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

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Liam Fuller

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

The situation in Europe after the Second World War was truly desperate; many states were in ruins due to the devastation that caused unimaginable poverty and distress. At the surface, the US’s plans to help Europe through the Marshall Plan are altruistic; however, looking deeper, the benefits that the US receives are high and rewarding. So much so, that it could be construed that the US had ulterior motives within their altruistic attempt on rebuilding the European Economy and thus benefiting themselves.

During the interwar period, the US had based its foreign affairs on a “policy of glorious isolationism” – a policy that would have separated the US from the affairs of the world that did not concern them. At the end of the Second World War, the US’s view had changed considerably in that they now wanted to help the European Community through ‘the offer of aid through Marshall’s new programme…’ it was ‘made available to all European countries without distinction,’ making it seem that the US were being all inclusive within their scheme to help. At the surface, this would have been altruistic in that Marshall was helping Europe because he saw the devastation left behind from the Second World War. Source D, by Judt shows how the US intended upon creating, ‘multilateral’ trading spheres, and with this, a stronger Europe. The US didn’t want Europe to recover and revert to the situation before the Second World War whereby only a small amount of trade was occurring, instead ‘ the programme obliged European governments to plan ahead and calculate future investment needs, it laid on the a requirement to negotiate and confer not just with the USA but with each other.’ The altruistic approach of the US was to create a self-sufficient area (Europe), that could easily trade and make itself strong. The source by Judt was written over 20 years after the fall of Communism, which disintegrates much of the hostilities that the Cold War had created between the USSR and the USA. Therefore, this source is reliable in that it is calm, and justifies much of what it says. ‘A History of Europe’ does suggest that Judt will not be focusing solely upon the motives of the US; therefore, it poses a lack of usefulness. The plan was expressed ‘to cover all countries “west of Asia” and this expressly covered the Soviet Union.’ This alone adds to the altruism behind the Marshall Plan – by specifically not excluding it from the USSR; which would have certainly been a thing not actively  wanted by the US.

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The Marshall Plan was introduced very quickly as ‘Marshall felt there was no time to lose’.  The swift action of Marshall and his team came about from his visit to Germany where he felt that ‘the recovery of Europe has been far slower than had been expected’ which would indicate the US wanted to provide help for Europe over other reasons such as the reaction of Marshall after visiting Germany. ‘He was shocked by what he saw.  Europe was ruined and – after the coldest winter in record – starving’ and therefore Marshall Aid was introduced. However, ‘Marshall told Truman that all Europe ...

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This is a balanced and well written response that combines the source material with a good level of knowledge and shows awareness of provenance. To make the overall argument stronger, the author could have explained how financially stable states would have been less at risk of communist takeover.