Key dates for Marshall Plan
March 12, 1947
The “Truman Doctrine,“outlined in a presidential speech to Congress, makes it U.S. policy to protect nations threathened by communism.
June 5, 1947
In a speech at the Harvard commencement, Secretary of State George C. Marshall calls for an American Plan to help Europe recover from World War II.
June 19, 1947
The British and French Foreign ministers issue a joint communiqué inviting 22 European nations to send representatives to Paris to draw up a cooperative recovery plan
July 12, 1947
The Conference of European Economic Cooperation, which became the Committee of European Economic Cooperation(CEEC), meets in Paris. The Soviet Union declines to attend and pressures Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary into stazing away.
The CEEC submits its report estimating needs and the cost of the European Recovery Program (ERP) over four years. It provides for the establishment of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) to coordinate the program from the European side.
A Soviet-backed, communist coup occurs in Czechoslovakia
April 2, 1948
Congress passes the Economic Cooperation Act that authorizes the Marshall Plan. President Truman signs in the next day.
Paul Hoffman of Studebaker Corporation is appointed Administrator of the Economic Cooperation Agency (ECA), the temporary American agency created to implement the plan. Averell Harriman is appointed special representative of the ECA in Europe.
April 15, 1948
First official meeting of the OEEC in Paris to determinate national needs prior to passage of appropriations bill by U.s. Congress
June 30, 1949
The Federal Republic of Germany officially enters the OEEC in the second year of the program.
December 31, 1951
The ERP ends six months early because of the escalation of the Korean War, which had begun in June 1950. Transfer of funds from the U.S. to Europe had totaled $13.3 billion.
July 5, 1972
In speech at the Harvard commencement, West German chancellor Willy Brandt announces creation of the German Marshall Fund to thank the U.S. for its assistance.
The “Truman Doctrine“sprang from events in Greece where communists were trying to overthrow the monarchy. British troops, who ha dhelped liberate Greece from the Germans in 1944, had restored the monarchy but were now feeling the strain of supporting it against the communists who were receiving help from Albania, Bulgaria and Yuhoslavia. Truman decided to help Greece so they had received massive amounts of arms and others supplies and by 1949 the communists were defeated. Turkey which also seemed under threat, received aid worth about $60 million. The “Truman Doctrine“ made it clear that US had no intention of returning to isolation as she had after the First World War.
THE MARSHALL PLAN
It was an economic extension of the “Truman Doctrine“. On June 5, 1947, Secretary of State George Catlett Marshall(1880-1959) proposed a solution to the wide-spread hunger, unemployment and housing shortages that faced Europeans in the aftermath of World War II. The physical destruction of the war and the general economic dislocation theratened a breakdown of moral, social and commercial life. Raw materials and food were in short supply, and war-damaged industries needed machinery and capital before production could be resumed.
Marshall suggested that the European nations themselves set up a program for reconstruction, with United States assistance. This speech marked the official beginning of the Economic Recovery Program (ERP), better known as “The Marshall Plan.“ Under the plan, The United States provided aid to prevent starvation in the major warareas, repair the devastation of those areas as quickly as possible, and begin economic reconstruction. The plan had two major aims:
1) To prevent the spread of commmunism in Western Europe
2) To stabilize the international order in a way favorable to the development of political democracy and free-market economies.
European reaction to Marshall´s speech was quick and positive. The British and french Foreign Ministers met and issued a joint communiqué inviting twenty-two european nations to send representatives to Paris to draw up a cooperative recovery plan. Sixteen of the invated countries accepted( Briatin, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey, Iceland, Norway, Sweden,Denmark,and three western zones of Germany),except Soviet Union and its allies in eastern Europe, and met in Paris in July 1947. The Paris Conference led to the establishment of the Commmittee for European Economic Cooperation that drew up a proposal for the planned European reconstruction and presented it to the U.S. government in september 1947.
Although others helped draft the Economic Assistance Act of 1948 that established the Erp, the plan was named for George C. Marshall because of his indispensable role, his influence, and his extraordinary prestige with Congress and the American people. Over the four-years during which the Marshall plan was formally in operation, Congress appropriated $13.3 billion for European recovery. The United States also benefitted from the plan by developing valuable trading partners and reliable allies among the West European Nations. Even more important were the many ties of individual and collective friendship that developed between the United States and Europe.
The plan was the boldest, most succesful, and certainly the most expensive foreign policy initiative ever attempted in peacetime. Marshall Plan has had far-reaching consequences. In the short run, it relieved widespread privation and averted the threat of a serious economic depression. In the long run, it enabled the West European nations to recover and mantain not only economic but political independence. It also paved the way for other forms of international cooperation such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and today´s European Union.
Marshallov plan- Pavol Petruf ISBN 80-85665-14-X -
Mastering Modern World History- Norman Lowe ISBN 0-333-46576-8 -