Marshall Plan (1947-1952)  20571


  • 00:00:00 1947, Italy. Famine; fertile ground for Communism. Membership of Communist party reaches 2m. Truman: “The seeds of totalitarian regimes are nurtured by misery … We must keep that hope alive.”
  • 00:01:15 Title sequence
  • 00:01:50 May Day in Moscow, 1947. Public ownership and central planning v Mixed economy and free trade.
  • 00:03:00 February 1947 UK financial crisis: informed USA of end of aid to Greece and Turkey. Fear of fall to Communism. Truman speech: “The free peoples of the world look to us for support in maintaining their freedoms. If we falter in our leadership we may endanger the peace of the world, and we shall surely endanger the welfare of this nation … I therefore ask the Congress to provide assistance to Greece and Turkey in the amount of $400m …” Pitched for first time as West v Communists.
  • 00:04:50 Europe in ruins. Communist party attracting new recruits. Marianne Debouzy: only party to join if you wanted to change the world.
  • 00:05:50 New Secretary of State = George Marshall. McGhee: very austere, inapproachable man. Insisted on being referred to as General. Marshall meets Molotov in Moscow, alongside Britain and France. Weeks of meetings get nowhere. USSR stalling for time so that unrest ferments in Western Europe without Red Army having to invade.
  • 00:07:40 Stalin wants to keep Germany on its knees, fearful of resurgence. USA believes Germany must get back on its feet for European recovery. Marshall instructed State Dept to develop European rescue plan. Marshall “The whole situation is critical in the extreme … We happen to be … the strongest country in the world today, certainly economically.” Announced plan at awards ceremony at Harvard University. Ernest Bevin, British Foreign Secretary; had always wanted to involve USA in reconstruction.
  • 00:09:40 USSR also needing investment. In theory, Marshall Plan open to both East and West. Stalin: Marshall different from Lend-Lease. Wanting to pull countries away from Soviet Union.
  • 00:10:40 Paris conference of Foreign Ministers to frame response to Marshall Plan. Molotov attended.
  • 00:11:15 Use of spies. Modin: Access to everything. New information about Marshall Plan: confirmed that USA didn’t really want participation of USSR in Marshall Plan. Stalin told Molotov to pull out of negotiations, and accused West of dividing Europe into two hostile camps. Elsey: never any intention for USSR to join, thought would have welcomed such a miracle.
  • 00:13:30 Prague: Czechoslovaks discussed whether to join. Democratic government included a third of Communists, who also agreed to join Marshall Plan. Czech Prime Minister and Foreign Minister summoned to Moscow. Stalin pushed them not to attend the Paris conference. Government rejected Marshall Plan. PM Gottwald prepared statement read with discomfort: “Long live the eternal friendship and the alliance of the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia”. Jan Masaryk shattered by experience: “I was going to Moscow as a minister of a free state and I am returning as Stalin’s slave.”
  • 00:16:35 September 1947: 16 nations signed up for Marshall, requesting $20bn of aid. Galbraith: Primary purpose as compassionate. Sukhanov: Imposing US influence; an aggressive act.
  • 00:17:40 September 1947: Stalin revives pre-war Communist International as Cominform; control countries of Eastern bloc. Communist parties in West to take initiative in seizing power. Comicon offered aid, e.g. grain to Czechoslovakia after bad harvest. Both Cominform and Comicon direct response to Marshall Plan.
  • 00:19:00 February 1948: Communists reach for power in Czechoslovakia. 5 day takeover. 2 weeks later: Jan Masaryk death – suicide or pushed from window? Funeral symbolises end of free Czechoslovakia.
  • 00:20:35 Shocks Washington. Marshall still being argued before partially isolationist Congress. Truman speech. Czech coup decisive in helping Marshall approval.
  • 00:22:00 20% loans. 80% grants. First shipments food and fertilisers. Then machines to improve agricultural efficiency. 4 years: $13.5bn in 16 countries. Relatively few people spending a lot of money.
  • 00:22:40 Europe purchase of goods and machinery directs much money back to USA, fuelling boom. Debouzy: USA action seen as self-serving.
