When the United States decided to inject a huge amount of cash to revive a war-ravaged Europe, President Harry Truman feared he would face a tough struggle convincing the Republican-dominated Congress to vote for it. ‘I’ve decided to give the whole thing to General Marshall,’ he said. ‘The worst Republican on the Hill can vote for it if we name it after the general’.

The soldier-statesman General George Marshall, then serving as US Secretary of State, lent his voice – and eventually his name – to the European Recovery Programme, which was passed by Congress on April 3, 1948. Spanning several years, the Marshall Plan authorized $13 billion to boost the European economy. In today’s money, total Marshall aid was worth $130 billion.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.