Contemporary history has been the focus of teaching and research at St. Antony's College in the University of Oxford since it was founded by the generosity of Monsieur Antonin Besse in 1950; the commitment to area studies was the objective of a second endowment by the Ford Foundation in 1966. The College's five Centres--Far Eastern, Latin American, Middle Eastern, Russian and East European and West European--combine for teaching and research recent history and contemporary social science for the study of key regions of the world.
The research for this History was begun under the Wardenship of Sir William Deakin but was undertaken in the main under that of Professor Raymond Carr. Successive bursars and administrative staff were responsible for the disbursement and accountancy inevitable in collective research. In addition to such services--and it was a condition of all but one of the grants received that no funds be expended on overheads--the College contribution notably involved offices, equipment and library servicing. The support of the Directors of the Russian and East European Centre, Mr. H. Willetts and subsequently Dr. H. Shukman, and the Librarians of that Centre, Mrs. Valerie Jensen and subsequently Mrs. Lidia Hobbs, is particularly acknowledged. The project was throughout directed by Mr. Michael Kaser, Professorial Fellow of the College, to whom the grants were made.
Of the four funding bodies, the Social Science Research Council supported the project both by the largest sum and over the longest period: it provided one during 1970-73 which covered the history from 1919 to 1949, another during 1974-76 for the institutional study of 1950-75, and a smaller, earlier grant ( 1968-70) for the preliminary investigation of the econometric analysis of performance under central planning which was later to be funded by the Ford Foundation. The International Institute for Education made a parallel grant in 1968-70, for work which was published in M. C. Kaser and J. Zielinski, Planning in East Europe: Industrial Management by the State ( Bodley Head, London, 1970). Chapter 1 of that book sketched some of the relationships between prewar étatisme and postwar planning which are discussed in this History in the "Introduction" and chapter 9 of Volume I; the remaining chapters were devoted to the mechanisms analysed in Volume III.
The Ford Foundation provided funds in 1977-78 for the research on economic performance underlying Volumes IV and V; the present project was among the seventeen institutions chosen (from the 274 which applied) in the Foundation's international competition on research aimed____________________