The COMECON, or the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, was an organization formed by the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania, which was ofﬁcially designed “to exchange economic experiences, extend technical aid to one another, and to render mutual assistance with respect to raw materials, foodstuffs, machines, equipment, etc.” However, in reality the COMECON was a method for the Soviets to dominate eastern bloc countries in response to the Marshall Plan.Z The formation of this organization was signiﬁcant because it proclaimed the Soviet sphere of inﬂuence in Eastern Europe and sheltered eastern bloc countries from the inﬂuence of the United States.
In the development of the Cold War, was a late stage, but still established boundaries between nations controlled or afﬁliated with the two superpowers.
Part of the COMECON included introducing import-replacement industries for better self- sufﬁciency in the countries of Eastern Europe, a goal similar to the idea of the Marshall Plan for boosting the economy of Western Europe.
Through the USSR’s “outstanding reparations obligations,” and Stalin’s own iron will direct the COMECON, the Soviet Union secured its presence in Eastern Europe in opposition to the American sphere at the start of the Cold War.“ The Marshall Plan, conceived by George Marshall, “called for American assistance in restoring the economic infrastructure of Europe.” However, this aid wasn’t free; nations helped by the United States were obligated to support the American agenda (against the USSR) as well. The plan greatly succeeded both in reconstructing the European economy and also achieving the loyalties of many Western European countries which received aid, and because of this immense success it also became signiﬁcant as a threat to the USSR.
The Soviet Union couldn’t put forth the same amount of monetary support as the United States, which eventually forced Stalin to create the COMECON so he could keep control of countries in Eastern Europe. Stalin, because he valued security so highly and saw territory and inﬂuence as a form of security (similar to American ideology as well), he needed to match the United States’ inﬂuence in Europe if he didn’t want the US to overwhelm the USSR. The Marshall Plan is more signiﬁcant than the COMECON because it initiated the latter and forced the escalating development of the Cold War. NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was formed at the start of the Cold War as a Western European/American alliance of protect one another from the USSR. Unlike the Marshall Plan, which initiated an offensive maneuver for America to gain inﬂuence in Western Europe, NATO was much more defensive and prudent in nature.
The nations which joined initially, Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, Iceland, Luxembourg, United States, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Portugal, were countries already at a lower risk for Communist takeover anyway.6 Struggling nations like Greece and Turkey were far closer to coming under control of Moscow. This is reason why the formation of NATO was less signiﬁcant in the development of the Cold War than the Marshall Plan: it was really a formal acknowledgment of Western European loyalties to the United States. The most it contributed was sparking the Warsaw Pact, which formally established the loyalties of eastern bloc countries to the USSR. The Warsaw Pact, as hinted at above, was the least signiﬁcant of the COMECON, Marshall Plan, and NATO in the development of the Cold War, Some characterized it as “a symbol of Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe,” but regardless, few major changes took place.’ It was the communist version of NATO, promising “mutual friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance.”
Beyond establishing which nations were loyal to the USSR, the Warsaw Pact only contributed by securing the opposition of these nations in the Soviet sphere with the nations in the American one. The Marshall Plan most signiﬁcantly impacted the development of the Cold War. It fostered the circumstances for the origin of the COMECON, NATO, and the Warsaw Pact. Supporting Western Europe forced Stalin to provide and secure his Worth Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).” The Cold War own sphere of inﬂuence in Eastern Europe in the form of the COMECON, and the boundaries laid by the Marshall Plan would remain during the creation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The Plan had the most far-reaching consequences in the establishment of the Cold War, causing it to develop toward a competition of inﬂuence in Europe.