George C. Marshall, U.S. Secretary of State, Proposes European Recovery Program
June 5, 1947
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Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

On June 5, 1947, in an address at Harvard University, Secretary of State George C. Marshall proposed a plan to use American financial might to reconstruct war-torn Europe. In the speech, Marshall stressed that European countries should determine their own economic needs and argued that U.S. aid should be available to all European nations, including those under Soviet occupation. The European Recovery Program, commonly known as the Marshall Plan, was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Harry Truman in April 1948. Between 1948 and 1951, the Marshall Plan channeled some $13 billion worth of economic aid into 16 European countries. The program sparked major economic recovery in Europe, particularly in the chemical, engineering, and steel industries, and saved the United States from a postwar recession by providing a broader market for American goods. The USSR denounced the Marshall Plan as U.S. economic imperialism and prevented Eastern European countries from participating. George C. Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.
George Marshall Receiving Honor at Harvard
Original caption: 6/6/1947 Cambridge, MA: General George Marshall (1908-1993) at Harvard University to receive Honorary degree, escorted by Professor Edmund Morgan of Harvard Law School.