1st Edition

The Reconstruction of Western Europe 1945-1951

By Alan S. Milward Copyright 2005
    560 Pages
    by Routledge

    560 Pages
    by Routledge

    First Published in 2005. The remarkable success and duration of the economic and political reconstruction of Western Europe after the Second World War have exercised a generation of historians. Few could have predicted, in 1945, that the shattered nations of Western Europe were on the brink of one of the most prosperous and creditable periods of their history; but the explanations given for the significance of individual nation-states’ success have been contradictory. In this comprehensive survey Professor Milward has drawn on newly-released archival sources from six countries, and material from eleven more, to provide an analysis of the European reconstruction and the origins of the Great Boom. He argues that success came about partly because Western Europe created its own pattern of institutionalized, economic interdependence which allowed the separate domestic plans of individual countries to flourish; and he is also able to analyse the relationship of the greater and lesser states in this new pattern. The new archival evidence provided in the book overturns widely-held views about the nature and effects of individual aspects of the settlements, such as Marshall Aid, the OEEC, the European Payments Union, the SchuMan Plan and Bretton Woods. The role of the Marshall Plan, for example, is challenged in a sustained comparison between the professed objectives of policy and the underlying realities of both policy and economic results, which has fundamental implications for our diplomatic, economic and political understanding of the period. Professor Milward’s text is refreshingly clear and fully documented with tables, annotated footnotes and bibliography. It is the first comprehensive study of a subject which is the focus of much academic research, and a major work of scholarship which sets new standards for the interpretation of the immediate post-war years.


    List of figures{emsp}viii

    List of tables{emsp}ix


    List of abbreviations and conventions{emsp}xx

    I the crisis of 1947 1

    The nature of the economic crisis{emsp}5

    Domestic economic crises{emsp}7

    The international economic crisis{emsp}19

    The collapse of Bretton Woods{emsp}43

    II the committee of european economic co-operation 56

    The intentions of the Marshall Plan{emsp}56

    Creating the European organization{emsp}61

    The Committee of European Economic Co-operation{emsp}69


    The economic effects of Marshall Aid{emsp}92

    Marshall Aid as political leverage{emsp}113


    The Monnet Plan and French and German reconstruction{emsp}126

    The French and German economies in the London conference{emsp}141

    V the depoliticization of the oeec 168

    The constitution of the OEEC{emsp}172

    The intolerable burden{emsp}180

    The collapse of the OEEC{emsp}195

    VI foreign trade and payments and european reconstruction 212

    Multilateral and bilateral trade in Western Europe{emsp}217

    The post -war pattern of Western Europe’s trade{emsp}223

    VII the advent of the customs union 232

    Britain and the customs union{emsp}235

    France and the customs union{emsp}250

    VIII payments agreements and policies in western europe, 1946–9 256

    Trade and payments agreements in western Europe, 1946–9{emsp}258

    One western world, or two?{emsp}278

    IX devaluation and the search for a new american policy 282

    X the european payments union 299

    The trade liberalization programme and the American payments proposals{emsp}299



    The European Payments Union{emsp}320

    XI the 1949 recession and the divergence of britain and little europe 335

    The American recession and the British and Western European economies{emsp}339

    The economic foundations of Little Europe{emsp}351

    XII the schuman plan 362

    Plans and realities in Western Europe’s steel industry{emsp}362

    Comparative prospects of the French and German steel industries{emsp}371

    The political origins of the Schuman Plan{emsp}380

    The Schuman Plan and its reception{emsp}397

    The European Coal and Steel Community{emsp}407

    XIII towards the common market 421

    The impact of trade liberalization{emsp}421

    Post-war agriculture in Western Europe{emsp}435

    The origins of the Common Agricultural Policy{emsp}443

    XIV conclusions 462

    The argument of the book{emsp}462

    Reconstruction and the great boom{emsp}477

    Reconstruction and integration{emsp}491





    Alan S. Milward