The interpretations that will be analyzing argue whether the Marshall Plan was mainly motivated by the altruistic desire to help the economic recovery of Europe. It is my view that nothing is altruistic and that every action has varying degrees of a self- beneficial motive.
Michael Buffalo writes in The Adversaries’ published in 1981 his view that the Marshall plan was a protective device against that potential spread of communism. Buffalo suggests that hunger due to economic downfall results in people turning to communism for a solution to their hardship.However, Buffalo did not think that the Marshall Plan alone was strong enough to deter communism, he envisaged a plan to boost capitalism and build a strong military presence in Europe. In the passage, Buffalo admits that .. He Plan would never had been granted by congress unless a considerable amount of emphasis had been laid on the danger of communism in Europe” . The US does not want to conclude World War Two by entering into an ideological war with communism, therefore congress would vote against any action that could be viewed as taking an offensive maneuver against communism – more specifically, the Soviet Union.
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This extract brings into question the validity of any reference that Buffalo makes about the threat of communism because evidence or strategies presented before congress would be exaggerated or modified in other ways to try to invoice them to take action against communism. One non-aggressive action that Buffalo suggests is to “… Win the mouths and minds of the West European peoples so as to prevent them from turning communist” . It was common knowledge that Greece and Turkey especially were facing a very rapid increase in poverty, with many families unable to feed themselves. Marshall himself thought that poverty was a breeding ground for communism”.
If the people of Europe saw capitalism as a reliable means of sustainability during times of economic hardship, they would be less inclined to turn to communism as the solution to their hunger. Buffalo goes on to say that the Marshall Plan was initially motivated by soft tactics to defend against communism, but “… Later came to be given a more military significance” Buffalo saw Rupee’s Great Powers (Britain and France) as crippled and weak. Britain’s economy was devastated after the war and France had been ravaged by the prolonged Nazi occupation.Buffalo saw the plan as a means Of [Providing] armies which would be strong enough.
.. To recover the position which had been lost between 1944 and 1947″ . J. C. Caddis agrees with Buffalo that “the greatest threat to western interests was..
. The risk that anger, poverty, and despair might cause Europeans to vote their own communists into office. ” It was not the external communism force from the Soviet Join that was the biggest concern, rather than the small, but slowly growing, communist groups within the European nations themselves that was the issue.However, Caddis does not mention any military significance or motivation to the Marshall Plan. Speaking in 2003, Secretary of State Colic Powell explains that if you only have hard power (referring to military power) then you are often faced with situations that are impossible to resolve. ” ..
. It was not soft power that freed Europe. It was hard power. And what followed immediately after hard power? Did the United States ask for dominion over a single nation in Europe? No. Soft power came in the Marshall Plan. (Powell, 2003). This challenges Buffalos view that the Marshall Plan later accumulated a military motive (hard power) by saying that any military involvement would not help Europe recover after the World War.
Buffalo’s interpretation of the Marshall Plan being a tool to prevent the spread of communism throughout Europe is backed up by providing details of real threats to capitalism in Europe and how the Marshall Plan was used to eliminate those threats whilst also aiding Rupee’s recovery using soft tactics.Although the military significance is disputed, Buffalo gives an interpretation of the Marshall Plan not being altruistic. The “Long Telegram” identified the Soviet Union’s growing hostility of the nations of Europe, but did not offer a solution to the threat of communism. The European Recovery Programmer was the answer to the problem. It is the interpretation of J. L. Caddis, writing in ‘The Cold War, published in 2003, that it was a political grand strategy for gaining political superiority in the emerging cold war through economic means.
As mentioned in the previous arcograph, Caddis sees the main threat that nation’s own communist parties will be elected into office as a result of hunger and despair. The communist parties who would rise to power “… Would obediently serve Moscow wishes” . This was a good strategy implemented in various situations by the Soviet Union to gain control of a nation without any direct involvement regarding the capture of the country, but instead would use communism as a natural link between both states. Naturally, the Soviet Union would take the leading role, influencing communist nation’s politics.
