Fritz Stern Lecture
The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War
The Marshall Plan—the costly and ambitious initiative to revive Western Europe after World War II—marked the true beginning of the Cold War, argues Benn Steil. Using new Russian and American archival material, Steil shows that it was only after the launch of the 1947 plan “that both sides . . . became irrevocably committed to securing their respective spheres of influence.” In his award-winning book, The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War (Simon & Schuster, 2018), Steil describes how President Truman’s State Department, under George C. Marshall’s leadership, formulated a recovery program to provide Europe with a new economic and political architecture appropriate for a continent divided into two worlds: a capitalist and a communist one. Steil’s narrative brings to life the most dramatic episodes of the early Cold War—the Prague coup, the Berlin Blockade, the division of Germany—and shows how they unfurled from Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s determination to undermine the US intervention and presence in Western Europe.