Simple essays on the marshall plan of 1948

The Marshall Plan

The money went to allies and former enemies alike, and Great Britain and Germany were prime beneficiaries. Looking back on this extraordinary gesture of transatlantic solidarity from the vantage point of , the motivations of Marshall and Truman, and the fact that the U. Congress went along with the plan, seem particularly remarkable. It was one of the most full-throated endorsements in history of the concept of "enlightened self-interest": the understanding that social stability and economic success in Europe would bring the United States benefits far in excess of even the very large investment that Marshall proposed.


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And so it did. Europe embarked on a long period of peace and economic innovation that complemented and buttressed decades of strong economic growth in the United States. Self-interest is alive and well in American government, whether it be passing tax cuts for wealthy donors, changing rules to benefit one party over another, or demanding more favorable trade relations.

But enlightened self-interest, the understanding that we must invest in relationships to reap long-term rewards, has fallen on hard times. In addition to economic redevelopment, one of the stated goals of the Marshall Plan was to halt the spread communism on the European continent. Implementation of the Marshall Plan has been cited as the beginning of the Cold War between the United States and its European allies and the Soviet Union , which had effectively taken control of much of central and eastern Europe and established its satellite republics as communist nations.

Post World War II: The Marshall Plan in Western Europe Essay | Cram

Post-war Europe was in dire straits: Millions of its citizens had been killed or seriously wounded in World War II , as well as in related atrocities such as the Holocaust. Many cities, including some of the leading industrial and cultural centers of Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Belgium, had been destroyed.

Reports provided to Marshall suggested that some regions of the continent were on the brink of famine because agricultural and other food production had been disrupted by the fighting. In fact, it could easily be argued that the only world power not structurally affected by the conflict had been the United States.

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The reconstruction coordinated under the Marshall Plan was formulated following a meeting of the participating European states in the latter half of Notably, invitations were extended to the Soviet Union and its satellite states. However, they refused to join the effort, allegedly fearing U. The Marshall Plan provided aid to the recipients essentially on a per capita basis, with larger amounts given to major industrial powers, such as West Germany, France and Great Britain. This was based on the belief of Marshall and his advisors that recovery in these larger nations was essential to overall European recovery.

Still, not all participating nations benefitted equally. Nations such as Italy, who had fought with the Axis powers alongside Nazi Germany, and those who remained neutral e. In all, Great Britain received roughly one-quarter of the total aid provided under the Marshall Plan, while France was given less than one fifth of the funds. Interestingly, in the decades since its implementation, the true economic benefit of the Marshall Plan has been the subject of much debate. Indeed, reports at the time suggest that, by the time the plan took effect, Western Europe was already well on the road to recovery.

And, despite the significant investment on the part of the United States, the funds provided under the Marshall Plan accounted for less than 3 percent of the combined national incomes of the countries that received them.

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This led to relatively modest growth of GDP in these countries during the four-year period the plan was in effect. Politically, however, the legacy of the Marshall Plan arguably tells a different story. Given the refusal to participate on the part of the so-called Eastern Bloc of Soviet states, the initiative certainly reinforced divisions that were already beginning to take root on the continent.

The agency also, allegedly, financed an anti-communist insurgency in Ukraine, which at the time was a Soviet satellite state. As the designer of the plan, George C. Still, efforts to extend the Marshall Plan beyond its initial four-year period stalled with the beginning of the Korean War in Truman was able to work with leading Republicans in Congress, including Senator Arthur Vandenberg, to gain bipartisan support, and he signed legislation authorizing the ERP in April Multilateral planning for the Marshall Plan began in July, when all of the states of Europe, with the exception of Spain, were invited to a conference to discuss terms and conditions of U.


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The Soviets declined to participate and prevented those states of Eastern Europe under their control from attending. Soviet concerns were based on U. Negotiations resulted in an agreement whereby the United States would provide aid and loans to sixteen countries in exchange for economic reforms, including tariff eliminations, and oversight by an American agency, the Economic Cooperation Administration.

Europe After World War II

The multilateral Organization for European Economic Cooperation was created to coordinate planning and aid distribution. The body later became the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The ERP was critically important in rebuilding the shattered economies of Western Europe and binding those states to the United States during the cold war.