The following source describes the political conditions in Greece and Turkey after the Second World War.

British troops had been in Greece since October 1944. Their objective was to secure a non-communist government in Greece. The communist-led National Liberation Front had attempted to seize Athens in December 1944 but had been defeated by British troops. The National Liberation Front renewed its activity after the election of a right-wing government in March 1946 which began to suppress left-wing political organisations. In 1946 the National Liberation Front began to fight the Greek government in a civil war. It was supplied with weapons by Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria. The National Liberation Front very quickly gained control of most of northern Greece with the government forces being secure only in Athens and Salonika. In response to these events Britain sent aid to the Greek government. The western powers saw the events in Greece as linked to the fate (destiny) of Italy and the Mediterranean generally. They feared Soviet domination of the region.
In Turkey, Soviet pressure for the return of disputed territory and the right to naval bases in the Bosporus and the Dardanelles was mounting. This pressure increased during 1946. These developments seemed to the western powers to indicate Soviet intention to gain dominance in the Middle East with its crucial oil supplies. Turkey was thus of greater strategic value, but if Greece fell under communist domination, Turkey’s position would be hopeless. It would be surrounded by hostile (aggressive) communist countries, allied to the Soviet Union. Britain had been aiding both the Greek and Turkish governments. However, the economic cost of the Second World War and difficulties in maintaining domestic supplies of vital goods such as coal in the immediate post-war years brought Britain and Europe generally to the brink of economic collapse. Britain informed the United States on 28 February 1947, that she would have to cease providing aid to Greece and Turkey by the end of March.

[From The Making of the Modern World by Christopher Condon] 

The source below is an excerpt from a briefing given by Lincoln MacVeagh and Edwin C. Wilson, American ambassadors to Greece and Turkey, to the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate in March 1947, in which they explained their need for American assistance.

Ambassador MacVeagh: At the present moment, the situation in Greece is exceedingly (very) grave (serious) and critical. Any delay, if we are going to do anything about it, is very dangerous if we are going to avoid a total collapse of the country, both economically and socially, which will bring the country into the satellite orbit of the Russian Empire. … Since the Communist Revolution in Russia, Russia has become the only great power on the European Continent.
Great Britain has no possibility any more of forming the old coalitions against the dominant European power. Russia’s influence is getting stronger and stronger. … That creates these strains and stresses in Greece which have greatly increased the power of the Communist Party within Greece itself, which has become today a very powerful fifth column movement.
Ambassador Wilson: Mr. Chairman, in the nearly 2 years that I have been in Turkey, I have come to the conviction that the maintenance of an independent position by Turkey is a question of vital interest to our own country. Turkey is the only independent country on the borders of the Soviet Union from the Baltic to the Black Sea. If Turkey should be allowed to fall under Soviet domination, either through breaking down the regime through outside pressure or through an act of overt (blatant) aggression against the country, you then have the Soviet borders running through Syria to Iraq …

[From Legislative Origins of the Truman Doctrine by USA Congress Senate Committee on Foreign Relations] 

The following map outlines the Iron Curtain that descended over Europe after the Second World War.

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The following source is part of President Truman’s address (Truman Doctrine) to the American Congress on 12 March 1947 in which he responds to Greece and Turkey’s plea for assistance.

The British Government, which has been helping Greece and Turkey, can give no further financial or economic aid after March 31. … We are the only country able to provide that help. The peoples of a number of countries of the world have recently had totalitarian (dictatorial) regimes (governments) forced upon them against their will. The government of the United States has made frequent protests against coercion and intimidation, in violation of the Yalta agreement, in Poland, Rumania, and Bulgaria.
I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation (overthrow) by armed minorities or by outside pressures. I believe that our help should be primarily through economic and financial aid which is essential to economic stability and orderly political processes. … If Greece should fall under the control of an armed minority, the effect upon its neighbour, Turkey, would be immediate and serious. Confusion and disorder might well spread throughout the entire Middle East.
I therefore ask the Congress to provide authority for assistance to Greece and Turkey in the amount of $400,000,000 for the period ending June 30, 1948. … In addition to funds, I ask the Congress to authorise the detail of American civilian and military personnel to Greece and Turkey, at the request of those countries, to assist in the tasks of reconstruction, and for the purpose of supervising the use of such financial and material assistance as may be furnished (provided). I recommend that authority also be provided for the instruction and training of selected Greek and Turkish personnel.

[From Journal of the Senate of the United States of America] 


The source below outlines the impact of Portuguese decolonisation on the three liberation movements in Angola in 1975.

