After World War II Europe was devastated not only physically but economically as well. Domestic conditions in Great Britain were meager, while conditions in France were equally as bad. In 1946, one-fourth of the French voted Communist; as for Italy the Communists controlled one-third of the voting public. The burden of an impending economic cave-in and political instability are what set the Marshall Plan in motion (Margiotta). .
President Truman knew that if Europe was not able to recover soon then Communism would undoubtedly make its' way West; thus, something needed to be done immediately. On June 5, 1947, George C. Marshall announced the objective to promote European recovery with a massive infusion of economic aid all throughout Europe and encourage European countries to work together for economic recovery. In the speech Marshall outlined the problem: "Europe's requirements are so much greater than her present ability to pay that she must have substantial additional help or face economic, social, and political deterioration of a very grave character." So Marshall suggested a solution: that the European nations themselves set up a program for the restoration of Europe, with United States assistance (Chambers). Sixteen European nations formed the Committee of European Economic Cooperation and put together a description detailing what their economic needs for the next four years would be. In response, President Harry S. Truman signed the Foreign Assistance Act, the legislation establishing the Marshall Plan and donating $5.3 billion dollars and roughly $7 billion in food, machinery, and other products for the recovery of Europe. .
Leaders of the Marshall Plan include George C. Marshall, Paul G. Hoffman, and Averell Harriman. Marshall was a 5-star general from World War II and held the position of Secretary of State in Truman's cabinet. Chosen for is with business and financial experience; Hoffman was the president of Studebaker automobile company and was appointed head of the Economic Cooperation Act, which operated the Economic Recovery Program (Chambers).