How The Marshall Plan Helped Ireland After Ww2

1463 words - 6 pages

"I need not tell you gentlemen that the world situation is very serious. That must be apparent to all intelligent people. I think one difficulty is that the problem is one of such enormous complexity that the very mass of facts presented to the public by press and radio make it exceedingly difficult for the man in the street to reach a clear appraisement of the situation. Furthermore, the people of this country are distant from the troubled areas of the earth and it is hard for them to comprehend the plight and consequent reaction of the long-suffering peoples, and the effect of those reactions on their governments in connection with our efforts to promote peace in the world.This is the first paragraph of a very famous speech:On June 5, 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall spoke at Harvard University and outlined what would become known as the Marshall Plan. Europe, still devastated by the war, had just survived one of the worst winters on record. The nations of Europe had nothing to sell for hard currency, and the democratic socialist governments in most countries were unwilling to adopt the draconian proposals for recovery advocated by old-line classical economists. Something had to be done, both for humanitarian reasons and also to stop the potential spread of communism westwardThe United States offered up to $20 billion for relief, but only if the European nations could get together and draw up a rational plan on how they would use the aid. For the first time, they would have to act as a single economic unit; they would have to cooperate with each other. Ireland though not as obviously affected by the war as other European states would also receive aid.The Marshall Plan was essentially needed to avert an economic catastrophe in Europe, but that didn't account completely for American generosity. The Plan, it should also be noted, benefited the American economy as well. The money would be used to buy goods from the United States, and they had to be shipped across the Atlantic on American merchant vessels. In the aftermath of war, Europe was on its knees both structurally and economically. In this vulnerable state America viewed the threat of Communism to Europe as a very real one. This of course also represented a threat to American ideology and interests. Marshall Aid would serve as an incentive for Europe to continue in a democratic system and as reward for the countries that fought to uphold these democratic principles.De Valera had kept Ireland out of the war and made it neutral in regard to the conflict. The United States viewed this stance of neutrality with revulsion and hostility. However in the post-war cooling of relations between the United States and Russia, Ireland's importance was paramount. The Americans certainly didn't want to risk the possibility of Ireland being used as a base for the Russians to launch an attack. For this reason the CIA and the State Department wanted Ireland "onside" and part of the Marshall Plan....

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