Wednesday 11 November 2015

George Marshall's The Marshall Plan

For many Europeans, especially Germans, World War II did not end on V-E Day.  It marked the beginning of a decade long struggle:  struggle to overcome diseases like typhus which ran rampant in the closing days of the war, struggle to accept the displacement faced by the changing borders, struggle to overcome the worry they felt waiting for their POWs to come home from the Soviet Union, struggle to rebuild their cities which were covered in rubble and struggle to feed their population as their dollar plunged.

The United States, knowing that Germany was facing certain disaster, planned to intervene.  George Marshall, the Secretary of State, met with several representatives to draft a plant to rebuild Western Europe.  Congress agreed to give $13 billion in aid, the equivalent of $130 billion today, towards the Marshall Plan.  The Plan would be carried out over four years, from 1947 to 1951.  Eighteen European countries would benefit from the aid, including the United Kingdom (26%), France (18%) and West Germany (11%).

Here is an excerpt from George Marshall's speech of June 5, 1947:

"In considering the requirements for the rehabilitation of Europe, the physical loss of life, the visible destruction of cities, factories, mines and railroads, was correctly estimated, but it has become obvious during recent months that this visible destruction was probably less serious than the dislocation of the entire fabric of the European economy...Such assistance must not be on a piecemeal basis, as various crises develop.  Any assistance that the government may render in the future should provide a cure rather than a mere palliative."

"We want coal, we want bread" reads the sign as thousands protest during the Hunger Winter of 1947-1948 in Germany courtesy,_Krefeld,_Hungerwinter,_Demonstration.jpg.

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