In what ways did the Marshall Plan, the dividing of Berlin, the communist takeover of power in Czechoslovakia, and the formation of NATO contribute to the development of the Cold War?

The Marshall Plan which was announced in 1947, it was an extension of Truman Doctrine. Financial help was provided by the US to the states who want to be free and resisting the subjugation by armed forces. Marshall introduced the European Recovery Programme in which financial help was provided to European states to fight against hunger, poverty and destruction due to war. The Us wanted to make Europe prosperous so that it becomes a market for American exports. If US had not provided the financial aid the communist would have taken over Europe. The opposition of communists for Marshall Plan and communist influence began to decline as the aid flowed in. The USSR reacted using Cominform and introduced the Molotov Plan in 1947 in which financial aid was provided for restructuring of communist satellite states.
The Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia completed the iron curtain. Czechoslovakia the only democratic country in Europe regarded as the bridge between east and west. In 1948 the crisis arose when the elections were near and the people were unhappy with the communist government by not accepting the aid in Marshall Plan. Fearing this the communists took over the country before the elections in an armed coup.
The division of Germany and Berlin into four parts was carried out as agreed in Yalta and Potsdam conferences. While the three western powers decided to develop their parts but Stalin refused to develop and used it as a satellite and wanted to make Germany pay for the damages. This created the sharp difference between the prosperity of west and east Germany. The three western bloc united the three parts and introduced a common currency. This made Russia embarrassed and blocked all rail-road links to the capital Berlin. But the western bloc used air transport to provide supplies to the people. This made Russia accept their failure and lift the blockade. This was a psychological victory of west over Russia and led to the formation of NATO.
The Berlin Blockade led to the formation of NATO because of west’s military unreadiness. The signing of North Atlantic Treaty by the western countries agreed if any one country is attacked it will be considered an attack on everyone. Formation of force under joint NATO command, Stalin took it as a challenge.
All these events kept the tensions between west and Russia alive and led to the development of the Cold War.

Question for UPSC Mains:
In what ways did the Marshall Plan, the dividing of Berlin, the communist takeover of power in Czechoslovakia, and the formation of NATO contribute to the development of the Cold War?

Published: March 19, 2017 | Modified:October 15, 2020

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