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The European Recovery Program (ERP), popularly known as Marshall plan, in honor of the United States Secretary of State George marshall (the main man behind its design), was an economic recovery program organized by the United States for the reconstruction of European countries after the Second World War.
The Marshall Plan was born with the intention of helping in the rebuilding crippled Western Europe after the Second Great War.
It was Europe, and not the United States (except the Pearl Harbor incident), which had to bear in its territory the weight of the Nazi conquest attempt. As a result of the conflict it had been ruined, while North America had suffered little damage.
Reasons for the implementation of the Marshall Plan
It is said that this was one of the reasons why the President Harry Truman, feeling somehow indebted to the continent, programmed the pretentious plan of economic recovery of old Europe, but the truth is that the motives were not as naive and noble as they are intended.
The main stumbling block that the United States wanted to remedy was the rise of communist policies in Europe.
The post war world
Behind the WWII, the blocks that had emerged strengthened were, on the one hand, the United States with a capitalist political model and on the other, the Soviet Union with a Communist political-social organization.
Two antagonistic systems doomed to face off in the decades after.
Italy had a party with a strong communist conception and France, ruled at that time by a coalition government, also had members of the communist party among its ranks.
In addition, there was the problem of East Germany, a dangerous breeding ground for the expansion of Soviet ideas and policies.
Let's imagine how little grace he did to Truman the idea that the weakened Europe fell into the hands of governments of communist ideology, leaving North America isolated from its old allies and surrounded by governments of Soviet affinity.
The strategic threat
On the other hand, there was a threat of a strategic nature that threatened to disrupt the “status quo” in the Mediterranean and the Indian and Pacific oceans.
The United Kingdom, an old ally of the United States, had maintained a certain hegemony in control of these territories, but the country had been so devastated by the war that he could no longer maintain control of the seas, not without the great British naval army at full capacity.
The loss of territories such as Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar or the Suez Canal it would not benefit the United States at all.
The fear that they would fall into the hands of the new and incipient satellite countries of the Soviet Union was well founded, and that risk must be avoided at all costs.
In another vein, the Marshall Plan it was itself a powerful “feedback effect” for the feedback of the American economy.
¿Why? Well the reason we find it in the American capitalist economic system itself, based on the immovable forces of supply and demand.
Autarky It was a system of survival but not of growth and economic expansion, so they had to export their products to grow and a weakened Europe could not trade with them.
Thus, if the European infrastructures were recovered, the demand for products and materials would begin to grow and the United States would become the main exporter.
In addition to it, North America was configured as the banker of Europe, and the old continent not only had to repay the loans and their interests, but also had to face certain American demands in the commercial sphere.
So the economic balance of the following decades tilted in favor of the United States. After all, Europe owed him its recovery.
For all this,the Marshall Plan was of vital importance for the European economic recovery, but at the same time, the help provided by Truman managed to maintain American hegemony during the following decades, making the United States the great power that it is today.