What Was the Purpose of the Marshall Plan?

The Marshall Plan was a federal rescue plan developed to allow the United States to assist European nations on both sides of the war in rebuilding damaged industry and infrastructure in the wake of World War II; the secondary goal of the Marshall Plan was to help prevent the growth of Communist influence in the war-ravaged areas. Under the Marshall Plan, the United States gave $17 billion to European countries beginning in 1948. Named for Secretary of State George Marshall, who served under President Harry Truman, the Marshall Plan had widespread bipartisan support in the Federal Government.

Countries impacted by the Marshall Plan included Portugal, Italy, East Germany, France, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Greece. Though the Soviet Union was initially open to the plan, Stalin eventually rejected cooperation with the Marshall Plan under fear that the plan would lead to the deepening of anti-Soviet sentiment. The Marshall Plan was widely successful in helping to rebuild infrastructure and reinvigorate European industry, bringing about a quicker global recovery from the devastation caused by World War II. In addition to having clear benefits for the European beneficiaries of the plan, the Marshall Plan was also beneficial to the United States in that it helped to create markets for American-made goods.