Concentrating on events in France and Italy, rather than on those in Washington, this volume provides new insights into the effectiveness of the Marshall Plan's operations.
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.