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Transfers small, debt relief big: the Marshall Plan and postwar Germany

Ritschl, Albrecht (2012) Transfers small, debt relief big: the Marshall Plan and postwar Germany. In: Penn Social Science and Policy Forum, co-sponsored by Penn Economic History Forum, 2012-11-02, PA, United States.

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The Marshall Plan, of mythic stature in common discourse, means many things to many people. It is invoked whenever a large international assistance program is called for, most recently in the context of Southern Europe. But the historical Marshall Plan was actually rather small, as the detractors of a Marshall Plan for Southern Europe have been quick to point out. This paper revives the argument that assistance to Europe under the Marshall Plan was only its outer shell. Its core was a much wider political agenda. Informed by US policy failures in Europe after World War I, it aimed to reconstitute Germany as an export-led economy driving European reconstruction, and to shelter Germany from inherited debts and reparation demands to the largest extent possible. As an assistance program the Marshall Plan was small. As a debt relief program, it was big.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania
Divisions: Economic History
Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
D History General and Old World > DD Germany
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 15:22
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2021 00:10

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