Essay on the Marshall Plan Speech

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University of Richmond
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In 1947 when General Marshall was invited to be awarded an honorary degree at the University of Harvard he delivered a speech that most parties such as the institution and the state did not expect. The address was drafted by Chip Bohlen, and the content focuses on the economic and political situation in Europe. He urged that the people who had been devastated by world war 2 to be assisted in recovering from the ravages of the war. The audience during the presentation of the speech at the Harvard Yard was 15000. The following is the speech as read by General Marshall.

Dr. Conant, the board of overseers, men and women I am humbled by this honorary award that have been bestowed on me by the Harvard University fraternity this morning. I am extremely happy for this high ranking award, and it makes me wonder whether I can portray through my life such high rating who have placed on me (Marshall para 1). It is an honestly an impressive consideration for an individual like me in a historic day and moments like this before such a great assembly.

Ladies and gentlemen I do not need to remind you that global situation is critical as it is apparent to all people as intelligent as you. I believe that the situation is so complicated that the information and facts presented to the public by the press and the radio channel makes it difficult for a layperson to comprehend the meaning. Additionally, the Americans are far from the places that have massively been plundered by the war which makes it challenging for them to understand the experiences out there. This affects American reaction to these people and their plight even as we endeavor to advocate for global peace.

The process of reconstructing Europe following the damage made by the war such as loss of life, destruction of cities, infrastructures, and industries was done correctly. However, the estimate of the damage was far less compared to the economic retardation that occurred on the entire structure of the European economy. In the past one decade, the conditions in Europe have been extremely abnormal. The demands to prepare and sustain the war by the European nations that took part in the battle devastated their economy. The Economy of these countries has not been able to be revived, and some have gone obsolete (Marshall para 3). The Nazi rule conditioned all enterprises to diverge their capabilities towards fighting the Germans. The commercial ties, banks, insurance firms, shipping companies, and private establishment disappeared or were nationalized, could not finance their operation or destroyed during the war. This situation led to a decline in the confidence of the local currency by its people which further shook the economy of many nations. The European business structure was utterly broken down during the war period. The efforts to recover from these massive destructions has not been achieved not forgetting that hostilities are not over considering that reaching a peace agreement between Germany and Austria has not been realized. But even the more urgent need is the restoration of the Economic structure of Europe which from earlier estimates it will require more efforts that reported in previous approximations.

However, there is a perspective on this concern that requires close attention. Farmers have always produced food for the city dwellers who in exchange provide them with other life necessities. This shows the division of labor which is a prerequisite for civilization in the modern world but is presently under threat by the perceived breakdown on the economy. The city dwellers are not producing adequate goods to enable them to get food from the farmers. The raw materials and fuels are contributing to this problem. Since the farmers cannot find goods from the city which motivates them to continue with farming, they have pullback their efforts from producing adequate food. The uncultivated fields are used for grazing animals, and this has contributed to the shortage of food witnessed in the cities. For this reason, the governments are compelled to use financial reserves to supplement these shortages experienced. These events affect significantly the funds that are meant to help in the economic reconstructions (Marshall para 4). This situation is proliferating and is very detrimental to the world. The system of division of labor which is fundamental for developments to occur is breaking down. The current European requirement for aid from America is very high that it must get help from elsewhere to quench their needs. The solution will only be the restoration of the confidence of the European people and their economic future to stop this vicious cycle of suffering. The manufacturers and farmers must be motivated to exchange their products for the national currencies which are significantly in question how it should be achieved.

Amidst of the economic disturbances motivated by people working out of desperation, the American economy has been able to prevail throughout the tough moments. Therefore it is in the interest of America to help the rest of the world to recover their economic strength to reduce the burden it has to bear by offering aids. Without such a sacrifice for the global economic hope and peace cannot be guaranteed in the world. Our doctrines work against poverty, hunger, social disorder, and people acting out of desperation and not against any policy or doctrine by any nation. The purpose is to promote running economies across the world that will support political and social fabrics for free institutions to operate. To achieve this tranquility it, not a piece-meal that is necessitated emergence of crises. The American government should focus on curative rather than palliative solutions for such problems in future. For this reason, any government that is genuinely ready to cooperate will get necessary assistance as the USA is prepared to support the reconstruction of the world economies. Similarly, any nation that creates a stumbling block for other nations recovery can rest assured that America will not render support towards such. Additionally, countries or groups that intend to take advantage of the prevailing situation and profit from it will meet America's opposition on such arrangement.

It is clear that the USA is ready to facilitate European economic recovery but before more is done the nations from this region need to agree their role in this process to achieve the desired results (Marshall para 6). Only the European can identify the areas that need focus in the process of recovery. The USA can only assist in the designing of the roadmap and help follow through by most of the European nations if not all.

The American people in their quest to create a solution always desired to understand the nature of the problem. Therefore the political injustices are not tolerated. Thus it will be the willingness of the American people to support such programs that will help to overcome the challenge.

I apologize that on some occasion I have said the same thing concerning our international situation, but now I have been forced to enter into the technicalities of the case. This explanation will enable the American people to understand the situation at hand and rationally react to it rather than delving on the emotional or prejudicial perspective. This is because as I said earlier, we are at a remote distance and only by reading, hearing, or watching what the rest of the world is experiencing is not enough to understand the experiences out there to facilitate proper support. Further understanding will help American understand the types of problem and the solutions required by prioritization. Thank you very much.


Work cited

Marshall, George. The Marshall Plan Speech. The George C. Marshall Foundation, The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1962,


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