The Marshall Plan For The Cold War

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How was the Marshall Plan decisive in the start of the cold war?
By: Karan Arora
Word count:1560

A. Plan of Investigation
The Marshall Plan was an American initiative to aid Western Europe, in which the United States gave $13 billion in economic support to help rebuild Western European economies after the end of World War II. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1947. The goals of the United States were to rebuild war-devastated regions, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, and make Europe prosperous again. It also aimed at promoting business in the United States by providing a strong market for Europe. But Russian Historians believed that there was more to the plan than just American …show more content…

(wikibooks). In a June 5, 1947, speech to the graduating class at Harvard University, Secretary of State George C. Marshall issued a call for a comprehensive program to rebuild Europe.(containment of Marshall plan). Due to the fear of Communist expansion and the rapid deterioration of European economies in the winter of 1946–1947, Congress passed the Economic Cooperation Act in March 1948 and approved funding that would eventually rise to over $12 billion for the rebuilding of Western Europe.(history state) After Marshall’s announcement, three requirements in his proposal became essential for the U.S. as the design of the recovery program developed.(UNH) First, the initiative must come from Europe, it must be evolved in Europe, and Europeans must be held responsible for it.(UNH) Second, the program must be collaborative and European nations must form a coalition from which a comprehensive plan could be developed. And finally, the program must be self-sufficient (UNH) Officially initiated on April 3, 1948, the Marshall Plan became the largest economic recovery effort in human history. Without the economic aid provided by the Marshall Plan, it is questionable whether the devastated countries of Europe could have recovered to where they are today.
Historians have taken a more critical position regarding the Marshall Plan’s overall legacy. The major aspect being questioned is the Marshall Plan’s focus on Western Europe, which critics claim contributed to the Cold War.(UNH)

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