Bread and the Ballot: The United States and India's Economic Development, 1947-1963

By Dennis Merrill | Go to book overview

One
Introduction: American Developmentalism and India

The crumbling of the European colonial system in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa posed one of the most significant challenges faced by United States foreign policymakers in the post-World War II era. Between 1946 and 1960 thirty-seven new nations emerged into what is known today as the Third World. These countries varied widely in culture, ethnic composition, geography, colonial experience, and political orientation. But they shared a common characteristic: all were deeply impoverished. Equally important, the leaders of these new nations shared the belief that national independence would open the door to economic advancement. Lacking the capital and technical expertise to spur rapid economic development, most of these countries looked to the United States to help them fulfill their aspirations.

During the early postwar years, American policymakers formulated an economic aid policy that ultimately encompassed most of the emerging areas. Indeed, at the outset of the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy confidently declared the launching of the "development decade," and scores of diplomats and social scientists predicted the rapid modernization of much of the Third World. Of all the recently decolonized countries that received American assistance during this period, India emerged as America's economic aid priority. Although the level of assistance grew slowly, United States annual grant and loan commitments to India reached over $400 million by 1963, supplemented by nearly an equal dollar value in foodgrain assistance. By the early 1960s, when aid to India reached its peak level, that nation ranked as the world's leading recipient of American economic aid. 1

India became a major beneficiary of United States aid for a variety of reasons. With a population of 350 million at independence, India stood as the largest and most populous of the recently decolonized nations. Fully one-quarter to one-third of the world's poor resided there. Thus, India's struggle against poverty won a great deal of sympathy from Americans. An

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Bread and the Ballot: The United States and India's Economic Development, 1947-1963
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • One - Introduction: American Developmentalism And India 1
  • Two - A Missed Opportunity, 1947-1950 19
  • Three - War and Aid, 1950-1951 47
  • Four - A Matter of Priorities, 1951-1953 75
  • Five - A Changing Cold War, 1953-1956 102
  • Six - Take-Off, 1957-1961 137
  • Seven - Jfk and India's Development Decade, 1961-1963 169
  • Eight - Conclusion 204
  • Notes 213
  • Selected Bibliography 257
  • Index 271
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