"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. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist."
Marshall's address at Harvard was pretty dry stuff, but give the guy a break. Instead of following the conventional blueprint for a commencement speech — a poignant metaphor here, some poetic turns of phrase there, wrapped up in a neat life lesson — Marshall did nothing less than outline the plan to rebuild postwar Europe and curb the spread of communism that would eventually bear his name. Since this speech was step one toward saving a continent, Marshall gets a pass for failing to meet today's quota for snappy one-liners.