Marshall Plan Effects

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The Marshall Plan was at the forefront of American economic policy from 1947 onwards, and its effect on International Relations was immense. It was highly significant as the first American foreign policy in peacetime. The Marshall Plan aimed to economically reconstruct Europe as well as to stop the spread of communism across Europe. However it also lead to the USSR taking further control in Eastern European countries.

One of the most significant aspects of Marshall Aid was the help it provided to the European countries that were most affected economically by the Second World War. George Marshall, USA Secretary of State announced his European recovery programme at a speech at Harvard University in 1947. In the speech he declared that his motive
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Hitler’s scorched-earth policy had destroyed 20 per cent of all housing. Food production per capita in 1947 was only 51 per cent of its level in 1938; the official food ration set by the occupying powers varied between 1,040 and 1,550 calories per day and industrial output in 1947 was only one-third its 1938 level. The effect on the West German economy was staggering. Konrad Adenaeur, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, stated in 1964 that “in spite of her past, Germany was placed by the President of the United States, Harry Truman, on an equal footing with other suffering countries… the Plan to Germany achieved a twofold success: First, the Germans were given new hope, and second, they were helped by the provisions of the Plan” . This emphasises the positive effects the plan had on West Germany’s post war recovery, which was drastically economically and socially effected by the war. However the source is limited by a political agenda because Adenaeur was criticised by opponents as the ‘Western Chancellor’ due to his strong alliance with the West. This gives him potential to exaggerate because of his political reputation of a close relationship with the US, which sparked criticism from members of opposition parties within West Germany. A particular critic being Kurt Schumacher who disagreed with…show more content…
Marshall Aid contributed to the deteriorating relations between the two super powers after 1945. The USSR questioned American motives to provide aid to European countries and declared it as expansionist. In Truman’s address to the joint session of Congress 1947 he stated that he “believe(d) that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting” he then follows on to say “The peoples of a number of countries of the world have recently had totalitarian regimes forced upon them… the coercion and intimidation, in violation of the Yalta agreement in Poland, Rumania and Bulgaria” . Mentioning the new soviet satellite states was directly attacking the Soviet Union and Stalin. In this speech Truman is trying to sell the Truman Doctrine to Congress emphasising the need to adopt a policy of containment, in order to address a significant issue at the time – the fear of communism. Seeking approval for Marshall Aid from Congress, his agenda was to persuade congress to follow the containment ideology as well as to take the USA out of isolation. We can also see the increase of tensions through the Soviet reaction. Malenkov, a member of the Soviet Politburo, condemned the Truman Doctrine at a meeting of the Cominform on the 22nd of September 1947. He stated, “It has chosen the path of hatching new war plans against the Soviet Union and the new
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