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Marshall Plan In the spring of 1947 the atmosphere in Europe was unstable and tense World War II left behind misery unemployment and a housing crisis The cold weather intensified the severe economic and social dislocation that plagued the continent following the long and destructive war At the same time all of the West European countries suffered political instability The political situation was equally serious The communist parties particularly in France and Italy were growing in size They held enormous demonstrations which paralyzed the streets Something had to be done both from the humanitarian perspective and also to stop the rapid spread of communism westward Secretary of State George Catlett Marshall 1880-1959 was optimistic about the future of Europe and spoke on June 5 1947 at Harvard University Sibley 1998 He outlined what would become known as the Marshall Plan The Secretarys words were plain in his speech but his message reached far beyond the audience that was in place at Harvard University Marshall mentioned that the Truman Administrations policy was directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger poverty desperation and chaos and that the European nations should cooperatively work together and draw up a rational plan on how they would use the financial aid then present the plan to the United States Government In his speech Marshall left the door open to participation by all including the Soviet Union and Germany and so there would be no reappearance of the harsh peace of Versailles For the first time Europeans would have to act as a single economic unit And the United States would deal with their questions of how much aid for what purposes is necessary for the enforcement of the program The program whose official title was European Recovery Program was aimed at 1 increasing production 2 expanding European foreign trade 3 facilitating European economic cooperation and integration and 4 controlling inflation Origins of the Marshall Plan In terms
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