Caddis views that Marshall plan s a remedy to this problem by offering an alternative to voting communism and stopping people thinking of communism as a solution in the first place: “… American economic assistance would produce immediate psychological benefits and later material ones that would reverse this trend” . Caddis goes on to say that such an act would put more strain on the Unites States-Soviet Union relationship as Stalin would not allow such aid to be given to satellite states “…
And that the USA could then seize the geopolitical and the moral initiative in the emerging Cold War” .Caddis identifies that the US did not offer Marshall Aid exclusively to Europe, but also offered financial assistance to the Soviet Union. This could be viewed as a tourist because in offering aid to the Soviet Union, the Plan no longer acts against communism. However, The United States only offered Stalin aid because they knew that he would never accept it; therefore the Marshall plan could take an offensive stance against communism whilst under the guise of offering impartial, altruistic assistance to all nations, capitalist and communist alike.The fear of elected communist parties being controlled by the Soviet Union was entirely justified. Founded in 1947, the Communist Information Bureau was an official forum of the international communist movement. Its intended purpose was to coordinate actions between Communist parties under Soviet direction .
This supports the view that the Marshall Plan was used to stop independent communist parties in Europe from rising to power and eventually uniting under one banner. Caddis’ interpretation supports Buffalo’s interpretation by identifying the threat of poverty encouraging support of communist movements.Furthermore, it presents the Marshall plan as a solution to this problem, whilst providing economic assistance to Europe. Therefore, it is Caddis’ view that the Marshall Plan did not have an altruistic motive, but an altruistic disguise. It is the interpretation of Martin McCauley, writing in ‘The Origins of the Cold War, published in 1 983, that the Marshall Plan was a way of uniting Europe both politically and economically. It would unite Europe through a united capitalist market by providing aid to Europe as one single entity, rather than to offer assistance to individual divisions within Europe.McCauley says that “.
.. Small economic units in a divided Europe could not prosper; Europe had to unite so as to provide a market large enough to justify modern mass- production techniques” . During the war, America’s economy boomed as they sold countless war supplies to the allied forces. The US economy relies on a strong European economy to trade with. The growth of communism throughout Europe can be seen as America’s trade market decreasing. Objectively, a strong capitalist European economy would take an increasing amount of IIS goods, benefiting the US economy.
Moreover, “… Strong Europe would be a powerful bulwark against communist expansion” . If Europe as a single entity is united by capitalism, communism will find it incredibly difficult to establish a foothold. On the other hand, if the Marshall Plan was to only offer aid to a number of individual entities within Europe, there are gaps in the defensive barrier (capitalism) that communism could take. Macaulay’s interpretation is challenged by Tony Judd; The fact that money from Marshall Aid was to be confined to the West.
.. Made it easier for Truman to secure passage [of the Marshall Plan] through congress” .This is similar to what Buffalo says in his interpretation (that information had to be manipulated in such a way so that congress would not see the Marshall Plan s an offensive strategy against eastern communism). Judd goes on to say that Marshall Aid was to be offered to countries without distinction between capitalists and communists. This challenges the view that Marshall Aid was introduced to unite Europe under capitalism. On the other hand, there are statistics that show the expansion of Rupee’s economy as a result of funding from the US; .
..Economic assistance given to Europe amounted to a small percentage (1. 2%) of US gross national product, [but] it produced good results in Europe… Rupee’s GNP rose from about $1 20 billion in 1947 to almost $1 60 lion in 1951″ .
McCauley interpretation is altruistic to a point. He views the Marshall Plan as a means to solve Rupee’s economic problems collectively whilst keeping countries such as France secure. However, the fact that a strong economy in Europe correlates to a strong American economy cannot be ignored. Overall, McCauley interpretation is not altruistic.Tony Just interpretation is the most altruistic of the four and is similar to McCauley interpretation. Judd argues that the motive behind Marshall Aid was to reform the European economy as a whole and to promote free trade ND prosperity in Europe. Judd tells us that initially congress was told that Marshall Aid was to be exclusive to Western Europe to persuade congress to support the motion.
However this soon changed; “In June 1 947… The offer of aid through Marshal’s new programmer was made to all European countries without distinction” .In addition, the US supported European countries tremendously. ‘ ‘The programmer obliged governments to plan ahead and calculate future investment needs..
. It [introduced constraints] to collaborate in planning increased rates of output and conditions likely to facilitate them… The ‘productivity missions’ funded by the Marshall Plan , brought to the LOS many thousands Of managers, technicians and trade unions to study the American way of business” . This was so much more than merely offering Europe financial aid, it was indeed the economic reform of Europe.McCauley only goes as far as to say that America gave Europe money so that the economy would grow.
This is not altruistic as the growth in the European economy would boost the US economy in turn. The small investment would yield a far greater return. However, if that small investment was something much more than simply 1 of America’s gross national product, but additional assistance in the form of the implementation of plans and teaching foreign workers how to prosper as a business, the interpretation becomes more supportive of the Marshall Plan having an altruistic motive.