The Marshall Plan

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Marshall Plan
"For European Recovery Suppled by the United States of America" - shipments of wheat under the Marshall Plan
(Courtesy of the George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia)

Secretary of State George C. Marshall described a plan to rebuild Europe after World War II in a commencement address at Harvard University on June 5, 1947. "Europe's requirements are so much greater than her present ability to pay that she must have substantial additional help or face economic, social, and political deterioration of a very grave character." The cities of Europe were in ruins following the devastation of the war and Marshall made the case that there could be no political stability or assured peace without the return to normal economic conditions. See the text of the Marshall Plan Speech.





Stalin blocking the ball
The Caption Reads "Can he Block It?"
As Stalin Reaches for the Marshall Plan Ball

The United States Congress put the plan into legislation in 1948. During the four years of the program, the aggregate gross national product rose more than 30 percent and industrial production more than 40 percent over prewar levels for the countries which participated. Most of Europe outside of the Soviet Bloc participated. Spain was not invited to participate since it was a dictatorship under Franco. West Germany, which was under Allied occupation, did not fully participate until 1949 when self government was mostly restored.

Sir Winston Churchill called it "the most unsordid act in history."



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