American Aid organizations are among most popular ones – generally they can be divided into two categories: military aid organizations and financial aid organizations. The latter implies not only monetary support for the future development, but also proliferation of democratic values, revitalization of the communities struck by a disaster and protection of freedom and human rights. The US budget provides generous funding for combating poverty.

But at the same time, seemingly positive American initiative can stir some controversy in the society – for example, the USAID website explicitly says that their aim is to “further America's interests while improving lives in the developing world.” In other words, one might say that the US imposes their ideology and values on other societies. That is why our objective is to examine different aid programs and to define their impact on different countries worldwide.


To sum it up, we can say, that the roots of the American humanitarian and financial aid can be found in the beginning and the middle of the XXth century. However, only since the Marshall Plan the USA established the concept of its foreign aid programs. As we can see, all of these programs were designed not only to help other countries, but also to extend the American influence in the world. The first governmental organization whose goals are to provide financial and humanitarian aid to other countries is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which was established in 1961, almost after the termination of the Marshall Plan.

Before we start analyzing American organizations providing financial and humanitarian aid to other countries that work today, it is important to remember the roots of this kind of aid and the goals which USA tried to reach in the past. We start from the XXth century, as only then USA became a truly rich and influential country. If we speak about Russia, American Aid Programs took place here during the Russian revolution in the beginning of XXth century. The mission of the Red Cross took place in August 1917 and consisted of twenty-four people having military rank, only five were doctors. The mission was financed by William B. Thompson. The mission  was in fact a mission of Wall Street financiers to influence and pave the way for control, through either Kerensky or the Bolshevik revolutionaries, of the Russian market and resources.  It can also be added that this mission was highly supported in the USA by the most influential people of those time. Still, the mission of the Red Cross stopped when the American government became aware that the Bolshevik ideas can be transferred to the USA and all of the missioners were withdrawn from Russia.

During WWI Herbert Hoover created the International Relief Organization. Its aim was to feed 15 million people behind the lines in Belgium and Northern France.  Hoover's association with Belgium did not terminate with the end of World War I. Hoover also had an idea to establish in Belgium a foundation "for the stimulation of scientific and industrial research."  Still, some people saw in his actions the motives different from humanitarian.  We can say that, Hoover wanted to overthrow the Russian Soviet government, but he underestimated the power and the influence of the Russian government. There was the Extraordinary Commission in Russia which kept a close watch of foreigners with counterrevolutionary propensities. All these facts show us that the goals of the American humanitarian and financial aid are not as simple and generous as it may seem.

Now, let’s take a look at the American financial and humanitarian aid during WWII.

 The Lend-Lease Act was passed on March 11, 1941 after a bitter debate with isolationists. It allowed the formally neutral United States to become, in Roosevelt’s words, the “arsenal of democracy” in the war against Nazi Germany. The Act authorized the President to “sell, transfer title to, or otherwise dispose of” military supplies to any foreign government whose defense the president considered vital to the defense of the United States.  Providing aid to USSR started right after the German invasion in 1941. In our opinion, Lend-Lease was certainly very important for all the recipients, but the USA was the only country which benefited the most. Before the WWII the USA was on the brink of bankruptcy. When the war broke out, it gave the opportunity to direct all resources to the military complex. And the repayment of loans made the USA the richest country in the world and helped it to overcome the crisis.

 The Marshall Plan (April 1948 – December 1951) was designed to rehabilitate the economies of 17 Western and southern European countries in order to create stable conditions in which democratic institutions could survive.  The Marshall Plan was very successful.  Truman extended the Marshall Plan to less-developed countries throughout the world under the Point Four Program, initiated in 1949. The Marshall Plan also institutionalized and legitimized the concept of U.S. foreign aid programs, which have become an integral part of U.S. foreign policy. So, all the modern organizations providing humanitarian and financial aid to other countries have roots in Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan was faced with a lot of criticism. All in all, it can be said that the Marshall plan was designed to place European countries under the economic and political control of the United States and direct interference by the latter in the internal affairs of those countries. Moreover, this plan was suggested in order to win over the USSR psychologically, to claim the influence of the USA in Europe, to split Europe into two camps and to complete the formation of a bloc of several European countries hostile to the interests of the democratic countries of Eastern Europe and most particularly to the interests of the Soviet Union.



Historical outlook