What were the goals of the Marshall Plan?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Marshall Plan, which provided billions of dollars in aid to post-World War II Europe, had several objectives. The first was to assist in the rebuilding effort in these countries, whose economies, infrastructures, and governments had been left in shambles after the war. To that end, the US gave out almost 15 billion dollars in aid to these war-torn nations. This proved very effective in promoting recovery in the region. But the Soviet Union perceived the aid as an attempt at expanding American influence in the region, and it became a major source of tension between the two superpowers, especially as American dollars funded the West German economy and promoted remarkable economic recovery there. This, in fact, was a goal of the Plan. American leaders hoped that by promoting economic recovery, they might reduce the appeal of communism to people in the region. But the Marshall Plan had still another goal--to promote American economic growth. American investment and dollars created a market for American manufactured goods, helping to avert an economic downturn in the United States after the war. This is why the Marshall Plan is sometimes called the "New Deal for Europe." Like the New Deal under President Franklin Roosevelt, the Marshall Plan sought to create demand by spending government money. Finally, a purpose of the plan was to organize the European economy in such a way as to make it easier to manage. The Marshall Plan was actually a major step on the road to a unified European market. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Marshall Plan had two interrelated goals.  The Plan was intended to improve the economic situations of the countries of Western Europe and, at the same time, to discourage them from embracing communism.

After WWII, the countries of Europe were badly damaged.  The US was worried that their damaged economies, and the poverty caused by that damage, would cause those countries' citizens to be interested in becoming communist.  The US was afraid that this would lead to the Soviet Union dominating all of continental Europe.

Because of this fear (and because of a sincere desire to help), the US gave huge amounts of aid to the European countries.  This aid was meant to help reduce poverty and, thereby, the incentive that the Europeans would have to turn to communism.

moustacio | Student

The Marshall Plan formulated under the Truman Doctrine aimed to provide economic assistance to European nations that were in the midst of post-war reconstruction. The Americans also sought to use the plan as an attempt to contain the spread of Soviet influence on the European continent, especially in Eastern Europe. This was achieved through the establishment of economic ties with the US, which in effect would break any bonds these states had with the USSR. Policy-makers also sought to use the economic recovery of European nations as an outlet for the excess industrial output the American economy was generating.

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