The Marshall Plan
So both in American history, and definitely European history, the Marshall Plan is seen as a turning point in
Hi, I'm Frank Couvares for About.com, and I'm here to talk to you about the Marshall Plan.The Marshall Plan was named after Secretary of State George Marshall, who had been a great general under Roosevelt and was Secretary of State under Truman. In 1947 at Harvard, he made a famous speech in which he announced the beginnings of a great program to aid war-torn Europe. After the war, most European countries were devastated, and the only country in the world with the credit, the financing and the industrial power to help was the United States.Indeed, at first, the Marshall Plan was not only offered to the countries of Europe, but to the Soviet Union in the hopes - at least, the American hopes - that giving money might also provide a certain amount of influence. In the end, the Soviets understandably rejected the offer and the implied control. But the program eventually funneled 13 billion dollars of aid to the companies of Europe, especially Western Europe.That money not only provided the makings of the postwar boom in Europe, but also - as it was intended to do - the preservation of democracy. There was some fear after the war that the Soviet model might prove attractive to some countries in Europe. There were large Communist parties in France, Italy and some other countries. In any event, the Marshall Plan, along with several other initiatives, shaped the course of Europe for the next 50 to 100 years.It not only brought prosperity back to Europe, but it was the beginnings of the organization of Europe into what eventually became the Common Market and the European Union. A decided success, to this day people use the term "The Marshall Plan" to refer to projects such as "A Marshall Plan for Central America," or during the war on poverty, "A Marshall Plan for American cities." So both in American history, and definitely European history, the Marshall Plan is seen as a turning point in the history of the modern West.Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.