George Catlett Marshall's significant foreign policy achievements as secretary of state included the Marshall Plan, a daring effort to aid post–World War II European recovery.
Winner, Arthur S. Link-Warren F. Kuehl Prize for Documentary Editing, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations
George Catlett Marshall’s two years as secretary of state, from January 1947 to January 1949, remain among the most eventful in the history of both the State Department and American foreign policy in general. The period covered in volume 6 of The Papers of George Catlett Marshall saw the formal break between the United States and its Soviet wartime ally and the beginning of the cold war; civil wars in Greece and China; decolonization and independence for India, Pakistan, and Israel; the Truman Doctrine; the Marshall Plan; the Berlin blockade and airlift; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; and the Organization of American States.
Secretary of State Marshall played a pivotal role in the transformation of American relations with the rest of the world during these years. Not only was he President Harry S Truman’s key adviser in foreign affairs, he also proposed the European Recovery Program that bears his name. Implementing this and other U.S. foreign policies required attendance at a large number of international conferences in 1947 and 1948 and an even larger number of Senate and House committee hearings. His testimony at these hearings—and his close relations with legislative leaders—proved crucial to establishing the extraordinary bipartisan congressional approval of his proposals, and so, too, did his numerous public appearances to cultivate broad public support for his programs. Marshall retired at the beginning of 1949, but his respite from public service would be short-lived.
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