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Marshall Plan

Marshall Plan or European Recovery Program, project instituted at the Paris Economic Conference (July, 1947) to foster economic recovery in certain European countries after World War II. The Marshall Plan took form when U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall urged (June 5, 1947) that European countries decide on their economic needs so that material and financial aid from the United States could be integrated on a broad scale. In Apr., 1948, President Truman signed the act establishing the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) to administer the program.

The ECA was created to promote European production, to bolster European currency, and to facilitate international trade. Another object was the containment of growing Soviet influence (through national Communist parties), especially in Czechoslovakia, France, and Italy. Paul G. Hoffman was named (Apr., 1948) economic cooperation administrator, and in the same year the participating countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States) signed an accord establishing the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (later called the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) as the master coordinating agency.

The ECA functioned until 1951, when its activities were transferred to the Mutual Security Agency. Over $12 billion was dispersed (1948–51) under the program. From the start the Soviet Union strongly opposed the Marshall Plan while the various countries in Eastern Europe denounced or ignored it. Completed in 1952, the Marshall Plan was one aspect of the foreign aid program of the United States and greatly contributed to the economic recovery of Europe.

See S. E. Harris, ed., Foreign Economic Policy for the United States (1948, repr. 1968); H. B. Price, The Marshall Plan and Its Meaning (1955); J. B. DeLong and B. Eichengreen, The Marshall Plan (1991); G. Behrman, The Most Noble Adventure (2007).

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Marshall Plan

MARSHALL PLAN

After world war ii, Europe was devastated and urgently needed an organized plan for reconstruction and economic and technical aid. The Marshall Plan was initiated in 1947 to meet this need.

The originator of the plan, U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall, introduced it in a speech at Harvard University on June 5, 1947. He pointed out two basic reasons for providing aid to Europe: the United States sought the reestablishment of the European countries as independent nations capable of conducting valuable trade with the United States; and the threat of a Communist takeover was more prevalent in countries that were suffering economic depression.

In 1947 a preliminary conference to discuss the terms of the program convened in Paris. The Soviet Union was invited to attend but subsequently withdrew from the program, as did other Soviet countries.

Sixteen European countries eventually participated, and, in July 1947, the Committee for European Economic Cooperation was established to allow representatives from member countries to draft a report that listed their requirements for food, supplies, and technical assistance for a four-year period.

The Committee for European Economic Cooperation subsequently became the Organization of European Economic Cooperation, an expanded and permanent organization that was responsible for submitting petitions for aid. In 1948, Congress passed the Economic Cooperation Act (62 Stat. 137), establishing funds for the Marshall Plan to be administered under the Economic Cooperation Administration, which was directed by Paul G. Hoffman.

Between 1948 and 1952, the sixteen-member countries received more than $13 billion dollars in aid under the Marshall Plan. The plan was generally regarded as a success that led to industrial and agricultural production, while stifling the Communist movement. The plan was not without its critics, however, and many Europeans believed the cold war hostilities between the Soviet nations and the free world were aggravated by it.

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"Marshall Plan." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Marshall Plan

MARSHALL PLAN

MARSHALL PLAN, formally called the European Recovery Program (ERP) even though it was later extended to Japan and (southern) Korea, was named after Secretary of State George C. Marshall, who announced it in a speech at Harvard University on 5 June 1947. The plan was unique, offering U.S. assistance for recovery efforts designed and implemented by the still war-ravaged nations of Europe.

Historians continue to argue the main thrust of the plan. The main arguments are that the plan was (1) humanitarian in seeking to ameliorate postwar economic suffering; (2) anti-communist in that it sought to rebuild the economies of western European countries to resist communism; and (3) designed to help the American economy since participating nations had to spend these dollar-denominated grants in the United States (and later Canada) for purchases of goods and services.

Regardless of the motives behind it, the ERP, which lasted from 1948 to 1952, was a phenomenal success. The Soviet Union and its eastern European satellites declined to participate, but the Marshall Plan provided approximately $13.5 billion in economic assistance to seventeen countries, including Great Britain, France, Italy, and western Germany, and resulted in a 25 percent increase in western European GNP.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Donovan, Robert J. The Second Victory: The Marshall Plan and thePostwar Revival of Europe. New York: Madison Books, 1987.

Killick, John. The United States and European Reconstruction, 1945–1960. Edinburgh: Keele University Press, 1997.

Schain, Martin, ed. The Marshall Plan: Fifty Years After. New York: Palgrave, 2001.

Charles M.Dobbs

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"Marshall Plan." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Marshall Plan

Marshall Plan US programme of economic aid to European countries after World War II. Promoted by US Secretary of State General Marshall, its purpose was to repair war damage and promote trade within Europe, while securing political stability. The Soviet Union and e European countries declined to participate. Between 1948 and 1951, 16 countries received a total of US$12,000 million under the plan.