  • 00:23:30 Greece much in need of help. Still hunting down Communist guerillas in North. 2000 of Greece’s villages burnt by Nazi reprisal raids. Civil war further shredded fabric. Greece = $700m of assistance. Young Americans had huge responsibility (e.g. James Warren; at 24 was in charge of Greek import programme). All over map and all over every single sector of economy. USA: fed, fuelled and clothed Greek nation. Imports of Missouri mule to help replace Greek animals. Cantankerous animals. Farmers drawing lots for mules. Much larger than animals they were used to. Fat and big. Began to use mules to plough. Very good animals. Pictures of large mules next to small mules.
  • 00:28:00 Industrial Europe faced other problems: France, 1947 – workers at Renault factory on strike. Communist ministers backing them expelled from Government. In Autumn, 3m workers on the streets. Ministers feared civil war. USA made it clear that no Marshall Aid to industry until Communism under control. Derailing of express train caused strikers to lose support. $2.7bn of aid was result.
  • 00:29:20 Yugoslavia went Communist under Tito independently of USSR. Moving further and further away from USSR. Expelled from Cominform in 1948. Turned to West, and requested USA aid. In 1950 signed agreement with USA. $150m of aid distributed.
  • 00:31:20 In Italy, 1948, Toliati’s Communist Party dominated left-wing popular front. De Gaspiri’s Christian Democrats ran the Government. April General Election was expected to be won by Communists. Campaign in USA to get Italian Americans to write to relatives to get them not to vote Communist.
  • 00:33:45 Newly created CIA authorised by Marshall to develop plan of covert action to achieve what couldn’t be done by the State Department.
  • 00:34:45 Did CIA have power to carry out covert activity? If the President specifically directs it, and Congress gives money to support it, then authority is there. Rushed into breach without training in covert action. Gave money to candidates for their campaigns.
  • 00:36:20 Pope Pius XII concerned about doctrine of Communists more than politics. Network of election committees created, in parallel with Catholic Church. Posters particularly effective. In the rural areas there were no cinemas, so lorries sent out into towns and villages with election films projected at night. Crowds in squares. Mainardi: “out of this world” lies told. “Holy war” against Communists; members of Italian Communist party ex-communicated by Pius XII a few days before the election. Effects on Mainardi’s fiancée: not being able to marry in church, or wear white dress, or be taken to altar by father. Migliaccio: Communists clearly atheists. Mainardi cries. CIA did not know at the time that they had established major precedent for covert action.
  • 00:43:00 Flood of aid to Italy. Turin: Fiat receives new assembly line machines from Detroit and Pittsburgh; some of most sophisticated machines in Europe. Fuels revival of European industry.
  • 00:44:10 “Modernise your economies, and you too can be like us.” Geiger: Europe would need to imitate American production and management methods.
  • 00:45:30 “Soviet Union was forced to build its own rival bloc; the people of the socialist countries would eye the West for 40 years, and wonder.”


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            [0] => Kenneth Branagh*narrator**Theodore Geiger*Economist, US State Department / Marshall Plan Administrator**George Elsey*Aide to President Truman**George McGhee*US State Department**Marianne Debouzy*Student, Paris**Sir Frank Roberts*Private Secretary to Ernest Bevin**Vladimir Yerofeyev*Soviet Foreign Ministry**Yuri Modin*Soviet Intelligence**Antonin Sum*Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry / Private Secretary to Jan Masaryk**John Kenneth Galbraith*US Economist**Dmitri Sukhanov*Politburo Secretariat**James Warren*Marshall Plan, Greece**Deli Huseyin*Peasant Farmer, Greece**Mehmet Emin*Peasant Farmer, Greece**Giuseppe Mainardi*Italian Communist**Giovanni Agnelli*Chairman, Fiat**Giulio Andreotti*Italian Christian Democratic Party**F Mark Wyatt*CIA**Padre Lucio Migliaccio*Church Civic Committees**Lina Mainardi*Fiancée of Italian Communist


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