Study Guide

Charles E. Bohlen in The Marshall Plan

By George C. Marshall

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Charles E. Bohlen

Did you think Marshall touched pen to paper and wrote the Marshall Plan speech? Sorry to burst that bubble: the man who wrote it was actually lifelong diplomat Charles E. Bohlen.

Bohlen was descended from American aristocracy, and was a relative of Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, of the primary arms maker for Germany in World War II. Small world, right? Bohlen's family relations don't really factor into this story, but they're kind of weird.

Bohlen worked his way up through the State Department, and due to his focus on the Soviet Union, served as FDR's interpreter at both the Tehran and Yalta Conferences. Those were pretty big. Bohlen believed that dealing with the Soviet Union required some sort of accommodation, basically ceding Eastern Europe to them. While this didn't make him popular with red-baiters like Joe McCarthy, it did prove at least temporarily effective.

Bohlen was tapped to write the speech because he was one of the architects behind U.S. foreign policy after the war. No word as to whether or not he resented it not being the "Bohlen Plan." We think he was probably cool with it.

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