1. Home
  2. Educational Resources
  3. Teacher Lesson Plans
  4. Marshall Plan Promotions

Marshall Plan Promotions

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
Approximately 2 weeks, parts of some classes
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Students will be placed in the role to produce support for the Marshall Plan from both the American public and Congress.

Students will design a campaign to promote the Marshall Plan.  This ad campaign can be done in the form of posters, speeches, websites, or other multi-media outlets.

Rationale (why are you doing this?)
  • Students will evaluate primary source documents and media.

  • Students will write and defend a thesis.

  • Students will practice public speaking skills.

Lesson Objectives - the student will
  • Examine and evaluate primary sources of the early Cold War.

  • Develop public speaking skills.

  • Write and defend a thesis.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met
  • 3aW:  Describe and evaluate the evolution of United States domestic and foreign policies including the Cold War.

  • 3aY:  Describe the changing character of American society and culture.

  • 6N:  Predict the consequences that can occur when institutions fail to meet the needs of individuals and groups.

  • 7A:  Distinguish between and analyze primary and secondary sources.

  • 7B:  Create maps, charts, diagrams, graphs, timelines and political cartoons to assist in analyzing and visualizing concepts in social studies

  • 7C:  Distinguish between fact and opinion and analyze sources to recognize bias and points of view.

Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed
Technology Required


Fully describe the activity or assignment in detail. What will both the teacher and the students do?
  • Students will be placed in the role to produce support for the Marshall Plan from both the American public and Congress.  Students will prepare a variety of propaganda outlets (student choice with teacher approval) to discuss the positive aspects of the Marshall Plan.  These will be presented in class and evaluated for a grade.  The activity will be presented to the students in the form of the attached memorandum.

Assessment: fully explain the assessment method in detail or create and attach a scoring guide
  • Students will be assessed on their ability to defend their thesis supporting the Marshall Plan and ability to relate their message in a public speaking forum.  See attached scoring guide.


Memorandum:  ERP (Marshall Plan) Promotions

Classification:  Top Secret

To:  Press Relations Of the President Against Governments Against the National Defense of America (PROPAGANDA)

From:  The Office of the President (The TOP)


Summer 1947.  The world is only 2 years removed from World War II.  Communist aggression appears to be in full force.  Former Prime Minister Winston Churchill has announced an “iron curtain” has descended across Europe.  The civil war in China does not seem to be going well for the American supported Nationalist forces.  The Soviet Union has already come to dominate most of eastern Europe, their sector in Germany, and is threatening elsewhere.  Furthermore, the people of western Europe are living in destitute poverty, failing to make any significant recovery from the war.  These nations that had been American allies in World War I as well as World War II have begun to listen to communist promises of guarantees of food and housing for all.  Communist parties have sprung up in Europe and look to win elections, especially in Italy and France.


President Truman has already issued his Doctrine to thwart the spread of communism and authorized Secretary of State General George Marshall to announce the European Recovery Program (intended to be dubbed “The Marshall Plan”).  The purpose of this program is to provide Europeans with financial aid and foodstuffs to combat the depression and starvation that exists there.  Furthermore, this program has the ultimate goal to preserve democracy in western Europe by financing an economic war on communism.  If the citizenry are financially stable, surely they will not succumb to the simplistic promises of bread from the communists.




As a member of PROPAGANDA, your task is to promote the “Marshall Plan” to Congress and the American public.  This task will not be easy as the Great Depression is still in recent memory.  Many in the public will be concerned about their own family’s economic condition rather than our friends across the Atlantic Ocean.  In addition, you will need to calm fears of a possible postwar recession as many of our veterans are searching for employment as they have come home from their service overseas.  Although it will be difficult for Americans to afford an increase in taxes as many are searching for jobs, you must convince the public the “Marshall Plan” is a worthy cause.




A variety of sources have been provided for your discretion to assist in promoting the positive response to the “Marshall Plan.”  See the sources available from the list of so called “links” from the futuristic “inter web.”  Use these sources as necessary:

Library of Congress

Documents and photographs available on the Truman Library’s Truman & the Marshall Plan

Truman’s address which became known as the Truman Doctrine

Marshall’s speech at Harvard University

Images of the situation in Europe:

Marshall Plan Propaganda Scoring Guide









Historical Accuracy:

Clearly demonstrates comprehension of information and use of primary sources

Somewhat demonstrates comprehension of information and use of primary sources

In part demonstrates comprehension of information and use of primary sources

Little demonstration of knowledge of information or use of primary sources

Does not demonstrate knowledge of information and use of primary sources

Effectiveness of Message:

Clear message, exceptionally interesting, no grammatical errors, very creative and attractive

Somewhat clear message, interesting, few grammatical errors, somewhat creative and attractive

Not real clear message, somewhat interesting, some grammatical errors, not very creative and attractive

Distracting message, not interesting, several grammatical errors, not creative and attractive

Message not received, boring, several grammatical errors


Points Possible:  50


Points Received:_____