July 18, 2007

Historical notes (ii)

In what Harry S Truman called …”America’s greatest contribution to the peace of the world”, Secretary of State George C Marshall a former Army Chief of Staff, put forward a plan whereby European nations devastated by the Second World War would devise a united scheme for economic reconstruction largely funded by the United States. The then Soviet Union was invited to join however, as the early chills of the cold war were setting in, they declined.

The ingenious idea was proposed on June 5, 1947 in an address to Harvard and even as the Soviets were assured that it was not directed “against and country or doctrine” it was, in fact a politically masterful act against Communism achieved through the restoration of European economies.

Washington was astute to recognize the value of economic well being, in terms of advancing democracy in the region with the U.S. contributing some $13 billion into Europe and absorbing over 250, 000 homeless Europeans by allowing them to immigrate and become citizens.

The strategy was soon to be known as, the Marshall plan.

See also: Historical notes (i)

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