The State Department writes about the 60th anniversary:
On June 5, 1947, U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall addressed the graduating class at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, delivering a 12-minute speech that changed the world. Within days, his remarks became known as the Marshall Plan. The following month, European leaders met in Paris to discuss how they could cooperate regionally to qualify for Marshall’s offer of massive U.S. financial assistance. Ten months after Marshall’s speech, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly approved the European Recovery Program. (...) By the time the Marshall Plan ended in 1952 – five years after Marshall’s speech – the United States had invested $13.3 billion, and the years 1948 to 1952 had recorded the fastest economic growth in European history.Writing for the German Embassy in Washington DC, Susan Stern describes how the Marshall plan worked and explains the pro-American myth that is so popular in Germany:
Many Germans believe that the Marshall Plan was alone responsible for the economic miracle of the Fifties. And when scholars come along and explain that reality was far more complex, they are sceptical and disappointed. They should not be. For the Marshall Plan certainly did play a key role in Germany's recovery, albeit perhaps more of a psychological than a purely economic one. The Plan gave the Germans back some of their self-esteem. It opened up new perspectives. It gave them the boost - a positive mind-set - which released their energies and made them work all the harder to rebuild their country. The Marshall Plan did what it set out to do - help people help themselves. Because of the Marshall Plan myth, a lot of East Germans and Eastern Europeans immediately invoked the Marshall Plan after the communist regimes tumbled and the extent of their own economic plight became only too clear. In fact, as Western leaders searched for ways to help, the Marshall Plan became a buzzword.Thank you nevertheless!
June 5, 1972, was the 25th anniversary of George Marshall's Harvard speech, and German Chancellor Willy Brandt was determined to come up with a very special anniversary present as a sign of his nation's appreciation. He flew to Harvard with a moving speech in one pocket and a large check in the other. His thank-you gift: the "German Marshall Fund of the United States," an independent American foundation to be paid for by Germany, and designed to "increase understanding, promote collaboration, and stimulate exchanges of practical information between the United States and Europe."Allen W. Dulles had argued:
The Marshall Plan ... is not a philanthropic enterprise ... It is based on our views of the requirements of American security ... This is the only peaceful avenue now open to us which may answer the communist challenge to our way of life and our national security.Related post in the Atlantic Review: Speech of Hope Set the Course for American-German Relations 60 Years Ago
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