Marshall Plan Research Paper

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The Marshall Plan was an American initiative to aid Europe, in which the United States gave $13 billion in economic support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948. The goals of the United States were to rebuild war-devastated regions, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, make Europe prosperous again, and prevent the spread of communism. The plan required a decreasing of interstate barriers, a dropping of many petty regulations constraining business, and encouraged an increase in productivity, labor union membership, as well as the adoption of modern business procedures.
The Marshall Plan aid was divided amongst the participant states roughly …show more content…

Making the plan reality required negotiations among the participating nations, and to get the plan through the United States Congress. Sixteen nations met in Paris to determine what form the American aid would take, and how it would be divided. The negotiations were long and complex, with each nation having its own interests. France's major concern was that Germany not be rebuilt to its previous threatening power. The Benelux countries, despite also suffering under the Nazis, had long been closely linked to the German economy and felt their prosperity depended on its revival. The Scandinavian nations, especially Sweden, insisted that their long-standing trading relationships with the Eastern bloc nations not be disrupted and that their neutrality not be overstepped. The United Kingdom insisted on special status as a longstanding belligerent during the war, concerned that if it were treated equally with the devastated continental powers it would receive virtually no aid. The Americans were pushing the importance of free trade and European unity to form a barricade against communism. The Truman administration, represented by William L. Clayton, promised the Europeans that they would be free to structure the plan themselves, but the administration also reminded the Europeans that implementation depended on the plan's passage through Congress. A majority of …show more content…

The Europeans asked for $22 million in aid. President Truman cut this to $17 billion in the bill he put to Congress. The plan encountered sharp opposition in Congress, mostly from the portion of the Republican Party led by Robert A. Taft that was weary of massive government spending. The plan also had opponents on the left, Henry A. Wallace notably among them. Wallace saw the plan as a subsidy for American exporters and sure to polarize the world between East and West. However, opposition against the Marshall Plan was greatly reduced by the shock of the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia in February 1948. Not long after, a bill granting an initial $5 billion passed Congress with strong bipartisan support. Congress would eventually allocate $12.4 billion in aid over the four years of the

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