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During World War II much of Europe was devastated by military forces on land and from the air Dresden Germany for example was firebombed almost out of existence by British bombers So were other German cities After American troops landed in Normandy on June 4 1944 French villages suffered greatly Philosophically the French shrugged it all off with Gallic humor One cant make an omelette without breaking a few eggs However entire industrial plants rail delivery systems and transportation hubs had been completely destroyed or damaged beyond repair In Great Britain food rationing continued for about five years after Germanys surrender and the country needed repair after extensive damage from German bombs Coventry a British industrial city had been almost wiped out London itself had been seriously damaged not only by bombs but also by the V-1 and V-2 rockets launched by the Germans late in the war So in a speech at Harvard University General George Marshall suggested what has since been referred to as the Marshall Plan of massive economic aid for those European countries requesting assistance in their reconstruction efforts Initially the Marshall Plan was humanitarian in that it supplied the farm implements seeds and fertilizer that allowed French and German farmers to use their land more efficiently to grow food for local consumption Each country receiving aid was requested to develop its own list of priorities whether for industrial recoverey or agricultural self-sufficiency American companies almost always filled the orders approved by Marshall Plan administrators in London and Washington So from an initially humanitarian role economic aid shifted to industrial reconstruction Actually entire plants were occasionally shipped to Europe and re-assembled where they were to be used eg an oil refinery The list of European countries receiving this aid was not long The Soviet Union told the central European countries like Hungary and Czechoslovkia they could not participate in Marshall Plan economic aid There is little doubt that the Marshall
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