What is Marshall Plan?

Marshall Plan is the popular name with which the European Recovery Program (ERP) is known, that is, the European recovery program that was launched after the Second World War.

The Marshall Plan was a financial aid system granted by the United States of America to Western Europe, aimed at the restructuring of the productive apparatus and the stimulation and revitalization of the economy, after the contraction and fall of the war.

It receives the name of Marshall Plan by its ideologist, George Marshall, who then exerted the position of Secretary of the United States, during the administration of president Harry Truman. The Plan fit into the policy called Truman Doctrine , anti-communist vocation.

Marshall announced the plan at the Paris Conference of 1947, which was rejected by the communist bloc as an imperialist initiative.

In 1948, the European Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECE) was created to execute the project. Until 1952, financial aid was given for about 13 billion dollars in total.


Objectives of the Marshall Plan


Recovery of the European economy

The declared purpose of the Marshall Plan was to recover the economy of Western Europe, which not only brutally lost millions of people, but also saw the destruction of 50% of the industrial park, as well as the destruction of agricultural production.

Expansion and strengthening of the North American capitalist economy

Although the USA had participated in the war, the geographical distance was favorable to the development of its economy, whose process was not interrupted, except for the Japanese attack on the naval base of Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii. Thus, at the end of the conflict, the country had consolidated economically but needed to expand its markets to continue growing.

The Marshall Plan was a double economic benefit for the United States: the first, as a creditor of Europe, consisted in receiving interest on the debt. The second, guaranteeing a place as an exporter of raw materials and products in Europe, which was only possible if Europe recovered.

Containment of communism

After the end of the Second World War, several sectors of European countries began to sympathize with the communist model.

An advanced Communist in the West would have affected the commercial alliances of the North Americans in Europe and the Mediterranean, door of Africa. Therefore, the Americans preferred to strengthen the capitalist economy and, with it, the western liberal democracies of the region.


Countries that received the Marshall Plan

There were several countries that received the help of the Marshall Plan. Some of them did not participate directly in the conflict, but were equally affected, both by international agreements that required support, and by the destruction of production, distribution and trade networks.

Among the beneficiary countries we can mention the following: Western Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Trieste and Turkey.

Spain was the only country in Western Europe that did not receive financial assistance from the Marshall Plan. This was because Franco's policies after the Spanish Civil War tended to autarchism and protectionism. Still, USA he offered some financial support to the regime, guarantee of the containment of communism.