Marshall Plan Containment

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“The originally propagated view that the Marshall Plan was an altruistic endeavour … has long been dismissed.” Instead, “The overwhelming body of literature looks at the Marshall Plan either from a political and diplomatic or from an economic viewpoint.” Overall, the Plan was primarily motivated by the former, rather, than the later, albeit both were heavily intertwined. This is because containment and a fear of Soviet expansion categorised US foreign policy for much of the postwar period, with economic considerations being the method used, to enact this policy of containment. The most convincing argument why the Marshall Plan was a scheme driven primarily by political, rather than economic …show more content…

However, it has been argued that containment should not be seen as the underlying factor behind the Marshall Plan, due to the fact that Britain was a recipient of this aid. This is because Britain did not fall within the sphere of communist influence, yet received the most amount of aid. For example, in the 1945 General Election, the British Communist Party only won two out of six-hundred and fifty seats, receiving less than one hundred thousand votes overall; thus, highlighting the lack of communist support in postwar Britain. Furthermore, the Marshall Plan was even offered to the Soviet Union by the American administration. Despite being an empty gesture, if there was a genuine fear of communism and an overwhelming agenda to contain it, why would they offer aid, in the first place, to the principal communist state? Joyce and Gabriel Kolko go further and ascertain that the US “cynically manipulated a Russian threat in an effort to fasten economic control over the entire world.” The Kolkos argue that “Truman and his advisers deliberately exaggerated and misrepresented external reality, provoked and invented crises, and spurned genuine Russian offers to negotiate a détente,” in order to achieve greater world hegemony. Yet, it would be inconceivable that Britain, America’s greatest ally in Western Europe, would not receive aid, especially off the back of the harsh winter of 1946-47. This is because Britain faced an “imminent

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