Toward an Entangling Alliance: American Isolationism, Internationalism, and Europe, 1901-1950

By Ronald E. Powaski | Go to book overview

8
The Creation of the
North Atlantic Alliance,
1947-1950

The Aftermath of the Truman Doctrine

In spite of the willingness of the Truman administration to extend economic aid to Greece and Turkey, the United States was still not ready to make any major military commitments to the defense of Europe, Even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who strongly backed military aid to Turkey, considered "political, economic, and psychological factors" more important. As a result, the naval presence established by the United States in the eastern Mediterranean was kept small. And when, in the summer of 1947, the British announced that they would withdraw the last of their troops, some 5,000 men, from Greece, the administration successfully persuaded them to stay longer, eventually until 1954.1

Yet in spite ot the reluctance of the American government and people to become militarily involved in the defense of Europe, only two years after the Truman Doctrine was announced, the United States joined a European alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), thereby completing the gradual abandonment of the century-and-a-half-old tradition of American isolationism.


The Marshall Plan

The closing phase of American isolationism began with the failure of the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers in early 1947 (March 10-April 24). The conference, which was called primarily to resolve German problems, was unable to reach agreement on any of the German issues, including reparations, the creation of a centralized administration, and ultimately reunification of the country. The Soviets attempted to head off the merger of the Western occupation zones by offering to accept the unification of Germany--after the Western powers had withdrawn their military forces from the country--in return for partial Soviet control of the Ruhr. Marshall countered with a proposal for four-power control of the Ruhr as well as Upper Silesia, an offer that was rejected by Molotov. As a result, the Truman administration concluded that the only way Germany would be

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