To what extent did the Marshall Plan aid Western Europe amidst the devastation of post-WWII?
A. Plan of Investigation
As one of the major theatres of the Second World War, Western Europe was left thoroughly ravaged. Conditions were bleak financially and this area was considered to be the most susceptible to communism. Not only was it geographically closest to a Soviet threat, but it was also the most socially vulnerable. This investigation will attempt to answer the following question: To what extent did the Marshall Plan aid Western Europe amidst the devastation of post-WWII? Two main sources including Stephen E. Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley’s Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy ...view middle of the document...
Resources received from Marshall Aid assisted the economic growth of Western Europe. For example, in 1945, only 25,000 tractors were in use on French farms; in 1949, with aid from the Marshall Plan the number of tractors in use grew by 200,000. Similarly, American experts were sent overseas through the Marshall Plan, and at the Doboelman soap factory in Holland, workers were taught how to cut processing time from five days to two hours with new machinery.
The Marshall Plan led to the creation of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation, an organization that would later oversee the economic issues and the distribution of Marshall Aid in Europe.
The Marshall Plan provided a basis for Western European relations that would benefit all parties in the future.
After the February 1948 communist coup in Czechoslovakia, the US feared further communist influence and Soviet penetration into the rest of Europe. As a result, the CIA was directed by the American government to give $1 million to democratic political parties to give them an advantage in the Italian election of 1948. According to CIA operative F. Mark Wyatt “We had bags of money that we delivered to selected politicians, to defray their political expenses, their campaign expenses, for posters, for pamphlets".
In its time of dire need, Europe was extremely thankful of the humanitarian aid the US proposed. As the aftermath of WWII saw much of Europe destroyed, the Marshall Aid sent overseas was received gratefully.
The trade relations fostered between Europe and America through the Marshall Plan led to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which led to increased political, social, economic, and military alliances with nations in Western Europe.
C. Evaluation of Sources
The first source, Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938 (9th Edition, revised and updated through the Presidency of George W. Bush), is an educational book written by Stephen E. Ambrose, a recipient of the prestigious National Humanities Medal and long-time Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans, and Douglas G. Brinkley, a Professor of History at Rice University. The book’s purpose was to provide a concise historical survey of the evolution of American foreign policy since the beginnings of WWII, and how major global events shaped the way Americans viewed their role in the world. This book provides value as it is written in a basic, laymen prose, and is easily...