The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) strengthens transatlantic cooperation on regional, national, and global challenges and opportunities in the spirit of the Marshall Plan.
GMF does this by supporting individuals and institutions working in the transatlantic sphere, by convening leaders and members of the policy and business communities, by contributing research and analysis on transatlantic topics, and by providing exchange opportunities to foster renewed commitment to the transatlantic relationship.
In addition, GMF supports a number of initiatives to strengthen democracies. Founded in 1972 as a non-partisan, non-profit organization through a gift from Germany as a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance, GMF maintains a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to its headquarters in Washington, DC, GMF has offices in Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Belgrade, Ankara, Bucharest, Warsaw, and Tunis. GMF also has smaller representations in Bratislava, Turin, and Stockholm.
The German Marshall Fund of the United States: A Brief History, researched and authored by Nicholas Siegel offers a look back at GMF’s origins and details our rich history of work promoting closer transatlantic ties.
In 1947, at a Harvard University commencement ceremony, U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall first announced plans to rebuild war-torn Europe. That speech (full text) led to the creation of the Marshall Plan, credited with putting Europe back on track to democracy and prosperity following the devastation caused by World War II. Twenty-five years later, German Chancellor Willy Brandt went to Harvard to announce (full speech) plans to create a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance, through a gift of DM 150 million on behalf of the German people. “The memory of the past has become the mission of the future,” he said.
The German Marshall Fund of the United States is the result of Germany’s generous gift. Consistent with Brandt’s vision, GMF is dedicated to the promotion of greater understanding and common action between Europe and the United States. The German government renewed its commitment to GMF with subsequent rounds of funding in 1986 and 2001 that resulted in a substantial endowment, ensuring GMF’s work would continue well into the future.
From the very beginning, GMF was envisioned as an institution that would work with all of Europe. After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, GMF rapidly expanded its work in Central and Eastern Europe and played an instrumental role during the 1990s in assisting with the transitions to democracy in this region.
Today, as an independent American public policy and grantmaking institution, GMF continues to foster cooperation between the United States and Europe on the most pressing transatlantic issues, both inside and outside Europe’s changing borders. GMF also continues strengthen democratic institutions in the spirit of the Marshall Plan.
GMF History Audio: The Origins
Dr. Guido Goldman, currently co-chairman of GMF’s Board of Trustees, was an integral part of the organization’s beginnings in 1972. Involved in virtually all aspects of the inception, he offered his insights in an audio interview on GMF’s founding.