Foreword - The Marshall Plan: Lessons Learned for the 21st Century


 Back to The Marhsall Plan: Leassons Learned for the 21st Century

The Marhsall Plan: Leassons Learned for the 21st Century  

“… It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos.”

George C. Marshall, 5 June 1947Back to The Marhsall Plan: Leassons Learned for the 21st Century

On 13 June 2007, the partnership of the George C. Marshall Foundation, the George Washington University, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe, in collaboration with the three US missions in Paris, France (the Embassy, the OECD and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO – missions) jointly organized the Marshall Plan 60th Anniversary Symposium at the recently restored, elegant Hôtel de Talleyrand, now the George C. Marshall Center. This historic symposium, celebrating one of America’s and Euro-Atlantic alliance’s finest hours, was a great success, by virtue of the superb scholarly presentations and concluding speech by Under-Secretary R. Nicholas Burns, the spirited participation of the audience and the extraordinary support provided by Ambassadors Craig R. Stapleton, Constance A. Morella, and Louise V. Oliver, and their superb staffs.


The Marshall Plan 60th Anniversary Monograph is derived from the Symposium’s scientific presentations and inspired by several anteceding tributaries, including:

  • the Marshall Plan Exhibit at the US State Department in Washington, DC (during Secretary Colin Powell’s term in office, June 2004); followed by
  • The Marshall Plan: French and American Perspectives on Lessons Learned Applicable to the 21st Century, organized by the Conflict Management and Resolution Section of the World Psychiatric Association, the George Washington University Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, the United States Mission at OECD, The French Embassy in Washington, the US Diplomacy Center, and held at the Elliott School for International Affairs, Washington, DC,
    in February 2005; and
  • the George C. Marshall Foundation sessions at the Hôtel de Talleyrand in Paris, and the ensuing monograph, In Search of a Usable Past: The Marshall Plan and Postwar Reconstruction Today in June 2006.

The 60th Anniversary symposium and the monograph are a synthesis of these three antecedent events, augmented by the new knowledge generated through scholarly contributions presented herein, in the context of contemporary and anticipated 21st century global challenges.

The 60th anniversary monograph

Our 21st century world is replete with contrasting challenges. Hunger, poverty, desperation, chaos and conflict are still quite pervasive in large areas of the globe, as they were in post World War II Europe, contrasting with the remarkable achievements and wellbeing of the European Union and its enlargement to include central and parts of Eastern Europe, in effect a continuation of the Marshall Plan.


The Marshall Plan: Lessons Learned for the 21st Century monograph addresses historical, diplomatic, economic, and strategic aspects of the European Recovery Program (ERP), (popularly known as the Marshall Plan), which brought Europe out of the chaos, hunger, poverty, desperation, and ashes of World War II.


The authors of the monograph review the more than half a century journey from the early days of the ERP through the common market, the OECD, the European Union and its central and Eastern European inclusion. The Marshall Plan was intended for the whole of Europe and not only its western part. The authors – scholars, policy makers, and business leaders – address applications of the Marshall Plan’s lessons learned to the 21st century, for capacity building, human and sustainable development, and the role of public, private partnerships in emerging market economies and democratic societies. The scholarly contributions are from France, Italy, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom and the United States.


The editors hope that this monograph, of insightful, thought-provoking papers derived from the Marshall Plan 60th Anniversary Symposium would further stimulate the dialogue regarding the lessons learned from the European Recovery Program, and contribute to the development of solutions to the complex global challenges of the 21st century.

- Eliot Sorel and Pier Carlo Padoan, editors