Rebuilding Europe with the Marshall Plan

Therese Bonney, a photojournalist, documented the war to show what fascism does to children. She was often quoted saying that her book, Europe's Children, was a book written with a lens.

Spanish children searching for food.
Their bags are filled with rotten oranges.

Children faced a strange life.

Trying to salvage some sense of normalcy by digging through the rubble for toys.

Carrying water was the daily chore of this child in an Italian town with no plumbing.

These children play near salt flats near Anthele, Greece.

A father and child In the refugee camp — without possessions, without work, the future seemed hopeless.

Corrugated iron barracks act as emergency housing for the homeless, many of whom are children.

Help Came
Help for newly liberated Europe came from the Allied armies, private organizations, churches and the newly formed United Nations.

CARE, or Cooperative For American Remittances to Europe, was formed Nov 2, 1945. It facilitated personalized giving for both the giver and the recipient.

Organized in December 1946 to provide relief to children in countries devastated by war. Funds were obtained by government and private contributions outside the UN budget.

The Marshall Plan
From 1945 through 1947, the United States was already assisting European economic recovery with direct financial aid.  Military assistance to Greece and Turkey was being given.  The newly formed United Nations was providing humanitarian assistance.  In January 1947, U. S. President Harry Truman appointed George Marshall, the architect of victory during WWII, to be Secretary of State.  In just a few months the State Department, under his leadership, with expertise provided by George Kennan, William Clayton and others crafted the Marshall Plan concept.

On June 5, 1947 George C. Marshall delivered a speech at Harvard, laying out the ideas of the Marshall Plan.

Cub Scouts wrote a Junior Marshall Plan to help children in Western Europe.

No Shortcuts
The idea was simple, the details were a bit more complicated.  The facts and issues surrounding the Marshall Plan were discussed in various media outlets and through educational pamphlets, many written in the languages of Marshall Plan countries.

A presentation of the issues by the Foreign Policy Association and The Washington Post about the European Recovery Program.

The national school newspaper discusses the Marshall Plan, American resources, the five keys to freedom, free trade and more.

The Marshall Plan and You: The Dutch version of this booklet was distributed among employers and employees, professional groups, teachers, students, etc. in the Netherlands.

Italian series of books explaining the Marshall Plan
"Must aid be repaid?"

Booklet produced by the Economic Cooperation Administration. Europe’s contribution to the Marshall Plan. Partnership for Recovery.

Renewed Hope
Maintaining peace, rebuilding lives and promoting prosperity were all the results of the Marshall Plan.

Marshall Plan aid helped even the youngest Europeans with modern medical equipment.

This dairy was part of a French nationwide milk modernization program which was aided with Marshall Plan counterpart funds. The renewed industry helped lower the infant mortality rate in Paris.

This "Marshall Plan Bebe" is alive thanks to Marshall Plan streptomycin.

Children run through what will become streets near a new housing development.

With peace, fun returns to Sardinia. Here, children are eyeing the newest toys available.

Monopoly, an American craze, is new to France. The people of the village of Leirs are enjoying the game outside.

Not all fun and games. Blanche, a 20-year old seamstress in a Paris fashion house, is helping her younger brother, Claude, with his lessons in the evening.

Europe's children are grateful.

The George C. Marshall Foundation
Credits: Story

Exhibit Curator -
Cara Cook Sonnier, Digital Communications Librarian

This exhibit contains primary sources from five archival collections at the George C. Marshall Foundation.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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