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).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Marshall Plan: Selected full-text books and articles

The Marshall Plan Today: Model and Metaphor By John Agnew; J. Nicholas Entrikin Routledge, 2004
Denmark's Social Democratic Government and the Marshall Plan, 1947-1950 By Vibeke Sørensen; Mogens Rüdiger Museum Tusculanum Press, 2001
Rebuilding Europe: Western Europe, America, and Postwar Reconstruction By David W. Ellwood Longman, 1992
Librarian's tip: Chap. 5 "The Road to the Marshall Plan"
"The World Hangs in the Balance": George C. Marshall and the European Recovery Plan By Thompson, Rachel Yarnell Social Education, Vol. 67, No. 6, October 2003
America's International Relations since World War I By Wesley M. Bagby Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: "The Marshall Plan" begins on p. 152
The Council on the Foreign Relations and American Foreign Policy in the Early Cold War By Michael Wala Berghahn Books, 1994
Librarian's tip: "The Selling of the Marshall Plan" begins on p. 181
Economic Security and the Origins of the Cold War, 1945-1950 By Robert A. Pollard Columbia University Press, 1985
Librarian's tip: Chap. 7 "The Marshall Plan: Interim Aid, the European Recovery Program, and the Division of Europe, 1947-1949"
France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe, 1944-1954 By William I. Hitchcock University of North Carolina Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: "France and the Advent of the Marshall Plan" begins on p. 74
The Cold War and Its Origins, 1917-1960 By D. F. Fleming Doubleday, vol.1, 1961
Librarian's tip: Chap. XVII "From the Marshall Plan to the Communist Seizure of Czechoslovakia, June 1947-May 1948"
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