What was the significance of the Marshall Plan on Post-war Europe? *FOURTH DRAFT* September 2,

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What was the significance of the Marshall Plan on Post-war Europe? *FOURTH DRAFT* September 2, 1945, marked the end of the Second World War, a day in which soldiers could finally leave foreign shores for home, but they would soon discover that home was not how they left it. For World War II had taken its toll on Europe. On both sides all that had been built before now lay in ruin and desolation, with economic disaster and extreme poverty now left to govern its inhabitants. Industrial production was critically low, a staggering amount of people were left either unemployed or homeless and most major cities, industrial facilities and transportation systems had been critically destroyed, leaving Europe’s infrastructure in a state of disarray.…show more content…
It was “the most staggering and portentous experiment in the entire history of our foreign policy,” the young Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., who served on its staff, wrote. It “saved us from catastrophe,” a manager at Europe’s largest tire factory declared. But under the scrutiny of modern historians the importance of the Marshall plan is claimed to be overstated, was Europe really in such a dire state of affairs that it required such a boost just to stay afloat? Or was it simply America’s chance to exert pressure and influence on one of its biggest economic partners whilst also keeping the threat of communism at bay? That is the question I shall be posing during the course of this essay. From 1948 (the year that the plan was implemented) to 1952 (the year that Europe declared it would no longer require Marshall Aid) Europe experienced the fastest rate of growth in its history. Industrial and agricultural production increased by 30% of the pre-war levels and the standard of living¬¬ improved dramatically. Western Europe was set to commence two decades of unprecedented growth. This is exactly what the Marshall Plan had aimed to achieve, not wanting to just send a lump sum of $13 billion and be done with it, America set out to rejuvenate the European economies in a number of ways. They did this by providing European markets with experts, new machines and breakthrough technology which helped to push industrial and
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