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Comparing And Contrasting The Social & Economic Systems Of Western And Eastern Europe

1710 words - 7 pages

The economic and social systems of Western Europe and the Soviet Eastern bloc in 1945-1955 were very different yet very similar in several ways. The East was definitely trying to reconcile with the West, whereas the West wasn’t as in to interacting with the East after World War II. Based on my new found knowledge of both the West and East of Europe, I can say that from an economic aspect, both received very different treatment from different countries. Because of the Soviet Union’s socialism, countries such as the United States viewed them negatively because of disagreeing opinions on socialism. However, Western Europe was influenced by the United States (making us on their side) therefore receiving better treatment. The West and the Eastern bloc were very different socially as well as economically, yet bared some of the same aspects.
The Marshall Plan was the United States sponsored program designed to rehabilitate the countries of Europe that suffered the incredibly damaging consequences after World War II. Western Europe’s real attitude toward economic union came about when they avoided discussion of a European free trade area, offered to them as an alternative in the Marshall Plan (Rebuilding Europe After World War II). When communist forces took over Czechoslovakia in 1948, the United States Congress realized the seriousness of the Soviet threat to European democracy. They voted for full funding of the European Recovery Program (the Marshall Plan). The USSR rejected contributions from the Marshall Plan, due to the conditions that accompanied it, such as allowing United States supervision of the participant's economy, and to be part of a unified European economy based on free trade (European-United States History). Under the Marshall Plan, the United States provided 'friendly' governments in Europe between 1948 and 1952 and succeeded in stimulating the reconstruction of capitalism (Post-World War II, Cold-War Era in Europe). This shows how Western Europe and Eastern Europe had different ways of dealing with the Marshall Plan, yet still received most of the same help from other countries (The Aftermath of the Second World War). The Marshall Plan, along with COMECON, was an economic organization that changed how the involved countries functioned.
Soviet dominance further tied other Eastern Bloc economies to Moscow via the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance or COMECON, which determined countries' investment allocations and the products that would be traded within Eastern Bloc (Turnock, David). Although COMECON was initiated in 1949, its role became ambiguous because Stalin preferred more direct links with other party chiefs than the indirect sophistication of the Council; it played no significant role in the 1950s in economic planning (Frucht, Richard C). The COMECON countries were to get none of the Marshall Plan’s aid and all trade between the two halves of Europe ceased. Overall, COMECON did not have much of a success compared to the...

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