The Marshall Plan And Your Pocketbook - a panel discussion from September 27, 1947 on the effect of the Marshall plan on the U.S. economy and what was needed for Post War Europe.
September 29, 2010

After war comes an army of refugees

With the end of World War 2 came a new set of concerns - what to do about the effects of the war on those countries ravaged by it. Early in 1947 Secretary of State George C. Marshall came up with a plan to supply economic aid to those 16 Western nations suffering the most damage as a result of the war. It was estimated the cost to be upwards of $16 billion in order to restore some infrastructure and quality of life to the people of Europe. The question was, who was going to pay for it and were the American people willing.

That question was posed to a panel on this episode of Our Foreign Policy from September 27, 1947. On the panel were Senator Ralph Flanders (R-Vermont), Senator John Sherman Cooper (R-Kentucky) and Chester Davis from The President's Committee for Foreign Aid as well as reporters covering the various war torn capitols around Europe and Japan.

Merrill Muller (NBC News): “ More than any other country among the Western European democracies, Great Britain lays claims to the moral right of economic aid from the United States, and preferably on a gift basis. This all stems from the remarks of Prime Minister Clement Atlee and opposition leader Winston Churchill on September 8th 1945 when the Unites States ended Lend-Lease. Mister Atlee said in his speech, in part and I quote, ‘we can only reconvert gradually and a sudden cessation of a support on which our war organization had so largely depended puts us in a very serious financial position. It would seem reasonable to regard such supplies and services arising directly out of the war as belonging to the common war effort,’ unquote.”

And then the question arose of who got how much of what and when.

At least in 1947 we had some idea how to wage peace and the Marshall Plan worked and it worked for a lot of people. Can't say that same about our current situation in Iraq - but that's another story set to another can of worms.

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