Marshall Plan Interpretation

18b. The Marshall Plan
Using these four passages and your own knowledge, assess the view that the US policy of Marshall in 1947 was motivated mainly by the altruistic desire to help the economic recovery of Europe.

[40 marks]

Interpretation A: This historian is sympathetic to Russia seeing the Marshall Plan as part of a
generally hostile plan to boost capitalism.
A main objective of the Marshall Plan had been to win the mouths and minds of the West European peoples so as to prevent them from turning Communist. The money needed for the Plan would never have been granted by Congress unless a considerable amount of emphasis had been laid on the danger of Communism in Europe and on the significance of US aid as a protective device. The Russians can hardly be blamed for interpreting the Plan as an attempt to halt their advance and limit their influence. Western capitalism, which had been on the point of justifying Marxist predictions by collapsing, was being resuscitated and given a prosperity highly alluring to countries on the fringe of the USSR. Molotov at Paris, in the conference of 22 June 1947 which he walked out of in protest, had represented Marshall Aid as an attempt by American capitalists to capture additional markets and thus avoid depression. But the Plan later came to be given a more military significance. Its intention was seen as being to recreate the military power of Western Europe, enable Britain and France to resume their roles as Great Powers and provide armies which would be strong enough, especially when backed by American atomic weapons, to recover the position which had been lost between 1944 and 1947.
From: Michael Balfour, The Adversaries, published in 1981.

Interpretation B: This historian sees economic and political concerns being interlinked in the...