How did the conflict evolve?

The Greek civil war and the Truman Doctrine

President Truman delivers Truman Doctrine speech before Congress

After the evacuation of German forces from Greece in 1944, there were two groups in that country that wanted to take power: the monarchists and the Communists. A civil war soon developed. The Communists were supported by the Soviet Union, and, after the end of the Second World War, also by Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria. Britain and the United States supported the monarchists.

House in rural Greece after the war

The involvement of the United States in the Greek civil war marked a new era in their attitude towards world politics. The new approach became known as the “Truman Doctrine” and it would guide U.S. diplomacy for the next forty years. The doctrine was established on 12 March 1947, when President Harry S. Truman delivered a speech before Congress in which he called for the allocation of $400 million in military and economic assistance for Greece and Turkey. In his speech, Truman declared:

It must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.

Click here to listen to the complete speech.


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