The end of the Second World War incurred severe losses in both the Axis and Allied Powers, most especially in Germany. With Hitler dead, Europe in the state of calamity, and nations to be demilitarized (or in the case of Germany, de-nazified), restoration and reconfiguration of the European states is crucial for it to recover from the losses. Several plans have been devised by the Allied Powers to ensure the revival of the European continent and ensure that Germany would be removed of Nazi influence. Two plans stood out as a form of recovery plan for Europe: the Marshall and Morgenthau Plans. While both plans would ensure the recovery of Germany and the rest of Western Europe, the Marshall Plan due to its workable policies to rebuilt Western Europe and the benefits it has to the US and the European nations.
With the end of the Second World War, reconstruction and demilitarization of Germany became priority as the economic status of the region is still under debt. The first pronounced plan to address the need for development of the manufacturing and production sector is the Morgenthau Plan named after US Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau (1934-45). The Morgenthau Plan was devised to prevent Germany from becoming a threat once more to the globe, demilitarizing and deindustrializing Germany, converting it into a pastoral economy. While the plan was successful in deindustrializing Germany, the Morgenthau Plan was stopped in 1947 upon the return of ex-President Herbert Hoover showing that Germany, upon his visit, had crippled the country as the agriculture sector (which relied on the support of the industrialization sector) had collapsed entirely. As a result, the US government had proposed a second plan, which was not as harsh as the Morgenthau Plan called the Marshall Plan . Unlike the Morgenthau Plan, the Marshall Plan was one of the key recovery programs given by the American government under President Truman on June 4, 1947 and was also known as the European Recovery Program. The Marshall Plan was proposed due to the possible power vacuum that may occur in destabilized Western Europe should it be left alone for the Soviet Union to claim. It was also created to reindustrialize Germany given the impact of the Morgenthau Plan towards the nation, giving $12.5 million worth of funds under a four-year term system. By 1952, the Marshall Plan became the key to improve Europe’s industrial capability to 35% and their agricultural production to 18% which is higher than their pre-WWII rate. The Marshall Plan also differed from the Morgenthau Plan as it allowed the European countries to agree to the aid provided by the US as a group, thereby making the plan not just concentrates to Germany but also the rest of Western Europe .
The US government had made its intensions clear with the Marshall Plan, aiming the program to prevent all possible threats that would befall on Europe and cause another war. This would cover the spread of communism given that the Soviet Union is growing in power in the region. Greece and Turkey had already been influenced by communist parties. It was also seen as a weapon against the Leftist groups around Europe as they would offer aid to these nations wherein the Leftist are growing strong. The US had also implemented the Marshall Plan because the US wanted the issue of capitalism to be removed from Europe. Experts have agreed that European capitalism is returning back to the region. The US wanted it stopped as it would spark the growing capitalist experiments. The Marshall Plan is the US’ method to stabilize the European continent and gain cooperation from all nations to open up the economy once more for the world. The US also implemented the Plan to ensure that the European economic policies would mimic that of the US economic policies, opening the Europeans to global trading and balanced economies. The US also pushed for the Marshall Plan for the very reason they still see Europe as a fine location to improve their security capacity in the region, adding to their campaign to stop the spread of communism . However, The repercussions of changing the Morgenthau Plan to the Marshall Plan for the denazification of Germany is notable given the concentration of the Plan to improve on the reconstruction rather than total denazification. In the period of Eisenhower’s reign, he saw denazification under the Marshall Plan to be difficult in the side of the United States than those from Britain and France. The Marshall Plan also affected denazification as it concentrated more on eradicating communism than influencing and catching them .
While there were several repercussions regarding the enforcement of the Marshall Plan in Europe, the US government had greatly benefited from the Marshall Plan, especially by the time it was executed throughout Western Europe. The Marshall Plan, under its requirements, made sure that a bulk of the aid money given to Europe would only purchase US exports for the economy. This then opens up the European market for US businessmen and exporters to pursue as the European nations would only purchase their goods given they are in a recovery state. The US, and even Canada, benefited from the Marshall Plan as it enabled both nations to influence and aid Europe to improve their security and development policies. With the renewed vigor of the European businesses and investors, the US greatly benefitted from the Marshall Plan as it now had a partner that can be their strong trading power and introduce new investment and goods .
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