The Program

In December 1947, still according to Behrman, the first shipments of food arrived at Le Havre, to be distributed across France. The dock workers of France, who had been on strike before the shipment against American imperialism and the Marshall Plan, returned to work and now offered to work for free with unloading the 1500 tons of food, which filled 10 trains that headed for different regional centers in France. At the same time ships with similar loads had left harbors on the American East Coast for the cities and towns of Italy.9

The first aid was officially sent under the banner of the European Recovery Program (ERP) was sent on 14 April in 1948. On this day a number of ships started loading in Texas with a total of 54,000 tons of grain, fuel, foodstuffs, feed, chemicals, fertilizers, raw materials, semifinished products, vehicles and equipment. These shipments were followed by a large number of similar shipments over the ensuing years.

Within the first year, Hoffman had employed 620 people in positions in the United States and Europe. The ECA had authorized 750 million dollars in aid. Seventy-five percent of this amount went to the three largest countries, the United Kingdom, France and Italy. One-third of the aid came in the form of food and feed; the rest was goods that were necessary in order to rebuild morale and production capacity. Many times the shipments had immediate effects on the production capacity of the European countries.

The program, for several reasons, ended 6 months before its original expiration date. During the program, the United States had spent 13 billion of the 17 billion dollars that had been approved by Congress. The result of the plan was better than the goal set by Hoffman and the ECA. "From 1947 to 1951, the Marshall Plan countries' aggregate gross national products grew from $120 billion to almost $160 billion. By the end of the Plan, Western European industrial production was 35 percent higher than the prewar level, exceeding the lofty goal Hoffman had set at the Plan's start".10

And, as we know, the plan also achieved the other goals set by Clayton. The economic growth that was largely created through the plan has continued, economic and financial stability has been achieved, and free trade has been one of the tools behind the growth. Another important contribution has been the cooperation in Europe, which has resulted in the European Union, and the fact that Europe is now becoming an economically, as well as politically, integrated region.

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