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After the devastating effects of WWII Europes economic and social conditions where in shambles The personal suffering and internal upheavals threatened chaos There was a lack of coal steel electrical power railroad cars locomotives trucks oil and grain All of the West European countries suffered political instability This was the Europe Secretary of State George C Marshall saw when he attended a meeting of Foreign Ministers in Moscow on March 1 1947 In this meeting which was called to ease tensions Secretary Marshall became disillusioned over the chance of cooperation with the Soviet Union After a stormy interview with Joseph Stalin Secretary Marshall knew that Stalin meant to profit from Europes maladies Marshall was convinced that the only hope for Europes recovery lay in the United States He could see the United States needed to help Europe not only for moral reasons but also it was in the interest of the United States in order to curb communism and Europe was the United States biggest customer On June 5 1947 Secretary Marshall delivered his classic speech at Harvard University thus starting the European Recovery Program ERP what would later be known all over the world as The Marshall Plan The Marshall Plan constituted one of our countries finest foreign policy moments It signals the United States unequivocal resolve to assist an economically struggling Europe and assume a position of leadership At the Harvard speech Secretary Marshall announced Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger poverty desperation and chaosAny government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery will find full cooperation I am sure on the part of the United States government The Marshall Plan was set up for a limited period of four years 1948-1952 The money given by the United States included money for loans The European countries however were not given the money as a gift they had to pay for
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