The Legacy of the Marshall Plan
Nicolaus Mills describes the devastation World War II left for many European nations in his book Winning the Peace. The book is about post World War II recovery programs and the legacy they have left behind today. The Marshall plan wasn’t limited to the recovery of Europe rather, according to French economist Robert Marjoin “the Marshall plan became an instrument for unification of Europe”1 said French economist Robert Marjoin. Not only did the Marshall Plan ultimately unify Europe, it also planted a seed for growth in the European markets and diplomatic affairs. Marshall’s plan was a set of very complex recovery programs set for European nations. To understand the European recovery programs implemented after World War II, it is important to understand the man who crafted them, George Marshall. Marshall proved to be a genius statesman, a military general and economic advisor for the United Sates. Although most of the European recovery program focused on aiding war torn nations, “Marshall believed strengthening Western Europe economically was vital to winning the Cold War”2. No man had the caliber of knowledge like George Marshall did.
The first chapters in Winning the Peace focuses on the destruction of European nations after World War II and the amount of aid sent to Europe. The importance of the Marshall’s recovery program, previous campaigns for foreign aid, and Martials credentials as a statesman were also addressed. Foreign aid in the American history was not unheard of before the Marshall Plan was set in place. Herbert Hoover in the previous World War ran the Commission for relief in Belgium (CRB), an example of American war aid towards war-torn nations. Hoover saved 120,000 U.S soldiers behind enemy lines and got them home safely and ultimately got France and the United Kingdom to donate $25 million to the CRB. With help of the CRB, “$300 million worth of food reached more than 9 million people in Belgium and North France.3” “Herbert Hoover established a precedent for the delivery of American Aid to nations crippled by war”4, and following Hoover’s example Marshall advocated his plan in August 1947 during his Harvard Address. 59 % of those questioned in a Gallup poll knew about the Marshall plan and 50% approved of it just two months after the address. Demonstrating how persuasive Marshall was as a statesman. During the twelve minute commencement address which took place on June 5th, Marshall advocated his plan. Marshall’s twelve minutes were used to essentially persuade his audience that his plan was going to work. He stated that “Chaos and poverty was a breeding ground for communism”5. The United States witnessing a “Red Scare” post-World War II and the recovering economy instantly led Marshall to believe that America needed to be a global leader in the World. Marshall successfully used the “Red Scare” tactic into persuading his audience that funding for the his European recovery programs were essential.
The fourth chapter of Winning the Peace titled “Annus Horrendus”, meaning “the years of horror in Latin”, describes the complicated economic policies of Marshall had in store and the programs he created. In 1947, the Truman administration worried that American aid was not producing the desired levels of recovery in Western Europe, as America had spent a total of $9.5 billion on Western European Aid alone and failed to see results. On December 6, 1945, the U.S signed an agreement to provide England with a $3.5 billion loan that was interest free for five years with a 2% rate for fifty years. A year later, in May 1946, the U.S. agreed to also lend $650 million to France. It is important to note that the Marshall plan didn’t solve Europe’s economic problem right away with Alan Millard said “the Marshall plan has not revived the economy of Europe so much it sustained a powerful investment boom already underway”6. Many economists acknowledged that Marshall’s that the genius in the Marshall plan was the seed for prosperous growth of European markets that he planted. Consumption of wheat, sugar, fats eggs, cocoa, and coffee in nearly all counties in Europe had been very low. The (CEEC) calculated the prosecution of all cereals from the Marshal Plan falling from 55.6 million metric tons in 1946-1947 to 48.9 million metric tons in 1947-1948. Aid towards Europeans nations shouldn’t be limited by materialistic means but should also address the physiological needs of Europeans. Food for Europe was vital, George Kenman stated, “the physiological effect was 4/5 accomplished before the first supplies arrived”7.
