During a speech at Harvard University on June 5, 1949, U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall announced the creation of one of the largest international economic aid programs that would soon carry his name.
The Marshall Plan, officially known as the European Recovery Program, was subsequently passed by U.S. Congress in March 1948 and provided aid to a continent destroyed in World War II. On the 70th anniversary of that famous speech, Dr. Heinz Fischer, alongside the former U.S. Secretary of State, Dr. Madeleine Albright, spoke at the official anniversary celebration at the Marshall House in Leesburg, Virginia, as well as at a commemoration at the U.S. Capitol with congressmen and diplomats in attendance.
Dr. Fischer delivered speeches filled with personal anecdotes and gratitude to the U.S., and addressed the continuing relevance of the Marshall Plan for Europe and Austria in view of current global challenges.
At the beginning of the event at the Capitol, Dr. Fischer handed over to Dr. Albright and Senator Ben Cardin, ranking member of the Committee on Foreign Relations and Honorary Co-Host of the event, a personally dedicated advance copy of a massive new book "The Marshall Plan – Since 1947: Saving Europe, Rebuilding Austria" by Marshall Plan Professors at the Center Austria of the University of New Orleans Guenter Bischof and Hans Petschar.
After this VIP segment on Capitol Hill, two panels of noted and rising scholars discussed "The Marshall Plan and Its Meaning to the World Today" at the Library of Congress.
Austria benefited enormously from the Marshall Plan between 1948 and 1952: In total, the United States poured USD 13 billion (122 billion in today’s dollars) into postwar Western Europe. On a per capita basis, Austria ranked in the top three out of 16 nations receiving Marshall aid amounting to approximately USD 1 billion.