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The Marshall Plan

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After the end of the war, Europe was in ruins and they were short of food and in debt. The harsh winter of 1946-47 was one of the worst in records who had already suffered through years of depression. Discontent began strengthened the Communist Party as the nations of Europe had nothing to sell for hard currency, and the democratic socialist governments in most countries were unwilling to adopt the proposals for recovery advocated. The Marshall Plan was crucial for humanitarian reasons and also to stop the potential spread of communism westward.

On June 5, 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall spoke at Harvard University and outlined what would become known as the Marshall Plan. Marshall stated "Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos."# The main goal was to help the nations of Europe by providing aid, strengthen their democratic governments, and revive their damaged economies. Marshall's speech was followed quickly by the creation of the Conference for European Economic Co-operation. Conference negotiations lead to the creation of the Organization for European Economic Co-operation in order to meet Marshall's request for "some agreement among the countries of Europe as to the requirements of the situation and the part those countries themselves will take."#

In December of 1947, President Truman submitted a $17 billion European Recovery Program to Congress and the next year $12 billion in aid was approved for distribution. The Marshall Plan also offered aid to the Soviet Union and its allies in eastern Europe, but Stalin denounced the program and refused to participate.

It helped feed the starving and shelter the homeless, and at the same time stopped the threat and spread of communism and revived the European economy. The years 1948 to 1952 saw the fastest period of growth in European history. The poverty and starvation of



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