The following chapters focused on popular support for Marshall’s European Recovery Programs, European self-help, and America’s slow withdrawal of aid in Europe. It was important that European countries have bipartisan support for Marshall’s plans for aid to successfully be spread across Europe. It would make it difficult for the United States to help European nations without sufficient support from all parties. The United States aimed to set a precedent for European self-help and indeed by the fall of 1947, the New York Times reported “European aid had been reduced from an estimated $129.2 billion to between $19 and $86 billion.”8As long as the CEEC countries placed abnormal reliance on the U.S for food fulfillment, a famine was easy to develop this, recovery was ultimately a sense of risk. Although recovery was full of risk, George Marshall sought to bring aid to many European nations devastated by the war. Marshall wanted to help war-torn nations get back up to their feet and rely on each other for future needs.
The conclusion of the book focused on the campaign trails of George Marshall, Marshall’s heroic adventures, and Marshall’s legacy in the Modern Era. In conclusion Marshall’s financial situation during his campaign is also revealed. Campaigning to win congressional approval of the ERP began long before Marshall’s 1948 testimony in the House and Senate. Truman began his epical message on the Marshall plan by insisting in 1947 the foreign policy aim of the U.S was to “insure that there was/will never be a World War II”9. The Narriman Committees has only brought with it more prestige than other committees”10 involved in the Marshall plan.1952 was the stopping point of the ERP, but Marshall had bipartisan support from both Republicans and Democrats and the isolationist mentality began to fade away. Marshall met twice weekly with the House of Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Arthur Vandenberg, and in January 1948, he embarked on a series of speaking storming America over the next few years. Marshall’s first speech came on January 18 before the Pittsburgh Chamber. On January 22, Marshall offered a similar defense of the ERP before for the National Cotton Council and Marshall also gave a speech at UCLA the same week comparing the current situation. Marshall didn’t have to worry about lack of funding for his campaign at any point in his lifetime. 9,000 tons of grain was brought on the John H. Quick towards Bordeaux France. Hoffman insisted that “formation of a single large market would provide western Europe with the kinds of economic efficiencies that the U.S enjoyed”11. The easiest congressional target was the 8. 5 billion budget of the Mutual Security Program. Senate had no problem slashing $1Billion from the administrations Mutual Security Programs. The ECA was fully aware of the danger that America’s growing emphasis on military spending had imposed on the whole idea of the Marshall Plan. ECA director of administrations wrote to Paul Hoffman that America’s new obsession with defense “threatens to destroy after June 31, 1952 the economic foundation of our foreign policy and progress to helping other nations”. The United States is ultimately following a foreign policy of outward expression of demarcated faith we profess. The Bush Administration’s today has decided to link its policy in Iraq to George Marshall’s policy in post-World War II Europe, reminding us of how influential the Marshall Plan remains sixty years after it began.
The author’s thesis in Winning the peace: The Marshall Plan and America’s Coming Of Age As a Superpower discussed whether or not the Marshall plan could be adapted to fit into the current U.S administrations foreign policies. Mills questions if the U.S administration could use the template of George Marshall’s plan for future success in American foreign policy initiatives. Throughout the book it is evident that Mills thinks the Marshall plan should be used as a template for future success in America’s foreign affairs. Sixty years after Marshall President Bush announced before the United Nations General Assembly that he was prepared to makes the greatest financial commitment since the Marshall Plan to help build Iraq up. Winning the Peace Skillfully explores what the United States can and cannot do as a foreign superpower in today’s society. Mills states that “Foreign aid was an American tradition”12 and is still an American tradition made evident today.
Winning the Peace and Their Last Battle are two titles influenced by post World War Two era created by Nicolas Mills. Mills’ titles are predominantly titles taking place in the Modern Era. Mills is currently at work on a new book, Season of Fear: American Intellectuals and 9/11. Winning the Peace as well as many other titles Mills has created emphasizes diplomatic history and revisionism, two types of historiographies which have influenced the titles Mills has created and the content of his titles. Nicolaus Mills Winning the Peace was published in 2008 in New Jersey. American post-war history, foreign policy, and current international affairs are all factors in Mills’ title. Mills looks at George Marshalls Economic Recovery Program for Europe and throughout his title asks if they can be implemented in today’s foreign policy.
