The rebuilding of Europe after World War II was the focus of the Marshall plan, signed into law by U.S. President Truman in 1948. Here is a timeline detailing postwar efforts in 1947 and 1948.
World War II Timeline: June 1947-June 1948
June 14, 1947: The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum opens its first permanent exhibition on the seventh anniversary of the arrival of the Nazi camp's first prisoners.
July 1947: In an article printed in the journal Foreign Affairs, senior U.S. State Department official George Kennan (under the alias "X") expresses his theory about containing Soviet Union expansion. This policy of containment will become the basis of the Truman Administration's foreign policy.
July 18, 1947: In an effort to stem the tide of Jewish nationalism in Britain's Palestinian mandate, the British navy sends the ship President Warfield and its 4,500 Jewish refugee passengers back to Germany.
November 29, 1947: UN Resolution 181, the partition plan for Palestine, is approved by the General Assembly. The Arab states thereupon invade the new Jewish state.
April 3, 1948: The Marshall Plan, which ultimately will provide more than $13 billion (U.S.) for the reconstruction of war-torn Europe, is signed into law by President Truman.
May 14, 1948: Britain's mandate to govern Palestine expires. Palestine is divided into the State of Israel and an Arab state. The Jewish National Council proclaims the independent State of Israel.
May 15, 1948: Egyptian, Syrian, and Jordanian forces invade the one-day-old State of Israel. Israel resists, and will soon go on the offensive.
June 25, 1948: President Truman signs the Displaced Persons Act, which will allow more than 200,000 European refugees to settle in the United States.
World War II Headlines
The following headlines summarize additional major events in World War II's aftermath.
British issue White Paper in response to Palestine uprising: Jewish relations with Britain remained strong prior to the start of World War II, when the Jewish population in Palestine approached 400,000. The Arabs resented this immigration, and an uprising broke out throughout Palestine. To ensure that the Arabs did not side with the Axis nations, the British issued the White Paper of 1939, which limited the number of Jews who could immigrate to Palestine to 15,000 per year. This marked a death sentence for many European Jews attempting to escape the Holocaust. The White Paper was rescinded when the State of Israel was established in May 1948.
Jewish nationalist group bombs King David Hotel in Jerusalem: Driven to desperation by British stonewalling on the issue of a Jewish state, Jewish nationalist groups in Palestine campaigned to evict the British and establish the nation of Israel. On July 22, 1946, the Irgun Tseva'i Le'ummi (National Military Organization), founded by dissident Hagana members, blew up Jerusalem's King David Hotel, the headquarters of the British government and military in Palestine. Seventy-six Jews, Arabs, and British were killed, and dozens of people were injured. The Irgun subsequently claimed that sufficient warning to evacuate had been given; the British denied this. Regardless, the bombing hardened British resolve to block a Jewish state.
Life returns in Hiroshima after the atomic bomb: In 1946, Hiroshima takes the first struggling steps toward rebirth. Bomb survivors first built huts from scavenged materials. Three months later, with aid from the occupation government, construction began on wooden barracks to house the thousands of people returning to the city. Electricity, transportation, and other functions were gradually restored. Despite rumors that nothing would grow in Hiroshima for 75 years, gardens provided food with no immediate ill effects. Moreover, the health impact of lingering radiation proved less severe than many had feared.
A timeline of post-World War II events for 1948-1950 includes the establishment of NATO and the end of the Nuremberg trials. See the next section for details on these and other events.