Portugal’s ability to achieve a political solution in Angola was questionable, and the power vacuum and political dissent (conflict) caused by the coup in Portugal was eventually reflected in the chaotic process of decolonisation. The perception that a left-wing military government in Portugal, with a strong communist element, would favour the MPLA may have compounded distrust among the Angolan parties and certainly did not help to build confidence.
While Portugal was conducting negotiations, the three movements were happily diverting stockpiles of weaponry from the Portuguese armed forces to their own supporters. The Portuguese forces themselves assisted in these activities, with a bias towards support for the MPLA, which only served to strengthen the perception that Portugal’s impartiality (neutrality) was questionable. Between the signing of the Alvor Accords in January 1975 and independence in November 1975, the three movements expended (used) more effort on positioning their military wings for the takeover of Luanda than on implementing any of the provisions of the Alvor Accords. The perception was that the party controlling Luanda on 11 November would control the rest of Angola.
Given Portugal’s political instability at the time of decolonisation, the climate of distrust among the Angolan movements, the ideological differences and Angola’s enormous natural wealth, foreign interests were quick to forge (create) and consolidate alliances. The aim now was not to support a liberation movement but rather to ensure a friendly regime in an independent Angola. As independence approached, so the conflict among the liberation movements increased, along with foreign support for each movement in the form of military and financial assistance.

[From Different Opportunities, Different Outcomes – Civil War and Rebel Groups in Angola and Mozambique] 

The following source explains how South Africa’s intervention in the Angolan Civil War contributed towards the MPLA entrenching their position in Angola.

 On 14 October, South African forces invaded Angola from Namibia. South Africa was encouraged by the United States, to invade with both countries sharing exaggerated (inflated) fears of Soviet expansionism (empire-building). The rapid northwards advance of South African forces threatened Luanda, where the MPLA’s presence was both tenuous and vital to its legitimacy.
On 3 November the MPLA’s politburo met in an emergency session and unanimously approved the proposal by Agostinho Neto, party leader and unelected state president, to request immediate and massive reinforcements from Havana. Cuba’s response, came within hours … Operation Carlotta was created in commemoration of ‘Black Carlotta’, the leader of a slave rebellion that began in November 1843. The symbolism was potent as Cuban multi-racial troops challenged the apartheid forces. Some 30 000 troops, with heavy artillery and tanks, was sent, including one of Cuba’s newest weapons, the BM-21 missile launcher, capable of firing salvoes of 122 mm missiles over 8 miles.
Heavy equipment like T-34 tanks was sent directly from the Soviet Union to avoid transhipment delays. Cuban personnel then instructed Angolans in their use. The operation was under Castro’s direct, personal control. The impact of Cuba’s experienced and committed forces was immediate. The Battle of Ebo 300 km south of the capital on 23 November was a ‘turning point’ in the war for Angola.

[From Journal of Asian and African Studies 017, Vol. 52(5) 657–669]

The picture below shows Fapla troops armed with a Russian BM-21 Rocket Launcher and T-34 Tanks during the Angolan Civil War of 1975.

Related Items

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This source is an extract from an interview with Robert W. Hultslander, former CIA Station Chief in Luanda, with historian Piero Gleijeses in 1998. Professor Piero Gleijeses is the author of the book Angola: Conflicting Missions.

 QUESTION: What was your own assessment of Agostinho Neto and the MPLA?
The MPLA was the best qualified movement to govern Angola. Many of its leaders were educated at the University of Coimbra and a few at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow. Although many outwardly embraced Marxism, they were much closer to European radical socialism than to Soviet Marxist-Leninism. Lucio Lara, a mulatto intellectual, was probably a convinced communist. Agostinho Neto, was the undisputed leader of the MPLA. Other senior MPLA leaders were impressive: Lopo do Nacimiento, Paula Jorge, Nito Alves, Carlos Rocha and Iko Carreira were smart political operatives. Chieto and Dangereux were good military commanders, etc. In addition, the MPLA was the least tribal of the three movements. Neto and most of the top cadre were Mbundu, but the MPLA welcomed many different tribes, unlike the FNLA (Bakongo) and UNITA (Ovimbundu).
Despite the uncontested communist background of many of the MPLA's leaders, they were more effective, better educated, better trained and better motivated. The rank and file also were better motivated (particularly the armed combatants, who fought harder and with more determination). Portuguese Angolans overwhelmingly supported the MPLA. The briefings and orientation I received prior to arriving in Luanda emphasised the communist orientation of the MPLA and convinced me of the urgent need to stop the MPLA from taking power. Since the MPLA was receiving Soviet assistance, I believed that we had no choice but to counter with our own assistance to its opponents. It was only after three months in Luanda, that I realised what was really happening …

[From Accessed on 15 January 2022.]



The following source outlines the reasons for the formation of the Freedom Rides Movement in the USA in 1961.