Doug Vanderweide’s review of Winning the Peace by Nicolaus Mills is one of admiration for the author’s acknowledgement of George Marshall’s success with the Marshall Plan. Vanderweide gives Nicolaus Mills credit by stating, “Mill’s makes a very strong case that the Marshall plan was an unqualified success not in terms of its financial levels, but in re-establishing the ability of Europeans to trade with one another, thus guaranteeing peace”13. Doug Vanderweirde agrees that the Marshal plan planted a healthy seed for growth in the European market to come and that the Marshall plan also enabled European countries to rely on each other in the future and communicate diplomatically. Throughout Doug’s review he states his admiration for Marshall and Mill’s portrayal of Marshall. Doug states “this book is primarily an homage to Marshall, arguably one of America’s least heralded, but greatest, statesmen.”14 Mills makes it evident that Marshall was a great statesman and tries to persuade the reader to see him in the same way.
Nicolaus Mills’ analysis of the Marshall Plan and George Marshall’s expertise as a great statesman is evident throughout the book. Mills’ proficiently relates the Marshall Plan to Modern American foreign policy, and lures the reader into admiring the legacy of George Marshall’s recovery plans. “The Bush Administration’s decision to link its policy in Iraq with George Marshall’s policy in post-World War II Europe reminds us of how influential the Marshall Plan remains sixty years after it began”15. Mills is proficient in restating his thesis that “the Marshall plan provided a crucial margin of help- a “blood transfusion”16 allowing the nations of Western Europe to move in two different economic directions at the same time. He gives a lively account of George Marshall’s life, the Marshall plans’ programs, and its legacies. Winning the Peace is an important work of history that should be read by all historians.
U.S aid towards war torn countries is nothing unheard throughout history, “There were still examples that Marshall could point to of past aid given by America to the people of nations ravaged by war.”17 Herbert Hoover’s policy of foreign aid towards war torn countries could be used as examples of previous aid in U.S history. He achieved international fame for his direction of Belgian relief and successfully helped 120,000 Americans stranded in Europe to get back to the United States when war broke out in August 1914. George Marshall wasn’t the first man to encourage aid towards foreign countries, “Hoover established a precedent for the delivery of American aid to nations crippled by war.”18 Although economic aid wasn’t rare for the United States, World War II was a water shed in American history according to Mills. George Marshall’s Biennial Report provided the country with an account of what the transformation of the army that he had led since 1939. Unlike any other time in history “the security of the United States of America is entirely in our own hands”19. Mills quotes George Marshall by stating in no other period of American history have the colors of the United States been carried victoriously on so many battlefields.
The Marshall plan is one that could be used as a useful template for future success. “The Marshall plan had done what the end of World War II couldn’t do: laid the groundwork for a stable, postwar Western Europe that would even have room at its economic center for a changed Germany”20, helped to its feet by $3 billion in aid that the Marshall Plan had provided for European construction. Ultimately Nicolaus Mills successfully addresses the life of George Marshall, his recovery programs, and the legacy he left behind.
1. Nicolaus Mills Winning the Peace: The Marshall Plan and America’s Coming of Age As a Superpower: New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc. 2008. Xii.
2. Nicolaus Mills. x.
3. Nicolaus Mills.4.
4. Nicolaus Mills.5.
5. Nicolaus Mills.26.
6. Nicolaus Mills.77.
7. Nicolaus Mills.xii.
8. Nicolaus Mills127
9. Nicolaus Mills.161
10. Nicolaus Mills.195
11. Nicolaus Mills.5
12. Nicolaus Mills.1
13. Vanderweide, Doug. "What Doug Thinks.": Review: Winning the Peace: The Marshall Plan and America's Coming of Age as a Superpower. Google.com, 1 July 2012. Web. 11 June 2013.
14. Vanderweide, Doug. "What Doug Thinks.": Review: Winning the Peace: The Marshall Plan and America's Coming of Age as a Superpower. Google.com, 1 July 2012. Web. 11 June 2013.
15. Nicolaus Mills.65
16. Nicolaus Mills.201
17. Nicolaus Mills. 52
18. Nicolaus Mills. 82
19. Nicolaus Mills. 102
20. Nicolaus Mills 204