The Reconstruction of Europe after the War

In 1945, after six devastating years of war, Europe's major cities such as Warsaw, Poland, and Berlin, Germany, were left in ruins from the assaults of World War II bombardments. If cities had not been leveled, they were certainly damaged quite badly. Immediately following the war, the European economy had declined so much due to the fact that industrial cities were targets from the Nazi regime, and of course, for the Allied forces, all German controlled cities were bombarded with aerial assaults to cripple the Nazi's regeneration of vital supplies; factories that created goods for the war effort such as vehicles, weapons and food.

A successful war strategy in a war of attrition, means that one country must eliminate their enemy's ability to re-mobilize and regenerate their supplies and numbers. As a result of Europe being the battleground, many millions of survivors of WWII had been without residence. No food, and the little help from the United States at the time was still not enough to keep Europeans from starvation.

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Of course England and France had better conditions than citizens of Poland or Germany because they were the leaders in industrial-manufacturing, there was still little work, little amounts of food, and no reserves to help reconstruct Europe.

When speeches from Secretary of State George Marshall hit the BBC, and other media such as newspapers, led to the United States congress meetings that began the negotiations for the Marshall Plan. George Marshall spoke to Harvard graduating classes, and other important places, he rebounded ideas of successful plans of how the United States can loan money to the countries involved in the destruction of Europe from the second World War.

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Not all countries felt easy about accepting money from the Americans, the Soviets were quite cautious yet still interested in the Marshall Plan.

The Soviets felt that if their economy did collapse, they would trade with enemies of the communists; democratic countries. Stalin was in power at the time, and he felt that under the circumstances, he would be in ultimate control of the aid. Stalin wanted to avoid debt to the Americans at all costs, however, the Americans sent invitation to the Soviet Union knowing they would refuse to accompany other countries at the first Marshall Plan meetings. All the nations in Europe (except Spain) attended the first meeting in July 12, 1947 to discuss the initial terms of the agreement. (Hogan, 99) The United States of America loaned thirteen billion dollars, (in 2006, with adjusted inflation rates, this is approximately $130 billion, (Tom's Inflation Calculator)) to over ten European nations that needed a boost in their economy. The following figure (Table 1.2) shows how much money each country received.

The Marshal Plan takes four years, each year the United States loaned money to different countries based on their industrial ability. All countries have to repay their debt through the creation and distribution of goods to the United States, as well as a small amount of credit. Not all countries participated in the Marshall Plan. Of those countries, Spain was one of them. This is due to the fact that Spain did the right thing; they did not interfere in the war effort of the Axis or the Allies.

To this day, the Marshal Plan is officially known as the European Recovery Program or ERP for short. Without the help of the United States, the economy of Europe would have been squashed, and if the United States leaders were smart, they would not have rebuilt Europe, and if they were even smarter, use their aggressive attitude to take over all of Europe and create a new United States of America state.

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Updated: Dec 12, 2023
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The Reconstruction of Europe after the War. (2022, Dec 11). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-reconstruction-of-europe-after-the-war-essay

The Reconstruction of Europe after the War essay
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