The Marshall Plan in Economic Perspective: Goals and Accomplishments
Although the Marshall Plan (1948–1951) was conceived as, and may properly be perceived as an instrument of American foreign policy, it was essentially an economic enterprise—an enterprise consisting of a substantial transfer of financial and technical resources from the United States to a group of West European countries for the purpose of aiding the latter to pursue specific economic tasks and reach specific economic goals within a prescribed period of time. It is shown here that only some of the goals mandated by the U.S. Congress and targeted by the European countries were actually achieved by the time the Marshall Plan ended. But it is also argued that the significance of the Marshall Plan as an economic program lies not so much in its immediate short-term economic results as in its long term impact. For what it did was to lay a firm basis from which the European nations could generate their own economic momentum and reach a point of self sustaining economic growth in the decades following the termination of the Marshall Plan itself.
KeywordsEurope American Ideal Nite Alan Plague
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