The Marshall Plan - Generosity or "American Imperialism"

Essay by BloopidfudalityHigh School, 11th gradeA+, October 2006

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In June of 1947 the US Secretary of State George Marshall outlined to the world a detailed plan to provide extensive financial aid to the countries of Europe, this soon became known as the Marshall plan. Today many consider the Marshall plan to be the most successful undertaking the US has ever embarked upon, yet despite this there are those who bring into question the true motive behind it. Whether or not there were hidden agendas present, the main of which highlighted as "American Imperialism", is indeed a query brought to light on many an occasion. There are factors present on both sides of this argument of equal magnitude which complicate matters greatly, shying away from basic black and white interpretation. Analysis of details clearly shows both the benevolent as well as the selfish side of the Marshall plan.

Whether or not there were hidden agendas attached to the Marshall Plan, the aid it supplied was absolutely crucial for the wellbeing of the countries on the receiving end as it was given as US Dollars, and according to post-revisionist historian Professor David Painter, it was US Dollars the countries needed most.

Before the WWII Western Europe received most of its fuel, coal and food from Eastern Europe, and manufactured goods from Germany. However now that the war was over, Eastern Europe was under Soviet influence and Germany was in a state of chaos, both incapable of adequate trade with their western neighbours. This led Western Europe to turn to the most organized and able potential trade associate it could see, the United States. Despite the visible availability of resources the US was ready to sell, the cost of it all was paralysing to even think of as Western Europe's economy was suffering as a direct consequence of the...