For European Recovery:
The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Marshall Plan

Key Dates for the Marshall Plan

  • 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 twenty-two 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.
  • September 1947. 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.
  • February 1948. 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.
  • April 1948. Paul Hoffman of Studebaker Corporation 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.
  • December 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 U. S. 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 U.S. for its assistance.