Press Release from 2017-06-21 / Group, Sustainability

70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan – Start-up capital for KfW

  • 1947: US Secretary of State George C. Marshall launches the “European Recovery Program” (ERP)
  • 1948: KfW is founded to channel the ERP funds
  • Promotional business volume of KfW since its foundation totals over EUR 1.5 trillion

2017 marks the seventieth anniversary of the announcement of the Marshall Plan, one of KfW's most significant historical foundations. On behalf of the German Federal Government, KfW today manages the ERP Special Fund, which originates from the funds generated through the Marshall Plan. It uses the funds to finance, for example, promotional programmes for start-ups and mid-sized companies.

"The history of KfW is closely linked to the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan represents a guiding theme that KfW still adheres to today and on which it bases its actions. Using the funds from the Marshall Plan, KfW supports Germany in its structural economic changes and triggers trend-setting developments in industry and society," explains Dr Günther Bräunig, Member of the KfW Group Executive Board. Since it was founded, KfW has to date distributed a total promotional business volume in excess of EUR 1.5 trillion for this purpose.

During a speech on 5 June 1947, the US Secretary of State George C. Marshall announced the launch of the European Recovery Program (ERP) – better known as the Marshall Plan. As the largest civil recovery programme in history, it has provided the means for the economic recovery of the countries in Western Europe. In 1948, US Congress made a promotional volume of USD 12 billion available for this purpose. Germany received an initial amount of EUR 1.89 billion (DM 3.7 billion) to be passed on as loans to the German economy. As part of the programme, the USA provided the participating countries with a variety of goods, such as raw materials, food and material wares. The recipient countries then had to pay the value of these imports into counterpart funds. However, these repayments did not go back to the USA; in Germany, they were made available as revolving credit to promote the economy and formed the basis of the ERP Special Fund. KfW was established in 1948 to manage this task.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan, the German Marshall Fund of the United States trust today is holding a celebration at the German Historical Museum in Berlin. KfW has provided the event with exhibition pieces from its historical archive.

Further information on the Marshall Plan and the ERP is available on our digital storytelling platform “KfW Stories” at


Portrait von Sybille Bauerfeind

A boost from the USA

On 5 June 1947, US Secretary of State George C. Marshall announced a financial aid programme for Europe at Harvard. The German Marshall Fund (GMF) and KfW are jointly celebrating 75 years of the historic legacy and future mission of the Marshall Plan.