Marshall Plan Comes to an End

U.S. #3141 – The U.K. received the most aid – about 26% of the total sum.

Marshall Plan Comes to an End

On December 31, 1951, the Marshall Plan expired after providing aid to millions of people in Western Europe.

The devastation caused by World War II led to slow recovery in Europe.  Trade was disrupted because most transportation routes had been destroyed.  Millions of people lived in refugee camps and relied on foreign aid for basic necessities.  Most European nations had no funds available for rebuilding.  Confusion, disorder, and economic chaos had left many of these war-torn nations vulnerable to Communist take-over.  The United States began an aid program to address these pressing issues.

U.S. #1289 – December 31 is also Marshall’s birthday.

George Marshall, Harry Truman’s secretary of state, presented the plan to promote European reconstruction in a commencement speech he gave at Harvard University on June 5, 1947.  He said “It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health to the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace.”

The idea was seen as a way to contain the spread of communism and increase U.S. exports.  Marshall’s plan developed into the Economic Cooperation Act, which was signed into law by Truman on April 3, 1948.

Item #20030 – Event cover marking Marshall’s 104th birthday in his hometown of Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

During the next four years, the program sent over $13 billion to Western European nations in the form of grants and loans.  Many of the countries attained or surpassed pre-war production levels.  This reduced political unrest and brought more unity to Europe.  It not only helped define this century, but its success also paved the way for additional foreign aid programs, such as NATO. Today, nearly every country has received U.S. aid at one time or another.

Item #81878 – Event cover includes a cachet showing the map of nations affected by the Marshall Plan.

The Marshall Plan ended on December 31, 1951.  It was supposed to last until 1953, but was ended early due to the escalation of the Korean War.

George Marshall received a Nobel Peace Prize for the part he played in instituting the plan.  He is the only professional soldier to have received this distinguished award.

Click the images to add this history to your collection.

Did you like this article? Click here to rate:
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Share this article

11 responses to "Marshall Plan Comes to an End"

11 thoughts on “Marshall Plan Comes to an End”

  1. Unlike the Marshall Plan, it’s not clear why NATO should be considered a ‘foreign aid’ project, given its overtly military operations/objectives over the years, including the current fomenting of geopolitical unrest throughout eastern Europe at the moment. Many thanks for describing in lay terms what US Secretary Marshall (and his team) conceived back in 1947, and his truly deserved award of the Nobel prize on behalf of all USA citizens, and the sacrifice they made to end WW2, and restart western Europe’s economic recovery, including here in England. GdR

    Reply
  2. It is always amusing to hear people go on about how the US gives money away to other countries in foreign aid as though we were some kind of Santa Claus. Such aid always calculates a diplomatic return to our advantage. Nice that today’s article points out that the primary objective was to contain communism in Europe to the extent possible.

    Reply
  3. The Marshall Plan endorsed by President Truman was a landmark event that truly changed history for the better. It was America’s shining moment of helping Western Europe begin the period of reconstruction. It enabled Germany to become a democratic nation. It countered the Soviet’s attitude of revenge and political exploitation.

    Reply
  4. The Marshall Plan pretty much saved the West and Europe from Communism, and the recovery of Europe would not have happened. Marshall deserves much more recognition for his efforts.

    Reply
  5. Marshall really was the man for all seasons in US History. His prestige and abilities helped carry the day for Truman and may have lightened the burdens in Europe emphatically and meant that countries in western Europe redeveloped in a more dramatic way than the eastern bloc. As usual some good history but a bit of glossing over.

    Reply
  6. Another great moment in history… Thanks Mystic. It is amazing what the minds of men can “conceive and achieve,” for the betterment of all of mankind. Happy New Year everyone!

    Reply
  7. The Marshall Plan was the best use of “foreign” aid ever conceived.
    Once it ended, the military took over and screwed everything up.
    Examples, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria,
    Maybe we need another Marshall Plan for the Middle East.
    Keep your hopes up this year, America, that clear minds will
    realize that we are not welcome in the Middle East….by ANYONE!
    Let Islam take care of Islam and leave them alone to resolve their lands!

    Reply
    • I am sorry that you are so ill-informed about US foreign policy and Constitutional powers. The US armed forces did not screw any thing up. They serve at the pleasure of the American people under civilian control and authority as granted by Congress and ordered by our elected President.

      Reply
  8. “Oh the times they are a changing.” The victorious allies of World War II were comprised of governed countries with actual geographic locations and boundaries even though some of the latter were in dispute. The economic aid was followed by consolidation of adjoining political lines and formation of new boundaries as well. Some of these continue to exist as designed while others have re-adjusted to accommodate, for better or worse, the demands, needs or preferences of the citizenry behind emerging politicians. In Korea , Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Syria we put ourselves in the crossfire of rivalries, disputes, skirmishes, battles and wars that have been waged for hundreds even thousands of years. Now we fight an enemy with no boundaries, interspersed strongholds, invasive occupation that is permitted by our immigration laws and accompanying policies that provide this situation to thrive. If it were Islam being left alone to take care of Islam there would be only one diminished faction left to hoist its flag wherever that would be. It is radicals that are united by several organized groups, some well known, others obscure who pose a constant threat and necessitate a modern day Marshall Plan. “After changes upon changes we’re more or less the same”

    Reply
  9. As 2018 draws to a close, I want to say ‘Thank you Mystic for all the informative stories you share with us every day.” I’ve only been reading since August, and I look forward every morning to see what you have written. Keep up the good work in 2019!

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Love history?

Discover events in American history – plus the stamps that make them come alive.

Subscribe to get This Day in History stories straight to your inbox every day!