2008-07-23

Myths of the Marshall Plan

Just checked the Marshall Plan at Wikipedia. Some interesting facts are:

1) The country with the most money given for reconstruction was Great Britain ($3297 million).
2) The next highest amount was given to France ($2296 million).
3) The third highest amount was given to Germany ($1448 million)
4) No money was given to Japan. Not one cent.

I always thought that the Marshall plan was responsible for the economic giants that both Germany and Japan have become. In reality, Germany and Japan pretty much became economic giants through sheer hard work and good economic policy. The fact that Britain got the bulk of the money but lagged behind both France and Germany up until the 1980s indicates some pretty poor policies being put into place.

Japan was, of course, reliant upon the US for its national defence and its post war constitution, so we need to acknowledge them for that.

2 comments:

Ron Lankshear said...

I would say the main problem was that The Labour party was the GB government from 1945-51. Germany and Japan industry was almost completely destroyed in WW2 or taken away by Russia. So they wisely rebuilt their industry afresh. I note the Wiki article mentions Adenauer complaining about industry being removed. Eventually in 50s a new industry rose. Whereas UK did not have to rebuild its industry.

I recall a lot of criticism of English middle management and the weekly golf afternoon etc

BLBeamer said...

The Germans did have excellent post-war policy under Adenauer and Erhard, but $1.5B was hardly chump change. My father in law tells me of visiting Cologne immediately after the war (June 1945) and the only way to distinguish between the streets and where the buildings used to be was the piles of rubble were slightly lower in the streets. This went on for block after block after block.