Monday, 5 May 2014

16 April 1948: Organisation for European Economic Co-operation set up

1948 (propagandaposter by the ECA promoting Marshall Plan aid

If one takes into account the situation in Europe at the end of the War (devastated infrastructure, political and social instability, the fear of Soviet expansion), European recovery and integration could not, it is argued, have been envisaged had it not been for American economic and military support...

George Marshall, the US Secretary of State, had suggested in his June 1947 speech at Harvard, that the countries of Europe draw up a common plan for economic recovery. This is what happened at the Conference on European Economic Cooperation which began in Paris on 12 July 1947.

As a result of the conference, a permanent group, the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), was set up on 16 April 1948 to coordinate the use of Marshall Plan funds in collaboration with the ECA (Economic Cooperation Administration), a US government agency.

The Marshall Plan gave American aid on a massive scale (worth $130 billion in current dollar value) to 18 countries of Europe (primarily to the UK, France and West Germany). It was in operation for four years from April 1948. Its aim was to make Europe prosperous again (able to buy American goods), and thus better able to resist the spread of communism (cf. the Truman Doctrine), from within (national Communist parties), and from the Soviet Bloc.

The OEEC became the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) in 1960.

The USA also helped Europe by protecting it through a military alliance: NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) set up on 4 April 1949.

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