War to Peace…Gen. George Marshall

Today in History, June 5, 1947:

George Catlett Marshall, Jr, who as Chief of Staff of the US Army during WWII was instrumental in defeating the Axis powers, is now US Secretary of State.

On this date he gives a speech at Harvard University and outlines the reasons that the US should provide monetary and physical support to the European nations decimated by the war. Germany and the other nations of Europe were struggling to rebuild their economies, their infrastructure and their ability to operate as governments.

These same countries had been left to fend for themselves after WWI, and radicals like Hitler took advantage of their desperation to bring the world into WWII. The new “bad influence” was communism and Marshall recognized that the same thing could happen all over again. Congress acted on his recommendations and passed the Economic Cooperation Act, or The Marshall Plan. By 1952 the US had spent over 12 Billion dollars to rebuild Europe, likely preventing another global conflict.