On the 3rd of April 1948, President Truman signed the Economic Cooperation Act into law, which launched the Marshall Plan for Europe. The whole Eastern block, including Hungary, refused participation under orders from Stalin. A report by the Communist Party claimed "the bosses of Wall Street" were taking over the role of Nazi Germany and spoke of "the American plan for the enslavement of Europe". (A paler shade of hyperbole was on display by trade unions last week during the European Council as we blogged about it here. Although this time staying out may not have so grave consequences, especially if you do it for different reasons.)
Non-Communist Europe welcomed the aid and the 12.5 billion US dollars kick-started the European economy and helped European integration.
The thoughts of Kovács and Kováts go to the US today and we picked the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” to pay tribute to the contribution of the USA to European integration. And we picked a rather rare version of the song, performed as a twist of fate by the Russian Red Army choir and the Leningrad Cowboys in 1993.