Marshall Plan Facts

Marshall Plan Facts
The Marshall Plan, officially known as the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948, was a U.S. economic assistance plan for countries ravaged by World War II. The plan, which was largely the idea of Secretary of State George Marshall, therefore the name, was to primarily rebuild Europe after the war, but also to provide a bulwark against the spread of communism. The Act passed through both houses of Congress with support from both parties and was signed into law by President Harry Truman, who believed that it would play a key role in his anti-communist doctrine. Joseph Stalin felt that the Marshall Plan was a ploy by the United States to gain leverage over the countries of Europe, so he opposed the plan and pressured the leaders of the new communist states in eastern Europe to do the same. Approximately $13.5 billion in the form of grants was disbursed to western Europe from 1948 to 1951.
Interesting Marshall Plan Facts:
Spain, which was ruled by nationalist dictator Francisco Franco, was one of the few western European countries not to take part in the plan.
The Marshall Plan was an economic success: by 1952 all participating countries surpassed their pre-war economic levels.
Although the Marshall Plan involved the United States giving direct financial aid to western Europe, it helped to increase American exports. American steel factories boomed in the late 1940s and early 1950s as they exported parts and finished goods to Europe.
George Marshall (1880-1959) was appointed Secretary of State by President Harry Truman in 1947.
Marshall was a World War I veteran who became Army Chief of Staff in 1939.
Marshall was named Time's man of the year in 1943 and 1947. He was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.
The Marshall Plan coincided with and was directly related to the Truman Doctrine of aggressively confronting communist insurgencies and regimes.
The Marshall Plan was closely connected to the Bretton Woods economic system, which was operational from 1945 until 1971.
One of the central points of the Marshall Plan was the development of free trade among member nations in western Europe, which provided a roadmap for the European Union.
The vast majority of the money recipient countries received was in the form of grants, but a sizeable portion of loans were also disbursed.
The United Kingdom/Great Britain was the greatest recipient of Marshall Plan funds at over $3 billion, followed closely by France at more than $2.25 billion. Iceland, which was far removed from any fighting but was occupied by the British, received $43 million.
No where was the Marshall Plan's effects more evident than in Germany. After Germany was partitioned into West and East and after Stalin refused to allow the new communist regimes of eastern Europe to participate in the Marshall Plan, the two Germanys developed quite differently. Thanks in part to the Marshall Plan, West Germany's economy was booming by the late 1950s while large parts of East Germany still looked like the war had just ended.
Although Yugoslavia became a communist country after World War II, it quickly broke with the Soviet Union. It received American aid in the late 1940s and early 1950s, although the aid was not part of the Marshall Plan.


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