Marshall Plan Teacher Resources
The Marshall Plan, officially the European Recovery Program, was designed in part to provide financial aid to rebuild the economies of Western Europe in the aftermath of World War II. Named for Secretary of State George C. Marshall and signed by President Truman on April 3, 1948, the plan was also intended to contain the influence of the USSR and the spread of communism.
A good place to begin a study of the Marshall Plan is with resources that examine the pre-war tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, the experiences of these two allies during the war, and the post-war visions of these emerging superpowers (check out this unit). With this context in mind, young historians can gain a deeper understanding of the plan by accessing the primary source materials in the Marshall Plan exhibit and examining congressional records and transcripts of Marshall’s speeches to learn about the controversies surrounding the plan.
Historians can also engage in the debate over whether or not the Marshall Plan was philanthropic. A good way to conclude a study of the Post-World War II period is with a presentation that places the Marshall Plan in context and shows how it continues to influence global politics and policies.