The Marshall Plan

New Shoes

The Need

Europe was devastated by years of conflict during World War II.  Millions of people had been killed or wounded.  Industrial and residential centers in England, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Belgium and elsewhere lay in ruins.  Much of Europe was on the brink of famine as agricultural production had been disrupted by war.  Transportation infrastructure was in shambles.  The only major power in the world that was not significantly damaged was the United States.

Aid to Europe

From 1945 through 1947, the United States was already assisting European economic recovery with direct financial aid.  Military assistance to Greece and Turkey was being given.  The newly formed United Nations was providing humanitarian assistance.  In January 1947, U. S. President Harry Truman appointed George Marshall, the architect of victory during WWII, to be Secretary of State.  In just a few months the State Department, under his leadership, with expertise provided by George Kennan, William Clayton and others crafted the Marshall Plan concept, which George Marshall shared with the world in a speech on June 5, 1947, at Harvard University.  Read more

Marshall plan history

Marshall Plan History

The history and chronology of the plan. Studies prior to the plan. Committee reports and funding statistics about the plan. The Marshall Plan Volume and the plan's relevance today.

George Marshall

Marshall Plan Speech

See records and texts about the speech. Listen to the speech and read information about the drafting of the speech. Discover the European Response.

George Marshall in France

Foreign Assistance Act of 1948

Documents about the support for and the opposition of the Marshall Plan. Also included is documentation about how it worked and how it was administered.

Interviews with personnel about Marshall Plan


Interviews with individuals whose work related to ECA, State Department officials and Congressional Testimonies.



Marshall Plan Posters

Based on the theme “Intra-European Cooperation For A Better Standard of Living”, the following twenty-five posters were chosen as the most outstanding.


Marshall Plan Films

To promote the Plan's aims and show what it was doing, the two agencies, along with the European Service Center of the U.S. Information Service ESC/ERSC/EPC) produced, adapted, and/or distributed over 300 films.