History Optional Paper- 2 Solution – 2015: Q.6 (c)
Q.6 (c) “The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan were considered by Russian Bloc as a weapon against Russia in order to restrict her influence.” Critically examine.
The Truman Doctrine
The Communist attempt to take over Greece and Turkey caused the USA President Truman to take up the Communist challenge directly. In March, 1947 he requested Congress $400 million in American military and economic assistance to combat the takeover of those two countries by communists.
President Truman told Congress that “it must be the policy of the United States to support free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” This was called the ‘Truman Doctrine’ which was aimed at policy of containing communism throughout the world.
The Marshall Plan
In June 1947, in accordance with the Truman Doctrine, the United States enacted the Marshall Plan, a pledge of economic assistance for all European countries willing to participate, including the Soviet Union to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II. The Soviets early on withdrew from participation in the plan and were soon followed by the other eastern European nations under their influence.
Russian bloc’s considerations
Stalin believed that the Trumans Doctrine and the Marshall Plan were weapon of the USA to contain the Russian bloc by restricting her influence. He believed that the economic integration with the West would allow Eastern Bloc countries to escape Soviet control, and. Stalin therefore prevented Eastern Bloc nations from receiving Marshall Plan aid and tightened his grip on the governments of Eastern Europe. The key outcome was Soviet sponsored coup d’etat in Czechoslovakia of 1948 when she had shown pro-western attitude and even was ready to recieve Marshall Plan.
Soviet foreign minister Molotov rejected the Marshall Plan (1947), proposing the Molotov Plan — the Soviet-sponsored economic grouping. The Molotov plan was symbolic of the Soviet Union’s refusal to accept aid from the Marshall Plan, or allow any of their satellite states to do so, because of their belief that the Plan was an attempt to weaken Soviet influence in their satellite states, through the conditions imposed, and by making beneficiary countries economically dependent on the United States.
Though Russian bloc’s considerations were right up to certain extent as the Truman’s Doctrine and the Marshall Plan had a clear objective of containing communist influence, its response in the form of tightening grip on the Eastern European countries, sponsoring coup in Czechoslovakia and launching ill defined Molotov Plan was not effective which could not stop the disintegration of the USSR in the long run.