The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe

By Kroesen, Frederick J. | Army, January 2008 | Go to article overview

The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe


Kroesen, Frederick J., Army


The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe. Greg Behrman. Free Press. 449 pages; black and white photographs; index; $27.

Six weeks after his appointment as secretary of State in January 1947, George C. Marshall was on his way to Moscow to join the next in a series of foreign ministers' meetings attempting to guide the international relations of the post-World War II world. His experience there, which confirmed his understanding of the economic crisis facing Europe and the obstinacy and obstructionism of the Soviet Union, sowed seeds that would sprout five months later in a speech that would become the Marshall Plan.

In The Most Noble Adventure, Greg Behrman provides a comprehensive and detailed study of this massive humanitarian effort that served equaUy as an economic and political recovery program for the free nations of Europe. The lesser heroes on both sides of the Atlantic are identified and given deserved credit for making things work. Behrman details discussions of the political and economic means, which are thoroughly researched, interestingly presented and weU documented.

Marshall was a conceptual thinker, seeing an ultimate goal and the strategy needed to achieve it, then expressing those aims in logical, understandable terms. He relied on the work of his staff officers, advisers and consultants to add the details, effect the management, obtain the resources and champion the plan to obtain governmental and public approval. That spadework was essential in both Europe and the United States. Marshall understood that success was primarUy dependent upon European understanding and willingness to participate collectively. …

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