The Marshall Plan, which is also known as the European Recovery Plan, was a plan enacted by the United States after the end of World War II in 1947. The aim of the plan was to help in the rebuilding efforts in Europe, which was devastated by the war. The proponent of the plan was George Marshall, the US Secretary of State at that time and after which the plan was named. Other people who were credited with helping establish the plan were William Clayton and George Kennan.
The Marshall Plan’s objective to help Europe recover from the effects of the world war was just one part of the plan. Another part of the plan was aimed at preventing communism from taking a hold in the other European countries that were just starting to pick itself up from the rubbles. There were some countries who refused help while other got very little help. For example, in Japan aid was not given. The USSR was offered aid but the country refused it.
West Germany was offered aid through the Marshall Plan but it was the UK and France that received the most aid – about 200 million dollars each. Other countries that were able to receive aid for reconstruction efforts were Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Greece, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Turkey and Switzerland.
The Marshall Plan was a success in that it helped in starting economic recovery in the countries that received help. It was also seen as one factor in the eventual formation of a union of the European countries. This was considered an important step because it would help prevent any future wars between European countries.