This film is part of Free

Answer to Stalin

Was there a better way of fighting the Soviet threat than the atomic bomb? The ‘answer to Stalin’ was to rebuild Europe with billions of dollars of aid: the Marshall Plan.

Documentary 1948 19 mins


Images of resurgent European industry abound in March of Time's hymn to the regenerative power of American aid. Footage of power stations and cooling towers in the UK, modern agricultural equipment ploughing French fields and German coal trucks trundling towards roaring blast furnaces are contrasted with scenes embodying the threat of Communism: striking French miners, poverty amid the ruins of Warsaw, and the odd sight of North Koreans entranced by a display of Russian dancing.

Winston Churchill appears in a clip in this issue warning that if it were to destroy its atomic weapons, America would be ‘murdering human freedom’. The Marshall Plan offered a less apocalyptic guarantee of peace and prosperity in Western Europe, in the form of a multi-billion dollar financial initiative to aid Europe. The original plan, announced in 1947 by US Secretary of State George Marshall, and administered by Paul G. Hoffman, also offered aid to Eastern Europe, but this help was rejected by Stalin: a fact which makes the lingering shots of a devastated Polish city (presumably Warsaw) seem all the more pointed when contrasted with footage showing industry thriving in Germany, France and England.