The President Says Thank You, 1948: The Marshall Plan

Today’s post is written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

On June 5, 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall addressed the graduating class at Harvard University. In his speech, Marshall noted that World War II had caused “the dislocation of the entire fabric of European economy” with consequences for the U.S. economy, too. To stabilize the situation, he proposed a program of economic aid to European countries:

“It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos.”

This speech led to the establishment of the European Recovery Plan, also known as the Marshall Plan, and the establishment of a new agency, the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA), to administer it. While the Soviet Union and other East Bloc countries ultimately did not participate in the Marshall Plan, they were invited to do so.

The Marshall Plan complemented the Truman Doctrine. President Harry Truman announced that initiative in a highly ideological March 12, 1947, speech to a joint session of Congress in which he requested approval for aid to Greece and Turkey as part of a global fight against communism.

Scholars continue to debate the origins and objectives of the Marshall Plan, which was a major departure in U.S. foreign policy. Whatever they may be, taking a broad suggestion such as that made in the speech and bringing it to fruition was no simple matter. It fell to the Department of State to make the vision a reality. Development of the policy surrounding such a major new initiative in U.S. foreign policy, securing passage of the necessary legislation (The Economic Cooperation Act of 1948, 62 Stat. 138) in the face of significant opposition, and setting up a new government agency took a tremendous amount of concentrated work on the part of the Department. All of those things took place within the relatively short span of 11 months, and the new Economic Cooperation Administration went into operation in May 1948. Continue reading

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The CCC . . . in Color!

Today’s post is written by Cody White, Archivist at the National Archives at Denver.

In his first 100 days in office, President Franklin Roosevelt worked furiously to tamp down the widespread unemployment and economic unrest that gripped the United States back in 1932. Arguably the most famous legislation passed that spring was the Emergency Conservation Work (EWC) Act, creating the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that ultimately put over 2,000,000 men to work during its nine years of existence.

The CCC projects were accomplished through a host of existing federal agencies as well as state and local municipalities. Records regarding CCC work done through federal agencies can be found in National Archives holdings nationwide. At the National Archives at Denver this includes the series “Narrative Reports of Individual CCC Camps, 1936-1938, (NAID 292847)” which details the work done in Department of Grazing camps in the west.

Found in Record Group 49, Records of the Bureau of Land Management, these narrative reports were compiled per period, the six month span of time that CCC enrollments were broken into, and chronicle the work, as well as sometimes the educational and recreational activities, of the enrollees through both text and photographs. Typically these photographs are black and white, but in 1937 Camp DG-32, out of Dalton Wells, Utah, had Arrow Photo Service of Minneapolis, Minnesota hand color select photographs, giving their narrative reports a distinctive feature not seen in others.

WHERE THEY WORKED

Dalton Wells Camp DG-32 was located about 15 miles northwest of Moab, Utah, due west of Arches National Park today. During World War II, the shuttered camp was turned into the Moab Relocation Center, housing Japanese internees deemed “troublemakers” from other internment camps. Today the site, off U.S. Highway 191, is marked with a plaque and all that remains of the camp are two stone pylons that once held the entrance sign.

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View of Camp DG-32, with sheep grazing in foreground.

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“Cutting Capers on the Sands of North Africa”: A Soldier’s Art before, during, and after World War II

Today’s post was written by Jennifer Eltringham, a summer 2016 intern at the National Archives at Denver.

Albert Racine of the Blackfoot Tribe from Browning, Montana, enlisted in the U.S. Army in April of 1942, one day before his 35th birthday. When he left home to serve in World War II, however, he was not alone. He brought along a man with a mischievous grin, a large belly, and an even larger hat. Racine’s drawings of the Blackfeet figure Napi created a connection between Montana and troops overseas that resonated with the Blackfeet community in Browning and left an enduring mark. This juxtaposition between playfulness and seriousness would become characteristic of Racine’s legacy as an artist.

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Albert Racine in Uniform (NAID 37489831).

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Detour Ahead: The Paving of the White House Driveway

Today’s post is written by Cody White, Archivist at the National Archives in Denver.

The scourge of road trip vacations. The bane of work commutes. Chances are every person who drives has a recent complaint or two about road construction hindering their plans and it’s possible that 79 years ago President Franklin Roosevelt too had similar complaints when four months were spent paving the White House south driveway.