In 1961, director of the Congress of Racial Equality, James Farmer and fellow CORE leader, Bayard Rustin, resurrected (revived) an earlier strategy from the late 1940s that called for blacks to ride segregated trains and buses during interstate travel in the upper South. The earlier protest-on-wheels had failed miserably when the riders were arrested in North Carolina, convicted, and given monthlong sentences. This time, the protesters hoped that they would receive greater support from the federal government and the Justice Department. As the sit-in movement had relied on direct confrontation, so would the Freedom Riders.
The group’s approach involved both blacks and whites: The white Freedom Riders would take seats in the back of buses, and black participants would sit in the front, a two-way violation of bus company policy. If ordered to move, both blacks and whites would keep their seats. At every bus stop, blacks would head for the whites only waiting rooms and try to use the facilities. The strategy assumed that whites would respond violently and that such encounters could not be ignored by the federal government, or as James Farmer put it, “so that the federal government would be compelled to enforce federal law.” That was the rationale (reason) for the Freedom Ride.
The first group of ‘Freedom Riders’ boarded a bus in Washington, D.C., on May 4, 1961. Thirteen riders had been recruited. The planned trip would take them through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina and then across the deep South to Louisiana. The group hoped to reach New Orleans on May 17, the seven-year anniversary of the Brown decision. Each of the riders knew the dangers involved in participating: “We were told that the racists, the segregationists, would go to any extent to hold the line on segregation in interstate travel,” James Farmer noted. “So when we began the ride I think all of us were prepared for as much violence as could be thrown at us. We were prepared for the possibility of death.”

[From The Civil Rights Movement – Striving for Justice by Tim McNeese.] 

This source below outlines the reaction of the Ku Klux Klan towards the Freedom Rides Movement.

 … the leaders of the Alabama Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were finalising plans of their own. The Klansmen had known about the Freedom Ride since mid-April, thanks to a series of FBI memos forwarded to the Birmingham Police Department. Police Sergeant Tom Cook – an avid Klan supporter and anti-Communist provided the organisation with detailed information on the Ride, including a city-by-city itinerary (program). They knew enough to sound the alarm among the stalwart (staunch) defenders of white supremacy. … the Klansmen, with Cook’s help, prepared a rude welcome for the invading “niggers” and “nigger-lovers” who were about to violate the timeworn customs and laws of the sovereign state of Alabama.
On April 17, 1961, more than two weeks before the Freedom Ride began, Sergeant Cook met with Gary Thomas Rowe, a member of the Eastview Klavern, the most violent Klan enclave in Alabama. Unbeknown to Cook, Rowe also happened to be an FBI informer, … Cook laid out an elaborate plot to bring the Freedom Ride to a halt in Birmingham. He assured Rowe that other members of the Birmingham Police Department, as well as officials of the Alabama Highway Patrol, were privy to the plan and could be counted on to cooperate.
“You will work with me and I will work with you on the Freedom Riders,” he promised. “We’re going to allow you fifteen minutes ... You can beat them, bomb them, maim them, kill them. I don’t care. There will be absolutely no arrests. You can assure every Klansman in the country that no one will be arrested in Alabama for those fifteen minutes.” The final plan, which resembled a full-scale military operation, called for an initial assault in Anniston, the Riders’ first scheduled stop in Alabama, followed by a mop-up action in Birmingham.

[From Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Raymond Arsenault]

This photograph depicts a Freedom Riders’ bus that was petrol bombed by white supremacists outside Anniston, Alabama in the USA on 14 May 1961.

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This source outlines the measures taken by the US government to ensure the safety of the Freedom Riders.

The president ordered 600 federal marshals to Alabama. Two hundred of them were dispatched to the hospital where the Freedom Riders were treated for their injuries. Governor Patterson publicly questioned the action by the president, stating, “We do not need your marshals. We do not want them, and we did not ask for them”.
Martin Luther King jr. gave his support to the Freedom Riders as Federal Marshals formed a protective barrier around the church building. Two days after the confrontation outside the First Baptist Church, 27 Freedom Riders boarded two buses headed west toward Jackson, Mississippi. The bus ride to the Alabama-Mississippi state line was without incident. Then, the Freedom Riders were overjoyed to find Mississippi National Guardsmen lining the highway “with their guns pointed toward the forest on both sides of the road”.
Robert Kennedy contacted U.S.A. Senator James O. Eastland to work out a deal in Mississippi. He promised the staunch segregationist he would not send in federal officials if Eastland would promise him that there would be no armed attacks against the Freedom Riders. Eastland assured the attorney general that there would be no violence in his state. The armed guard extended to the outskirts of Jackson. Some of the Freedom Riders were singing, excited about the change in their prospects of reaching their final destination in New Orleans. … when they reached the bus terminal in the state capital of Jackson, they were arrested by state police for trespassing. In October the Interstate Commerce Commission issued a ban on racial discrimination in interstate travel, which became effective on December 1, 1961. The credit for this victory went primarily to CORE and SNCC.

[From Breaking White Supremacy by Gary Dorrien.] 


Visual sources and other historical evidence were taken from the following:
Different events, Different outcomes – Civil War and rebel groups in Angola and Mozambique
Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Raymond Arsenault -high-school-integrated
Journal of Asian and African Studies 017, Vol. 52(5) 657–669
Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Vol. 63(2) 137–152
Legislative origins of the Truman doctrine by the U.S.A. Congressional Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
The Civil Rights Movement – Striving for Justice by Tim McNeese
The Making of the Modern World by Christopher Condon

Last modified on Thursday, 15 December 2022 13:56