The goal of the Marshall Plan, also known as the European Recovery Program, was to rebuild the economies of Europe that were decimated by World War II. The United States also hoped that stabilizing Western European economies would hinder the growth of communist parties and establish markets for American exports.
Secretary of State George Marshall announced the plan in June 1947. A special bureau known as the Economic Cooperation Administration oversaw distribution of the roughly $13 billion in grants and loans that made up the program. The Committee of European Economic Cooperation, later known as the Organization for European Economic Cooperation, oversaw European participation in the project. Within a short time, the plan achieved notable success. European industry and agriculture quickly recovered from wartime damage. Nations receiving aid recorded economic growth rates of 15 to 25 percent.
The United States offered the benefits of the Marshall Plan to the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe as well. However, the Soviet Union saw it as internal interference and rejected the aid. Although several East European nations wanted to be part of the plan, the Soviet Union forbade their participation. This increased the contrast between the recovering western economies and the impoverished eastern ones and weakened communist parties in the West.