Updated: 29-Aug-2001 1947

[ '45-'49 | '50-'59 | '60-'69 | '70-'79 | '80-'89 | '90-'99 | '00- ]
[ 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949]



Although the Eastern Mediterranean had traditionally been regarded as being within the British sphere of influence, when the US Government learns of the British decisions regarding Greece and Turkey, President Truman proposes to Congress that, "It must be the policy of the United States of America to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities, or by outside pressure." Congress accepts this concept, which becomes known as the Truman Doctrine, and approves a $400 million aid-package for Greece and Turkey.

But if the Truman Doctrine brings relief to these two countries, the pressure on the rest of Europe remains as grave as ever. US Secretary of State George C. Marshall, in a landmark address in June 1947, begins by summing up the problem, "Europe's requirements are so much greater than her present ability to pay that she must have substantial additional help or face economic, social and political deterioration of a very grave character." He then goes on to launch a major policy initiative, proposing that, with US assistance, the European nations should evaluate their needs and draw up a common programme for reconstruction.

Thus is born the European Recovery Programme, better known as the Marshall Plan. While most European countries eagerly agree to participate, the Soviet Union declines and the other countries of the Eastern bloc are obliged to do likewise.

In the West, the Marshall Plan has a rapid and positive impact. In some countries, production is to rise by over 100% within five years. By 1952, thanks to American help and the close cooperation between the West Europeans engendered by the Recovery Programme, production in Europe comes to exceed its pre-war levels.

But even before Congress concludes its discussion of the Marshall Plan, the danger facing European democracies is starkly illustrated when, in February 1948, the government of Czechoslovakia is toppled by a Communist coup.


19 Jan

The Soviet-sponsored Communist Lublin-Committee monopolises power in Poland.

12 Mar

President Truman urges the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressure (Truman Doctrine).

Additional information:
  • "Recommendation for assistance to Greece and Turkey" - Speech by the president of the United States, Harry Truman, before a joint session of the senate and the house of representatives, recommending assistance to Greece and Turkey.
5 June

United States Secretary of State, George C. Marshall, announces plans for the economic rehabilitation of Europe (Marshall Plan).

Additional information:
  • "The Marshall Plan Speech" - Speech by United States Secretary of State, General George C. Marshall, at Harvard University.
22-27 Sept

Establishment of Cominform, the organisation for the ideological unity of the Soviet bloc, following rejection of Marshall Aid by the Soviet Union and its allies.