Timeline for the Marshall Plan

St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), June 1, 1997 | Go to article overview

Timeline for the Marshall Plan


1946

March 5: In a speech in Fulton, Mo., Winston Churchill speaks of an "iron curtain" in Europe and calls for an American-British partnership.

July 11: Secretary of State James Byrnes offers to merge the economy of the American zone in Germany with the economies of the other zones; Britain agrees, but France and the Soviet Union spurn the offer. 1947 Jan. 20: In a White Paper, the British government calls Britain's economic problems "very serious." Jan. 22: Gen. George C. Marshall becomes secretary of state. Jan. 25: The first of a string of blizzards buries Britain - and any hope of economic recovery. Feb. 21: The British inform the United States that they can no longer prop up Greece and Turkey against communist expansionism. March 5: Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson asks the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee to see which other nations need aid. March 10: In Moscow, the foreign ministers of the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain and France open a meeting to decide the future of Germany. March 12: President Harry S Truman asks Congress to aid Greece and Turkey - and any country threatened by aggression. His proposal is dubbed "the Truman Doctrine." April 24: Unable to agree after 43 sessions at their Moscow meeting on Germany's future, the four foreign ministers call it quits. April 28: Marshall returns from Moscow disillusioned with the Soviets and worried about Europe; he says, "The patient is sinking while the doctors deliberate." April 29: Marshall orders the State Department to form a Policy Planning Staff immediately and draw up a plan of action for Europe. April-May: William Clayton, undersecretary of state, tours Europe's devastation and tells Marshall urgent action is needed. May: The communists take over in Hungary. May 6: In Mississippi, the State Department's Acheson says Europe's problems are also America's. May 15: Congress approves aid to Greece and Turkey. May 23: The State Department study group outlines what becomes the Marshall Plan. May 28: Marshall agrees to speak at Harvard's graduation on June 5. June 2: Quietly, Acheson alerts British reporters in Washington to the import of Marshall's address. June 5: In the speech that gives birth to the Marshall Plan, the secretary of state invites Europe to petition the United States for aid. June 6: British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin summons his staff to an emergency Sunday session. June 11: The Ukrainian edition of Pravda calls Marshall's speech further evidence of a U.

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