George Marshall: Marshall Plan Speech


On June 5, 1947, in a commencement address at Harvard University, U.S. General George C. Marshall announced the Marshall Plan, or the European Recovery Program, designed to aid in the economic rehabilitation of Europe after World War II. Marshall was a career army officer who served as chief of staff during World War II and later as secretary of state and secretary of defense. Fearing the expansion of Soviet Communism into Western Europe and further expansion into Eastern Europe if the European economy was not stabilized, U.S. officials allocated approximately $13 billion to rebuild the economy over four years. This aid hastened economic recovery in Europe and slowed the expansion of Communism on the Continent, prompting a number of hostile actions, such as the Berlin blockade, from the leaders of the Soviet Union. Scholars today generally regard the Marshall Plan as a successful initiative and a triumph of U.S. foreign policy in the post–World War II era. The program...

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The Marshall Plan (National Archives and Records Administration)

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