Truman believed that communism succeeded when people faced poverty and hardship. George Marshall was sent to assess Europe's economic state and he discovered that it was terrible. The countries of Europe owed $11.5 billion to the USA. Most countries were still rationing bread. Churchill described Europe as a 'rubbish heap, a breeding ground of hate'.
Marshall suggested that around $17 billion would be needed to rebuild Europe's prosperity. 'Our policy,' he said, 'is directed against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos.'