In 1947, two years after the end of World War II, the European economy was in severe trouble. “We are threatened with total economic and financial catastrophe,” said then French Economy Minister Andre Philip in April that year.
There were many problems but the biggest was Germany. Two years after the Nazis had been defeated, Germany’s recovery had in many ways already been remarkable but economically it remained a basket case and Europe realized it needed its engine back. In part, the Marshall Plan’s purpose was to restore the German economy to the heart of Europe.
By the start of the 1950s, the European economy was in miracle territory but Germany’s miracle burned brightest. The next two decades were among the most prosperous in history.
Here in 2020, the European economy also finds itself at a pivotal and potentially perilous historical moment. The pandemic is ongoing and the economic recovery