On a spring morning in 1948, the U.S. freighter John H. Quick eased into the harbor of Bordeaux, her holds heavy with 9,000 tons of wheat. The scars of war still showed in the prostrate Europe that lay beyond the Quick's bows.
As the vessel's golden cargo hit the dock, an act of giving and building unparalleled in history got underway. The Marshall Plan had become a reality.
Last week, in ceremonies from Brussels to Bonn, the U.S. and its onetime beneficiaries quietly marked the 20th anniversary of the plan's conception.
Burden of Reconstruction. It was in the course of a Harvard...