After hearing Marshall’s speech Britain and France called for a peace conference in Paris, it lasted from 16th July to October 1947. Stalin was suspicious of the aim believing it was an attempt by the USA to get involved in their domestic affairs, he sent Molotov to represent him. Britain, France, America and 16 other Western European countries such as Turkey and Greece also came. Bevin was happy because he had managed to engineer the meeting but also because the Soviets had gone which allowed the formation of the Western bloc. The Eastern European countries didn’t attend because they had communist governments set up in them because they were under the Soviet sphere of influence, this meant that because Stalin said they couldn’t go they did not attend.
The aim of the conference was to discuss the Marshall pan and what could be done about it however this was a problem. Each country had its own agenda rather than thinking supranational. This presented a problem for the US as it meant that by mid-August they had barely drawn up a plan. Eventually they decided to revive Germany economically, start negotiations for custom union, and begin the development of hydroelectric sources.
Molotov describes the Marshall plan as dollar imperialism. This could be interpreted as America using their money to influence and have control over the other countries. Cominform was Stalin’s way of politically retaliating against NATO. It was also set up to help create ideological unity in Eastern Europe. Also he wasn’t willing for the other countries to work with the communist parties.
His military response was to have a continuous presence of the red army in Eastern Europe.Comecon was Stalin’s response to Marshall Aid. He also banned the other countries in Cominform from taking Marshall Aid. This along with Comecon meant that he would have a lot of control over those countries.
The Takeover of Eastern Europe
Stalin gained control over Poland by allowing them to be weakened by the Germans, which allowed him to assert his power over them and set up a communist government. In Romania and Bulgaria Stalin claimed that it was vital for his buffer zone in March 1946 a socialist party was set up eventually winning the elections. In Czechoslovakia Stalin set up a socialist part which won in May 1946 whereas in Hungary he allowed there to be free elections, two years later Stalin then insisted on the communist having a coalition. Yugoslavia was a different case, the communist party had won without needing intervention from the Soviets. Tito their leader could then start a revolution on a Stalinist model.