This volume documents the British Government’s response from mid-1946 to early 1948 to the twin challenges of economic recovery and the search for a meaningful Western security framework in the face of the increasing polarisation of Europe into Eastern and Western spheres of influence.
Although relations between the wartime Big Three allies, the UK, US and USSR, had begun to fracture even before the end of hostilities in 1945, it was during 1947 that the postwar division of Europe became sufficiently alarming to prompt decisive action, under American and British leadership, to promote European economic reconstruction and thereby increase Western security. American leadership took the form of two initiatives, enabled by US economic and military strength: the Truman Doctrine for aid to Greece and Turkey, announced in March 1947, and the Economic Recovery Programme or Marshall Plan, first proposed in June 1947. British leadership, under the personal direction of Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, was shown in two ways: in articulating Western Europe’s need for US help in a way that enabled it to be recognised and then accepted; and in helping to coordinate the European response to the US initiatives to maximise their effectiveness. Documentation on the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan forms the core of the volume, but a wide range of material, including intelligence-related documents, has been chosen to illustrate the multiple challenges faced by the Attlee Government during this period.
This book will be of much interest to students of British politics, Cold War History, European History and International Relations.