Title page for ETD etd-05062006-142739

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Noble, Evan S.
URN etd-05062006-142739
Title Marshall Plan Films and Americanization
Degree Master of Arts
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Nelson, Amy Committee Chair
Ewing, E. Thomas Committee Member
Stephens, Robert S. Committee Member
  • Marshall Plan
  • Multilateral Trade
  • Productivity
  • Americanization
  • Films
  • Propaganda
  • "Free" Trade Unions
Date of Defense 2006-04-24
Availability unrestricted
Marshall Plan Films and Americanization

By Evan S. Noble

George Marshall’s speech to an audience at Harvard University in June of 1947 announced a plan that eventually made its way through the United States congress and took the form of the European Recovery Plan (ERP). The ERP distributed roughly thirteen billion dollars in aid to sixteen European countries. The ECA grew out of this program as the managerial arm of the ERP. The ECA’s propaganda campaign included pamphlets, posters, radio broadcasts, traveling puppet shows, and finally 250 films created between 1949-1953. Marshall Plan Films discussed productivity, multilateral trade, and labor unions. For Marshall Planners these issues were the key to both revitalizing the European economy, and creating a self sustaining Europe.

In film, Europeans could see not only the modernizing techniques, building projects, and examples of Marshall Plan, but they were treated to visions of the American lifestyle as well. This study is an attempt to explicate the meanings and messages in the Marshall Plan Filmography. The Marshall Plan launched a massive propaganda campaign in an attempt to reformat the ideals of Europeans. The Plan was ostensibly an attempt to combat Communism as well as to re-vamp the economy of Europe. However, the films presented American ideals as something to aspire to: not only in business, but also in living everyday life. By stressing consumption over conservation and massive production over craftsmanship, the films told Europeans what America thought was best for them, and what would be beneficial for their future. Marshall Planners effectively sought to make Europe into a new, more American, place to live.

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