A SEMINAR PAPER ON THE MARSHALL PLAN AND THE RECONSTRUCTION OF EUROPE 1948 – 1991
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The second war brought about socio-economic stagnation in the countries that participated except the United States of America because none of the deadly battles were fought in the US soil, hence her economic, social and political strength after the war. The post war era was popularly called the cold war era- an ideological war, which Andrew Cayton posited that, the United States and the Soviet temporarily ignored their differences during the Second World War but after the war, however these differences began to put the two nations apart again. Soon the world was divided into two camp, formed around the communist and the capitalist beliefs. This emphasizes the competition between the US and the USSR in winning over nations to their ideological beliefs, a policy which war wrecked Western Europe was not an exception.
After the war, Europe was in particular economically bankrupt. The US got concerned and strategized on how to help Western Europe revitalize her economy, which was still ideologically neutral as well as contain communist control over the continent. This nevertheless gave birth to the Marshall plan in 1947- an open door call on the countries of both Eastern and Western Europe. As Cayton puts it “the Marshall plan called for nations of Europe including the communist countries to draw up a program for economic recovery from the war; the United States would now support the program with financial aid.
The plan was also noted to have faced controversies and has overtime given credence to the cold war becoming a reality in the lives of peoples and nations involved. Therefore, the main trust of this work is to give a limelight tothe Marshall plan as a facilitating factor in the reconstruction of Europe after the World War II and as an agent for combating communism.
 Andrew Cayton, Elizabeth Israels and Allan M. Winkler (1995) America: Pathways to the present New Jersey: Prentice Hall. P. 716.
 Ibid, p. 724
Aftermath and effect of world war II
The end of the WW II brought the establishment of the United Nations which makes available an international organization to deal with problems arising between nations or involving the peace and progress of the world as a whole.
At the conclusion of the hostilities in 1945, the situation was entirely different from that of the WW 1 because military and technological development had made the war seem universal. Very few areas in Europe had remained immune from the conflict and its consequences and the outlook everywhere was bleak.
In every direction, the whole region had been virtually defoliated and lay in ruins. Industrial production on the continent had slumped; in 1945 and 1946 it stood at only one- third of the 1938 figure. Agriculture had also suffered; agricultural production was down to half the prewar level. Cities had been severely damaged. Millions of acres of valuable farming land had been rendered useless, not only from being battle fields but also through the demands of the war. Land was exhausted through over cropping, while the compensation of fertilization was lacking because commercial fertilizer were unobtainable.
Furthermore, the death rate of human beings and animals had been extremely high because of exhaustion and starvation. In the factories and mines, machinery had been crippled because it had been overworked and because ithad not been maintained satisfactorily: in addition replacement was generally unavailable because Europe was greatly bankrupt.
 Joseph Reither (1973), World History: A Brief Introduction. New York: McGraw Hill paper backs. P. 441.
 D. W. Urwin (1981). Western Europe since 1945: A Short Political History. New York: Longman Inc. p. 27
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