History 108 Discussion post week 12 Response to a classmate’s post (NATHAN)



The Marshall Plan

After WWII vast portions of Europe remained ravaged by war. While many of these European countries economies had been ruined, factories and cities bombed into obliteration and many of their citizens on the brink of starvation (Wilde), the United States knew they could not sit idly by. With the Communist parties across the continent benefiting from this economic turmoil, and the chance Stalin could gain further power in Europe, the United States opted for an economic solution of financial aid to usher these countries closer to democracy, rather than communism (Wilde). On June 5th, 1947 the European Recovery Program was drawn up in the hopes of alleviating economic calamity from nations across Europe. Sixteen countries would sign on and agree to accept assistance from the United States as the plan was signed into law on April 3rd, 1948 (Wilde).

But not all war-torn countries in Europe would agree to accept the United States Assistance. Countries such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic did not accept their assistance. One main reason for this was these countries were both run by communist systems. Though the economic plan from the United States was offered to these countries, Stalin made sure that it was rejected in the Soviet sphere of influence (Wilde). This further divided the two political systems, which was then followed by many historic events. Events such as the Berlin Blockade, the Berlin airlift and eventually the ushering in of the cold war (Provan). The battle between capitalism and communism had begun.

In all the United States assisted the European countries with 12.4 billion dollars (Provan). George Marshall said in his Harvard address when explaining the reason, the United States should move forward with his plan, “Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist” (Marshall 161). Through that quote, I see two very distinct reasons for the Marshall plan. First being to end the suffering of other nations. Second being stop communism. Much like today, the United States spends billions of dollars throughout the world to influence other countries towards our interests. The Marshall Plan was no different.

Works Cited

Marshall, George. Against Hunger, Poverty, Desperation and Chaos: The Harvard Address. Foreign Affairs, Vol. 76, No. 3 (May – Jun., 1997), pp. 160-161. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20048104 Accessed Nov 2018

Provan, John. The Marshall Plan and its consequences. https://www.george-marshall-society.org/george-c-m… Accessed Nov 2018

Widle, Robert. Origins of the Cold War in Europe. 2017. https://www.thoughtco.com/origins-of-the-cold-war-in-europe-1221189 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Accessed Nov 2018