The Marshall Plan or the European Recovery Program (ERP) was the large-scale American program to aid Europe in which the United States (US) gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of WWII in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism.
The monies involved were $13 million in US aid (5% of US GDP, a drop in the bucket!) on top of $12 billion in American aid already spent in Europe up to that time.. The monies provided were eventually returned to the United States. In addition, Germany also repaid 16 billion marks of debts from the 1920s which had defaulted in the 1930s, but which Germany decided to repay to restore its reputation.
Former enemies as well as allies were recipients of this aid.
At that time, the US economy was, by far, the most powerful in the world.
During the Eisenhower(R?) administration the Interstate Highway System began as a military asset, but made it was available to every American.
This describes post-war America through the 1950s.
The United States put men on the moon in July 1969. The rescue of the crew in the Apollo 13 mission riveted the world in 1971. The rapid response to a potentially fatal outcome was diverted by United States’ can-do attitude and technological prowess.
The Space Shuttle was first launched in 1981, a heavy lift vehicle that has never been matched. It served for 30 years. It was used to assemble the International Space Station as well as deploy and repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
The collapse of the USSR between January 19, 1990 and December 31, 1991 left the United States as the sole major power on earth.
From then on, the United States has rested on its laurels. Tax revenues from corporations and the rich have been pared to the bone. The Iraqi invasion and occupation has depleted the national treasury simply because there were no “matching funds”. The nation was trying to drive a Lamborghini on a burger flipper’s salary. The solution was to slash entitlement and infrastructure programs which had served the nation very well since the mid 1930s.
Now China has been asked for assistance by European for assistance in support of the economic collapse resulting from weak economies in Greece, Italy and Spain. The US is in a position where it cannot help – the dollar is weak and US manufacturing is struggling at best! And China rebuffed the request until Europe gets its house in order.
Just this week, mainland China demonstrated a first step towards development of its own space station which when completed be truly international – available to all nations (There are nations denied access to the “International” Space Station.).
China is starting the development of naval airpower and stealth aircraft.
This is our Open Thread. Now how did we get into this fine kettle of fish?