America's Feeble Weapon

Overview

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 realist nor revisionist stance, the author argues that massive American aid to Western Europe was a perceived political necessity—that American, French, and Italian ...

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Overview

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 realist nor revisionist stance, the author argues that massive American aid to Western Europe was a perceived political necessity—that American, French, and Italian governments shared with Truman the strategic-ideological goal of Communist containment. Yet, not all of the philosophy embedded in the Plan could be implemented, and American ideology did not, therefore, have a decisive influence in reshaping postwar French or Italian economic policies.

The book's introduction discusses the goals of the Marshall Plan and how postwar political circumstances led France and Italy to dissimilar economic recovery paths that would often clash with American goals. The following seven chapters analyze how American officials sought to influence French and Italian economic policies. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 cover the French case; chapters 5, 6, and 7, the Italian. The concluding chapter provides a direct comparison of the French and Italian experiences and suggests implications for current historiographical debates.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

CHIARELLA ESPOSITO is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Mississippi and the author of several papers and articles.

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Table of Contents

Tables
Abbreviations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 Before the Marshall Plan 1
Drawing Up the Marshall Plan 1
France and Italy: The Demise of Tripartitism 9
Centrist Consolidation in France: The Third Force Takes Over 14
The Christian Democrats Secure Power in Italy 18
France and Italy Choose Different Economic Paths 19
2 France, 1948: Supporting the Third Force 29
Third Force Political Fragmentation 30
The American Position and Counterpart Funds 33
Henri Queuille Moves toward Political and Financial Stability 36
A Financial Emergency and First Counterpart Fund Release 42
Strikes, More Inflation, and Queuille's Victory 47
The ECA's Ineffective Threats 54
3 France, 1949: Investments at All Costs 61
French Optimism: Continuing with High Investment 61
American Pessimism 66
The Perilous Summer of the French Treasury 69
Henri Queuille Resigns; the ECA Blocks Counterpart Funds 74
More Ineffective Threats 82
4 France, 1950: The "Bronze Plaque" Approach 91
Financial Stability and the ECA's New Approach 91
Wooing French Labor 94
America's Tangible Gift to French Workers 101
The French Government Disagrees 104
War in Korea 110
Still No French Acquiescence 115
5 Italy, 1948-1949: A Muddled Beginning 121
The Fifth De Gasperi Government and Economic Policy 122
The Rome Mission at Odds with Its Superiors 128
Changing American Assessments 136
6 Italy, 1949: Bureaucratic Nightmare 149
Organizing Marshall Plan Implementation 149
Demands for Change 155
Efforts to Expedite the Counterpart Fund Program 164
7 Italy, 1950: Hope and Relapse 175
Cabinet Crisis: Dossetti Accepts a Compromise 175
An Investment Drive at Last, but Unplanned 178
Italian Economic Policy after the Outbreak of War 187
The American Position after Korea 189
Conclusion 199
Bibliography 209
Index 221
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