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All Our Colours to the Mast, poster by Dirksen Reyn, ca. 1947

Marshall Plan administrators aggressively promoted the benefits of European participation in the program. This poster won first prize in a Marshall Plan poster contest. The design, with its single ship flying the flags of Europe, highlighted the importance of intra-European cooperation. The Marshall Plan laid the foundation for both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the later integration of Europe.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

All Our Colours to the Mast

Providing Aid to Europe

After World War II, Congress approved foreign aid for war-torn nations and grappled with the Soviet Union’s aggressive efforts to impose communism on sovereign nations. As the United States faced a new “Cold War” with the Soviets, Congress approved $400 million of military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey in 1947. Less than a year later, Congress authorized legislation to provide $13 billion of aid to Western European nations, known as the Marshall Plan.

The bill constitutes the foundation of a long delayed and desperately needed foreign policy, for the guidance of our nation in discharging the inescapable responsibilities as world leader in behalf of universal, personal, and national freedom, security, and peace.

Representative Charles A. Eaton of New Jersey, Speech to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Economic Cooperation Act (Marshall Plan), March 23, 1948