Lifeline To A Sinking Continent

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The Marshall Plan’s overall impact on European rehabilitation is impossible to measure. By practically every gauge, productivity rose dramatically between 1948 and 1952, and substantial progress was made in resolving the problem of a fragmented Germany, achieving political stability, and promoting economic integration. No one can tell how much the Europeans themselves might have accomplished without the plan, but it can at least be said that in the short run it provided millions of people with badly needed food, medicine, and fuel. And in so doing, it fulfilled unusually high intentions. American self-interest was involved, of course, but the Marshall Plan remains what one account refers to as a rare example of “power used to its best end.”