How the United States helped rebuild Europe: The Marshall Plan

Posted: April 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

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After WWII much of Europe was destroyed.  This included its infrastructure for industry.  This caused obviously depression in their economies and the people struggled.  There were great resource shortages like coal for heating and even food.  Much of Europe truly struggled to rebuild.

During this post war area, western countries, especially the United States, feared the  spread of Communism from Russia and it’s allies into Western Europe because of its weakened state.   In 1948, President Harry Truman signed the Marshall Plan, aka The European Recovery Program, to help the European nations rebound.  The Cold War with Russian had started a few years earlier so the Marshall Plan was designed to help rebuild the European nations to allow them to stand on their own.  The United States felt they could not afford to allow communism to spread into its European allies.

marshall_plan_UN

The Marshall Plan gave $13 Billion in aid to 16 European nations over the span of over three years.  The money was not used to rebuild factories and infrastructure to the way it was pre-war, but to rebuild with the future in mind.  Brand new state of the art factories were built.  Workers were taught new manufacturing skills and processes that the United States had pioneered.  The Marshall Plan also provided food and other resources needed by the people of Europe to survive.  Many economists aren’t positive that the Marshall Plan was the sole reason for the European resurgence post WWII but the nations involved came roaring back and greatly prospered for decades after the war.DIVI594

Interestingly enough, Russia and its allies were offered to be a part of the Marshall plan.  Communist leaders denied this assistance, as they did not want to give up control, or feel they owed anything to the United States.

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/marshall_plan/index.html

http://www.marshallfoundation.org/TheMarshallPlan.htm

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