Both the Marshall Plan in 1947 and the establishment of NATO in 1949 were parts to a plan to contain the Soviets during the Truman administration. The first brought financial support to European countries withstanding communism, and the second resulted in military support for the same countries. The goal of each arrangement was simple: help countries that are against the enemy, no matter their system of government. I would like to discuss the objectives and successfulness of these two strategies.
George Kennan recommended the Marshall Plan to shore up economic weaknesses in western European nations devastated by World War II. Kennan felt that such a program would help restore Europe's self-confidence, and in turn, provide an incentive to back the US as an ally in the inevitable containment struggle with the Soviet Union. Second, the plan would put America in a situation to provide a large umbrella of support for all nations opposing Communism, furthering US hegemony in the world. Finally, other countries, possibly of Eastern Europe or Asia would see the support given to other nations and decide against Communism in order to receive support as well. Kennan argued that the Marshall Plan might be too little too late for Europe though, citing that America should not help nations that cannot help themselves. He felt that a balance of power was in order, not an American overpowering. .
However, if the plan were successful, Western Europe would be a strong border between the east and the west. The Truman administration was set but of course Congress was not willing to give $12 billion in financial aid to Europe after overcoming WWII. The administration had to compromise. America gave Western European counties aid for a limited amount of time, and Europe had to spend the money on American goods and services. Truman signed the Marshall Plan and was able to put it into effect a few months later, even though it was not as Kennan wanted it.