By: Iosif Sorokin |
On April 3, 1948, the European Recovery Plan, often referred to as the Marshall Plan after its main proponent U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall, was signed into law by U.S. President Harry Truman. The Plan provided sixteen European nations with approximately seventeen billion dollars in aid to help rebuild their economies following World War II.
Believing that without economic stability there could be no world peace, Marshall pressed for providing aid to any nation willing to cooperate with the United States. Nations that were aligned with both the Allied and the Axis powers received aid, as did those nations that had remained neutral, though notably the Soviet Union rejected the offer of any economic aid and blocked any aid from reaching East Germany and Poland.
The Marshall Plan was in effect for four years during which Europe saw some of the fastest economic growth in its history. Though some question how much of this economic growth can be directly attributed to the Plan, the Plan it is still widely hailed for removing trade barriers, modernizing industry, and integrating Western European nations, thereby lessening the influence of Communism in the region.