The Marshall Plan Provides Aid to Europe (Great Events from History II: Human Rights Series)
Article abstract: Following its adoption by Congress in 1948, the Marshall Plan provided almost $12.5 billion in American aid to spur economic recovery in Western Europe.
Summary of Event
In the winter of 1946/1947, European nations struggled to recover from the widespread devastation of World War II. The conflict had levelled cities, destroyed thousands of factories, disrupted transportation and communication systems, and rendered machinery for extracting raw materials useless. The European standard of living had fallen drastically below that of prewar levels, even in nations that had not borne the brunt of the fighting. In the spring of 1947, two million British industrial workers were unemployed, and many others were underemployed because of shortages in raw materials. In Italy, industrial production stood at twenty percent of prewar levels. In Germany’s Ruhr region, coal production had dropped to forty-five percent of its previous level, and similar declines elsewhere affected industrial production and transportation systems throughout Europe. Millions of homeless and displaced citizens strained the existing social services beyond their limits. The unusually severe European winter of 1946/1947 exacerbated the hardships brought through war. Food shortages existed in most nations and, consequently, food rationing was widely accepted. Politically, France and Italy faced growing communist and leftist movements whose...
(The entire section is 2378 words.)
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