None of this should be taken to suggest, of course, that the Marshall Plan itself "caused" the division of Europe. The unstable international conditions in Europe which presented both the Western powers and the Soviet Union with a security dilemma were the underlying cause of this division, while the Marshall Plan itself was simply the event that triggered it. It was those conditions which constrained the Truman administration and its British and French counterparts to design the Marshall Plan as they did -- making it appear open to Soviet and East European participation when in fact this appearance hardly had any substance behind it. And it was this ambiguity that led Stalin to draw the conclusion that the plan was an offensive move against Soviet interests, making the Soviet response more intense and aggressive than it might otherwise have been. The Marshall Plan, then, crucially affected the timing and the form of the division of Europe and served as the trigger for the intensification of the nascent Soviet-American conflict that would become known as the Cold War.