March 12, 1947
The "Truman Doctrine," outlined in a presidential speech to Congress, makes it U.S. policy to protect nations threatened by communism.
June 5, 1947
In a speech at the Harvard commencement, Secretary of State George C. Marshall calls for an American plan to help Europe recover from World War II.
June 19, 1947
The British and French Foreign ministers issue a joint communiqué inviting 22 European nations to send representatives to Paris to draw up a cooperative recovery plan.
July 12, 1947
The Conference of European Economic Cooperation, which became the Committee of European Economic Cooperation (CEEC), meets in Paris. The Soviet Union declines to attend and pressures Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary into staying away.
The CEEC submits its report estimating needs and the cost of the European Recovery Program (ERP) over four years. It provides for the establishment of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) to coordinate the program from the European side.
A Soviet-backed, communist coup occurs in Czechoslovakia.
April 2, 1948
Congress passes the Economic Cooperation Act that authorizes the Marshall Plan. President Truman signs it the next day.
Paul Hoffman of Studebaker Corp. is appointed administrator of the Economic Cooperation Agency (ECA), the temporary American agency created to implement the plan. Averell Harriman is appointed special representative of the ECA in Europe.
April 15, 1948
First official meeting of the OEEC in Paris to determine national needs prior to passage of appropriations bill by U.S. Congress.
June 30, 1949
The Federal Republic of Germany officially enters the OEEC in the second year of the program.
Dec. 31, 1951
The ERP ends six months early because of the escalation of the Korean War, which had begun in June 1950. Transfer of funds from the United States to Europe had totaled $13.3 billion.
July 5, 1972
In a speech at the Harvard commencement, West German chancellor Willy Brandt announces creation of the German Marshall Fund to thank the United States for its assistance.