Containment was a foreign policy adopted by the United States in order to meet the global communist challenge. The Truman administration's plan to accomplish the goal of containment was to implement the Marshall Plan and to utilize NATO to its full political, and if necessary military, potential. .
The accepted premise in the American government during the late forties and early fifties was that communism flourished on anarchy and poverty. The natural response was to stabilize vulnerable areas through economic aid (Ambrose 77). The Marshall Plan was designed to rebuild the economic system of Western Europe (McCormick 54). The United States government reasoned if Europe was not restored, it might be susceptible to political volatility and, even more fearful, communist infiltration and insurrection. The Marshall Plan provided for billions of dollars to be injected into Western Europe. It was supposed to accomplish containment by rejuvenating and strengthening the shattered economies in Western European countries and to encourage democracy in these countries. The American government hoped that this economic influence would help fight internal and external communist forces. The Marshall Plan worked well to support pro western governments in Europe. If the plan had not been effective, then more countries, for example Italy or Greece, might have been lost to communism. .
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created to promise collective security to the nations that signed the alliance. It was the muscle that backed up the containment policy in Europe. If any of the allied countries were attacked, then NATO would be called upon to defend these nations. Naturally, the United States bore the greatest burden in this relationship, financially and in terms of manpower. NATO effectively executed its share of the responsibility of containment, for example: the Berlin Airlift in 1948.