Halting the Iron Curtain at the Mediterranean: The Greek Civil War and the Origins of the Truman Doctrine
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This paper examines the origins of the Truman Doctrine in the Greek Civil War (1943-1949). It also seeks to understand the perceptions which fueled the United States’ response to the Greek Civil War. It looks at the history of the war and tries to also place it in the greater context of Cold War diplomacy and agreements – particularly the percentages agreement made by Stalin and Churchill in June 1944 with regards to the Balkans. By analyzing documents from the State Department’s archives and other sources, we are able to see on what assumptions men like George C. Marshall and President Harry Truman based their policies on. The worry of Soviet domination and subversion in Europe fueled in large measure the desire of the Truman administration to intercede on behalf of Greece’s monarchical government in its struggle against a communist insurgency. One noteworthy fact this paper shows is that Stalin’s Soviet Union never had any intention of intervening in Greece, out of Stalin’s desire to focus on the consolidation of control over other Eastern European states. It also comments on the legacy of the Truman Doctrine and how it has been interpreted by succeeding administrations.