Why did the U.S. advocate the Marshall Plan for the European nations?


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The United States advocated this plan as a way to contain communism.

After WWII, the economies of Western Europe were devastated.  The bombing and other fighting had destroyed much of the physical infrastructure of the region as well as killing and wounding millions.  This left the countries of the region in perilous economic condition.

The United States did not think this was good for the world.  Most importantly, they felt that countries that were economically weak and socially devastated would be fertile ground for communist insurgencies.  They felt that helping the economies to recover would make the people of the countries more content with democracy and capitalism and less likely to become communist.

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Why did the US pursue the Marshall Plan for European nations?

The European economy was completely devastated after World War II, along with the infrastructure to support economic development in many nations. The United States had already provided some reconstruction assistance, but recovery came very slowly, bottoming out in 1947. As a consequence, Communist parties began to attract more members in many western European nations, especially in Italy and France.

The Marshall Plan was an attempt to inject capital into these ailing economies, which threatened the global economy as well as the US strategic position in Europe. Proposed by Secretary of State George Marshall, it allocated about 13 billion dollars in aid to western European nations. The Soviets and their satellite states in Eastern Europe were also offered aid, but declined. (Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia, who had diverged from Stalin, was a notable exception.) The aid helped to underwrite a rapid, almost miraculous economic recovery in Western Europe, as well as fostering a sense of unity on economic matters. The Organization for European Economic Cooperation was formed to cooperate on issues relating to recovery. 

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