The United States and economic recovery in Greece 1947-50.
Angelus, Harry M.
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The terrible destruction resulting from World War II presented western civilization with its most serious challenge in history. Wretched social conditions among the peoples of Europe and other parts of the world left them highly susceptible to Communist propaganda and infiltration. The strength of Communism in the west continued to increase, thereby weakening the determination of western nations to resist the threat to their institutions. The grasping of leadership of the western world by the United States was the decisive turning point in the post-war period. By throwing its tremendous weight in the form of financial aid on the scale, the tide began to turn against Soviet imperialism. The Truman Doctrine was the first manifestation of this, and its logical extension, the European Recovery Program, further emphasized the determination of the United States to uphold western civilization. In extending economic assistance, the United States has instigated a social revolution, particularly in semi-backward countries such as Greece. This revolution, it needs to be stressed, has come from the west and not from Eastern Europe, as has been prophesied ever since the seizure of power in Russia by the Bolsheviks in 1917. This western-inspired social revolution has as its vanguard, not a well-disciplined political elite as were the Bolsheviks, but a corps of technical experts. The avowed objectives of this new revolutionary force are not to destroy and then recreate upon the ashes of the old, but to select what is sound and of proven value in a nation's economic and political structure and proceed to build upon these. This selective process is of great significance. Tried and tested methods which have demonstrated their worthiness and durability are then reinforced. The successful implementation of socially progressive measures, if to prove effective and lasting, relies heavily on the experiences of the past. Energies therefore are not devoted to effecting a miracle but to improving those cultural and social patterns which recipient nations wish to retain. In Greece, experts attached to American Missions have gone to the people and given technical advice. There was no attempt to decide a arbitrarily what livelihood the average Greek was to pursue. United States policy was to let Greeks decide for themselves. In the proposed industrialization of Greece, the intent is to expand industrial facilities thereby creating new employment opportunities. Work in a factory under progressively improving social conditions might then appeal to the farmer, rather than ekeing a meager existence from the soil. In this way, the hoped for transfer of more farmers to industry can be achieved without using arbitrary measures so characteristic of totalitarian societies. The all-important freedom or choice then becomes an integral part or national economic planning. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (M.A.)—Boston University