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.

Literature Starts a Fire


Today in History, June 5: 1851 – “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, or “Life Among the Lonely”, by Harriett Beecher Stowe is first published in an abolitionist weekly magazine. The story brought the life of a slave to the masses when a publisher picked it up and printed it in book form, making it an international sensation. The book set afire the slavery / anti-slavery camps in the nation. In 1862, when President Lincoln played host to Ms. Stowe in the White House, he is reported to have greeted her with, “So this is the little lady who made this big war?”.  In book form, Uncle Tom’s Cabin would be the number one bestseller of the 19th century, except of course for the Bible.