The National Park Service Denver Service Center is the main planning, design, and construction management office for the hundreds of National Park Service sites nationwide and the planning and project files from the office can be found in the National Archives at Denver’s Record Group 79, Records of the National Park Service holdings. It is here where one finds the report for the south White House grounds paving project as the White House and surrounding area are within the National Park Service’s purview as the President’s Park.

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Map showing project location.

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James Longstreet: After the Civil War

Today’s post is written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

After the Civil War, former Confederates moved forward with their lives. They returned to their homes, many in tatters, their plantations and farms, now without slaves, and their businesses, now in ruins. Over the following decades, many ended up working for the government of the country from which they had attempted to break. Among them was former Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet.

Born in South Carolina, although largely raised in Georgia, and an 1842 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Longstreet fought in the War with Mexico and against Indians on the frontier. He resigned from the Army in June 1861, and joined the Confederacy. He led troops in critical battles in the eastern theater – First Manassas, the Peninsula Campaign, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. In October 1862, having led a wing of the Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee, he was made a Lieutenant General to lead the First Corps of that army. Detached with part of his corps to go west, he helped secure the September 1863 Confederate victory at Chickamauga Creek in Georgia. He then led an unsuccessful effort to capture Knoxville, Tennessee. He and his troops returned to Virginia for the spring 1864 campaign. He was seriously wounded by his own men during the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864. Out of action for several months, he returned to duty in October to take part in the defense of Richmond and Petersburg. He was with the Army of Northern Virginia at the time of the surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. Continue reading

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“In the Interest of the Efficiency of the Foreign Service”: Changes in U.S. Diplomatic Representation Abroad After the Election of 1944

Today’s post is written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

An earlier post discussed President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s decision to request the formal resignation of all chiefs of U.S. diplomatic missions overseas (ambassadors and ministers), both career and non-career, after the election of 1940 and what led to that action. A similar directive went out after the election of 1944.

On November 10, three days after the election, Under Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, referring to the 1940 telegram, asked President Roosevelt if he wanted to follow the same practice. FDR “said he thought it would be wise.” As a result, the Department of State sent the following telegram:[1]

121-411-1944-1

121.4 [11-1944.1] Circular to All Chiefs of Mission, Nov. 14, 1944

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Window into the Soviet Union, 1951/Introduction to CREST

Today’s post is written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

Recently, I located the following 1951 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report analyzing Soviet nylon stockings:

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Technical Examination of Soviet Nylon Stocking, June 29, 1951, p.1.

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Technical Examination of Soviet Nylon Stocking, June 29, 1951, p.2.

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Arnold Palmer: Record-setting Round-the-world Flyer

Today’s post is written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

Noted golfing great Arnold Palmer died recently.  His obituaries noted his golfing prowess and his success as a businessman, both in enterprises relating to golf and otherwise.

Palmer also held a world record for an around-the-world flight in a business jet.  The flight took place in May 1976.  The idea was born at an annual meeting of the Aviation/Space Writers Association and was partly in celebration of the U.S. bicentennial.  The Gates Learjet Corporation supported the idea and provided an airplane (a Learjet 36).  Palmer, along with Learjet Pilots James Bir and Lewis Purkey, took off from Denver, CO on May 17, 1976 and flew east, returning to Denver on May 19.  Their elapsed time – 2 days, 9 hours, 25 minutes, and 42 seconds – set a new record. Continue reading

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Oliver Pollock – Supporter of the Revolution, Creator of ‘$’

Today’s post was written by Jackie Kilby, Archives Technician at the National Archives at College Park, MD.

Oliver Pollock is a name not widely known in American History.  He was an Irish immigrant who settled in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and later found work as a successful merchant and trader in Philadelphia.  After the end of the French and Indian War, he moved to New Orleans in 1768 during the transition from French to Spanish rule, and married into a prominent Irish family.

The city of New Orleans soon found itself in danger of famine, as the population swelled with Spanish troops and the food reserves were quickly depleted.  Pollock was able to use his connections to Philadelphia to provide food shipments at the city’s most dire hour.  In response, the Governor of New Orleans, Don O’Reilly, gave Pollock free trading rights within the Louisiana Territory.  Continue reading

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“In the Interest of the Efficiency of the Foreign Service”: Changes in US Diplomatic Representation Abroad after the Election of 1940

Today’s post was written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

In an unusual move, given that the incumbent President remained in office, after winning the election of 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt requested the formal resignation of all chiefs of U.S. diplomatic missions overseas (ambassadors and ministers), both career and non-career.  Continue reading

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