Key Question 4: Who was to blame for the Cold War?

The Marshall Plan, June 1947

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The Marshall Plan, June 1947
What was it?

A programme of aid to help war-torn Europe to re-equip its factories and revive agriculture and trade.

  1. The USA offered money, equipment and goods to states willing to work together to create economic recovery.

  2. In return, they would agree to buy American goods and allow American companies to invest capital in their industries

  3. Marshall invited European states to meet together and decide how to use American aid

What did the USA aim to achieve?

A strong and prosperous Europe to bring:

  1. economic benefits to both the Europeans and the USA through the revival of trade

  2. political benefits. The Americans believed that unless living conditions in Western Europe improved quickly, people might vote for Communist Parties. Prosperous countries would resist the spread of Communism.

What were the consequences?

  1. Sixteen Western European states set up the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) to put the Plan into action

  2. By 1953, the USA had provided 17 billion dollars to help them rebuild their economies.

  3. Europe became firmly divided between East and West.

  4. Stalin accused the USA of using the Plan to dominate Europe and create a strong West German state hostile to the USSR.

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