America's Feeble Weapon: Funding the Marshall Plan in France and Italy, 1948-1950

America's Feeble Weapon: Funding the Marshall Plan in France and Italy, 1948-1950

America's Feeble Weapon: Funding the Marshall Plan in France and Italy, 1948-1950

America's Feeble Weapon: Funding the Marshall Plan in France and Italy, 1948-1950

Synopsis

Unlike earlier studies of the Marshall Plan, this volume concentrates not on events in Washington, but on those in France and Italy--the second and third largest beneficiaries of the Plan. Using U.S., French, and Italian sources, the author analyzes the impact of the Plan on French and Italian economic policy between 1948 and 1950. Taking neither a "revisionist" nor "realist" stance, the author argues that massive American aid to Western Europe was a perceived political necessity--that French and Italian governments shared with Truman the strategic-ideological goal of Communist containment. Yet, not all of the goals embedded in the Plan could be implemented, and America did not, therefore, have a decisive influence in reshaping postwar French or Italian economic policies.

Excerpt

Forty-six years ago, speaking to the Harvard graduating class, Secretary of State George C. Marshall announced what was to become the Marshall Plan, a program of massive aid to war-ravaged Europe. The plan is often remembered as one of the major successes of American post-World War II foreign policy, indeed as the very foundation of Western Europe's postwar prosperity. Today the plan has gained renewed attention as rich nations study programs for the capitalist development of former Communist economies in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and, most recently, of Palestine.

Historians, however, by no means agree in attributing Western Europe's spectacular economic booms of the 1950s to the Marshall Plan. Their disagreements gain force from the fact that while a number of studies have appeared on the Marshall Plan, little is yet in print that analyzes in depth the implementation of the plan in each participating country. This book attempts to begin to correct this problem. It adopts a novel multiarchival and comparative approach, concentrating not on events in Washington, but on those in France and Italy—the second and third largest beneficiaries of the Marshall Plan. Its central question concerns the effectiveness of the United States—the donor of substantial, albeit conditional aid—in achieving shifts in French and Italian economic policy between 1948 and 1950. Hopefully, the book provides new insights into the lessons we may draw from actual Marshall Plan operations, which may in turn influence the historiographical debate.

Generally historians have examined the Marshall Plan in the larger context of early Cold War history. As a consequence, the same interpretive frameworks that shaped historians' debates on Cold War . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.