The Marshall Plan, Pros and Cons

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
one class time
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Students will analyze the Marshall Plan (primary sources) and draw conclusions as to the pro and cons to the aid.

Students will analyze the Marshall Plan (primary sources) and draw conclusions as to the pro and cons to the aid.

Rationale (why are you doing this?)

The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan changed the course of American Foreign Policy from isolationism to involvement in world affairs. 

How does this affect students’ lives today? 

What are the ramifications of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan? 

What if congress did not approve of the Marshall Plan? 

What would Europe look like today? 

These are some of the questions I hope students will ask. 

Lesson Objectives - the student will

Examine the Marshall Plan and determine what the Marshall Plan and what it was not. 

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

Kansas state standards:

  • Benchmark 3: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, ideas, developments, and turning points in the era of the Cold War (1945-1990).
  •  2. (A) analyzes the origins of the Cold War (e.g., establishment of the Soviet Bloc, Mao’s victory in China, Marshall Plan, Berlin Blockade, Iron Curtain).
  • 3. (A) evaluates the foreign policies of Truman and Eisenhower during the Cold War (e.g., establishment of the United Nations, containment, NATO, Truman Doctrine, Berlin Blockade, Korean War, Iron Curtain, U-2 incident).

Missouri Standards

3aW:  Describe and evaluate the evolution of United States domestic and foreign policies including the Cold War.
3aY:  Describe the changing character of American society and culture.
7A:  Distinguish between and analyze primary and secondary sources.

Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed
Fully describe the activity or assignment in detail. What will both the teacher and the students do?
  • Students will be divided up in groups with each group given a copy of the Marshall Plan speech.  Within the groups, the students will need to read the speech.  After/while reading it, students will make a T chart of the pros and cons of the Marshall Plan.  How does this affect foreign policy today in the United States?  What change did they make to United States foreign policy? 
  • After sufficient time, each group can share out their findings.
Assessment: fully explain the assessment method in detail or create and attach a scoring guide

Rubric for Participation in Class








Too frequent responses: dominates discussion, not allowing students (or sometimes even teacher) to contribute or is silent or creates distractions by playing with items.

Comments occasionally or a bit too much or at times that break the flow of the discussion. Sometimes talks over others.

Contributes regularly to discussions, and allows others their turns to share their comments as well.

Frequency of comments is optimal (just right: neither too frequent so as to dominate, nor so little that there is no contribution). Steps in when there are silences to move discussion along but keeps quiet when this allows others to contribute. Sensitive to when to comment.


Comments are not related to topic at hand, or go back to previous part of discussion or question. Language is so general or confused that it’s difficult to understand where comment fits.

Comments may only repeat what has been already said, or may be tangential or may sidetrack discussion from time to time. Language is fairly general; only personal experience has some specific details.

Contributions are related to the topic and some support is provided, at least in general ways, to make connections between the topic and the students’ comments. Clarification questions are asked. Language is clear, if somewhat general, and specific details are provided.

Contributions enhance lesson or discussion: they may ask a key question, elaborate, bring in relevant personal knowledge, move the discussion along, identify issues or take the discussion to another level. Students use the vocabulary of the topic to be precise and clear. Able to synthesize or indicate gaps or extensions to topic.

Growth of

School community

Comments may focus attention on self rather than on discussion. Comments may frequently interrupt others or be disrespectful. Side conversations, body language or actions, inappropriate comments or sounds may make class participation fragmented.

Listens intermittently as others speak, so comments are sometimes off topic or don’t follow thread of discussion. Comments and body language sometimes respectful. Sometimes follows the lead of others to disrupt participation. (Eye contact made intermittently if culturally appropriate.)

Listens as others contribute. Comments acknowledge others’ contributions. Student both asks and answers questions in discussion. Comments and body language are generally respectful. (Eye contact made if culturally appropriate.)

Listens actively and attentively to others prior to making own comments. Comments focus on and enhance consideration of topic rather than focusing on specific people. Comments and body language validate and encourage others’ contributions. (Eye contact and nodding as culturally appropriate.)


Comments: Items to consider in language use: ask questions, answer questions, take turns, give directions, elaborate on a topic

Regina Public Schools, October 1, 2003