An American initiative to assist Western Europe with recovery after WWII, the Marshall Plan gave ~$13 billion in aid to promote reduction of interstate barriers and excessive regulations as well as to encourage business productivity, labor unions and modern business procedures.
Eastern Bloc Countries
Although 18 European countries received benefits from the plan, the USSR refused to participate and blocked the involvement of Eastern European countries under its control. In order to combat the effects of the Marshall Plan, the USSR developed its own economic plan – the Molotov Plan which created an economic alliance of socialist countries.
Criticism of the Marshall Plan
Historians, such as Walter LaFeber described the plan as economic imperialism by the USA, and an attempt to gain control over Western Europe, much as the USSR controlled the Eastern Bloc countries.
Economist Wilhelm Röpke criticized the plan for subsidizing a failing system and thereby hindering transition to a free market system.
In his book The Age of Turbulence, Alan Greenspan (Former US Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank) gave credit to German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard for Europe’s economic recovery – not the contributions of the Marshall Plan.
In the end, the Marshall Plan did promote integration of European economies in a mixture of public and private economic sectors similar to that which existed in the USA. This reorganization also proved to be a boon for American investment.