as France, small pockets

of resistance did exist. At first these were small groups of ex-military

troops, but they were not able to put a substantial dent in their

occupiers. Other, more powerful resistance groups began to emerge that

would set the stage for the civil war to follow World War II. An uban

group, known as EA or National Solidarity in Greek, was able to find and

distribute food along with controlling the black market. The EA was tied

to the EAM or National Liberation Front which was more directly involved in

actual military resistance. Behind both of these groups was the KKE or

Greek Communist Party. The communist party continued to dominate the

resistance movement with the creation of the ELAS or Greek People's

Liberation Army. In order to advance its own agenda, the KKE actually

fought and eliminated other resistance groups so that they would be the

most powerful force to emerge from the chaos of the occupation in

Greece.[7] This was a risky move, but they could not tolerate competition.

The EAM and ELAS were effective forms of resistance so Greece's ally,

Britain, felt compelled to support these communist led groups. However,

the British also wanted to see the monarch of Greece restored and created

the EDES or National Republican Greek League with that aim in mind. The

EDES did not have the power of the EAM and ELAS and was soon driven from

power despite the British support.[8] Consequently, in the fall of 1944

when Germany withdrew from Greece, the EAM/ELAS was able to grab power, but

not securely. Britain remained involved in the conflict with military

advisors and troops available to Greece. Furthermore, unknown to Greek

authorities at the time, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had

already negotiated with Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union to keep Greece

within the British sphere of influence in exchange for Soviet influence in

the Eastern European countries of Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland.[9] Greece

was unaware of this negotiation, and, consequently, many were genuinely

concerned about the possible support of Stalin and the Soviet Union for the

communist group in Greece.

As a result of the occupation and intense political instability,

Greece's condition at the close of World War II was nothing short of

appalling. In an interview in 1996, James Warren, a member of the American

contingent who went to Greece as part of the Marshall Plan at the age of

23, summarized the condition of Greece following the joint occupation:

"Greece, of course, emerged from the war in a terrible state.

Probably 2,000 of the nation's villages had been razed in... and burnt

to the ground by the reprisal raids of the Nazis. There was not a

harbour in Greece that was usable. There was hardly any road that

could distribute supplies to starving people, ...the railroad was a

total wreck; the Corinth Canal, of course, was filled with railroad

cars dumped there by the Nazis. The industrial structure of the

country was in fair shape, but the basic sinews of the economy were

wrecked. A million goats killed, a million sheep killed, most

livestock destroyed. Hardly a bridge left standing anywhere in the

country. That was the result, if you will, of World War II."[10]

Years of occupation, resistance, and retaliation had huge repercussions for

Greece. Unfortunately, the pain and suffering was not concluded. A

terrible civil war was yet to be fought on the same soil by the various

factions who wished to ultimately control Greece.

In what has been called "Europe's bloodiest conflict between

1945 and the breakup of Yugoslavia" Greece went to war with itself from

1946-1949.[11] Right after the end of World War II, Britain was able to

focus its attention on Greece and supply enough support to restore a

British and monarch friendly dictatorship.[12] A wave of retributions

occurred against the communist associated forces and leaders causing purges

and executions on a large scale.[13] As a result of the purges and

killings, a guerilla movement began to grow and rapidly gained strength.

Soon it consisted of "17,000 fighters, 50,000 active supporters, and

perhaps 250,000 sympathizers, in a country of 7 million."[14] This

rebellion was becoming too much for the British to manage.

Consequently, United States President Harry S. Truman spoke to the


Congress on March 12, 1947. Truman laid out a plan called the Truman

Doctrine that would support the governments of Greece and Turkey. The

United States' intention was to prevent the spread of communism into this

area for several reasons. In the speech, Truman insisted that without the

foreign aid that Great Britain was no longer… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Marshall Plan and Its Results in Greece."  January 22, 2007.  Accessed September 26, 2021.