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"Marshall Plan." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Marshall Plan." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved April 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/marshall-plan

Marshall Plan

Marshall Plan a programme of financial aid and other initiatives, sponsored by the US, designed to boost the economies of western European countries after the Second World War. It was originally advocated by Secretary of State George C. Marshall and passed by Congress in 1948.

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"Marshall Plan." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Marshall Plan

MARSHALL PLAN


Between 1948 and 1951 the European Recovery Programor as it is commonly called, the Marshall Planrestored post-war Western Europe's agricultural and industrial productivity by providing nearly $15 billion in U.S. economic assistance. The plan is named after Secretary of State George C. Marshall, who proposed it in a commencement speech at Harvard University on June 5, 1947.

George C. Marshall (18801959) gained military recognition in World War I (19141918) as the chief tactical officer of the first American division to go into action in France. He was named chief of staff of the U.S. Army in 1939, making him a four star general and the head of the army throughout World War II (19391945). During the war, he planned the amphibious invasions of North Africa and of Normandy, France; his achievements were heralded by the leaders of the United States and its allies. Marshall retired from the army in November 1945, but in 1947 President Harry S. Truman appointed him secretary of state.


Shortly after his appointment, Marshall attended a conference in Moscow with British, French, and Soviet leaders to discuss Germany and Austria's future. Europe was physically and economically devastated in the wake of World War II; food, fuel and raw materials for production were in desperately short supply. Businesses had been destroyed through loss of capital, nationalization, or physical obliteration, and confidence in local currencies was badly shaken. Observing the economic collapse of Europe and recognizing the Soviet Union's intention to take advantage of that collapse to spread communism across Europe, Marshall returned from the conference determined to restore the European economy.

On June 5, 1947, during a commencement address at Harvard University, Marshall stated, "It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of nominal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist." Marshall proposed that European nations determine their needs and suggest a plan for American economic assistance for their recovery.

In response to Marshall's announcement, sixteen Western European countries met in Paris a month later to form the Organization for European Economic Cooperation and to assess and agree on their needs. Although Marshall had claimed that the plan was "not directed against any country or doctrine," from the start the United States attached conditions to their aid that would be unacceptable to the Soviet Union. Thus, while the Soviet Union and the Eastern Europe countries under its control were invited to participate, the Soviet Foreign Minister walked out of the talks. The Western European nations eventually drafted a request for $16 to $22 billion to stimulate economic recovery by 1951.

Back in the United States, the Marshall Plan was debated in Congress. To ensure its passage, Marshall worked closely with congressional committees and made promotional speeches throughout the United States. Congress agreed to Truman's $17 billion request to aid Europe. In April, 1948, Truman signed an act that established the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) to administer the program. The ECA's primary goals were to elevate European economic production, support European currency, and assist with international trade. Its other intention was to restrain the spreading Soviet influence in Czechoslovakia, France, and Italy. Paul G. Hoffman (18911974) was appointed ECA's chief administrator. Later that year the participating countriesAustria, Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States signed the agreement that instituted the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (later called the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) as the head coordinating agency.

The Soviet Union strongly opposed the Marshall Plan and refused to participate; a few other Eastern European countries criticized or ignored it. The Soviets prevented Poland and Czechoslovakia from participating, despite their desire to do so. Stalin accused the United States of trying to use its money to lure Eastern European nations away from Soviet influence. He ordered all Communists to resist U.S. imperialism and established the Cominform, an international Communist information bureau. Stalin's most drastic response to West Germany's participation in the Marshall Plan was the 19481949 Berlin blockade, an unsuccessful attempt to force the United States and its allies to evacuate West Berlin.

Completed in 1951, the Marshall Plan greatly contributed to the economic restoration of Europe. At its end, nearly $15 billion in recovery aid had been channeled into Western Europe. Many countries' agricultural and industrial productivity was higher than they had been before World War II. His efforts in preventing famine and political chaos through the Marshall Plan earned George C. Marshall a Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.

Some revisionist historians have contested that the Marshall Plan did not demonstrate American altruism, arguing that assistance to Europe prevented the United States from falling into its own economic decline by providing a market for U.S. capital goods. According to revisionists, the Marshall Plan also let the United States rebuild the Western European economy to mirror the American economy, providing a more compatible environment for U.S. investment.


FURTHER READING

The Columbia Encyclopedia, New York: Columbia University Press, 1993, s.v. "Marshall Plan."

"June 5th, 1947: U.S. announcement of the Marshall Plan." History Today, June 1997.

"Marshall Plan Memories." The New Leader, June30, 1997.

"The Marshall Plan,"[cited July 6, 1999] available from the World Wide Web @ www.nara.gov/exhall/featured-document/marshall/marshall.html/.

Morrow, Lance. "George C. Marshall: the Last Great American." Smithsonian, August 1997.

The Reader's Companion to American History, Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1991, s.v. "Marshall Plan."

it is logical that the united states should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of nominal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace.

george c. marshall, harvard university commencement speech, history today, june 5, 1947

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