The Reason of Marshall Plan

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In June 5th, 1947, Marshall declared a famous speech in Harvard University. The idea of providing economic aid to the all Europe came on the scene. Between 1948 and the end of 1951, United States channeled $12.3 billion aid to Western Europe including grants, loans and in-kind transfer. The effects of Marshall Plan are all-encompassing, for example, contributing to the cold war, helping the recovery of European economy and European integration. Someone called in question about its necessity, someone embraced it as the saver of the world. It is wondered what is the deep reason that pushed America to launch the plan. Though many scholars have written about this topic, this paper will call for reassessment of the existing literature based on recent findings, new methodologies. This essay will specifically argue that the main reasons of the launch of Marshall Plan are the threats of communism and the interweaving interest’s network of America and Europe. In the first part, it will display the urgency of 1947 European crisis. In the next part, it will focus on the threats from the communism and inferred with the Truman doctrine declared before. Next, it will analyze the short-term and long-term interests that America could gain from the plan.

After the World War II, the Europe showed a sign of fast recovery at the beginning, and soon faced with increasingly worsening situation. Within several months after the war, through large scale reconstruction of the infrastructure, the industry recovered quickly. People were drowned in the prospect of peace and happiness of a fresh start. However, the limits on the raw material and lack of the energy supply constrained the recovery soon. Further worse, during the winter of 1947, because of the heavy snow, roads, bridges, rail links, and water ways were impassible, hindering the obtaining of raw material and transportation of the products. The thawing snows also flooded coal mines, making the production of steel fell backward significantly. The summer of same year, was called the hottest and driest since records began, and the drought reduced supplies of hydroelectric power. Disillusionment of hopes and desperation hung over people’s hearts. The European crisis of 1947 was more than the misfortune of natural disaster. The disappearance of Germany from the economy is a deeper reason beneath the desperation. During pre-war period, Germany was the main market of European economy. By 1939, the Germany held 38% of Greece exports and one third imports. During pre-war period, the German Ruhr area exported large amounts of coal to France used for the production of steel. Substitute for Germany, America became the main exporting country to Europe. However, another problem came, the dollar crisis. Most European countries imported large amounts of food, coal and raw materials from America, but they have nothing to sell back. France carried $2049 million of payment deficit for buying coal from America annually. The heavy national debts carried by the country brought about the inflation and eroded the confidence of currency.

Marshall said in his radio speech: ‘the patient is sinking while the doctors deliberate. So I believe that action cannot await compromise through exhaustion. New issues arise daily. Whatever action is possible to meet these pressing problems must be taken without delay.’ Marshall claimed that the severe of crisis of Europe and the disagreement between two blocks pushed Marshall or the America to make such choice. Though the plan was initially directed to both eastern and western European countries, it is argued that Marshall knew the refusal of Soviet Union in advance, because soviet had been always against any activity of Germany industry construction and stressed the importance of reparation.Hitchcock argued in his article that the primary trigger of the Marshall Plan was ‘the failure of American policy in occupied Germany’ and the ambition of the European recovery...
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