Cold War economics: The use of Marshall Plan Counterpart funds in Germany, 1948-1960

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Abstract

The originally propagated view that the Marshall Plan was an altruistic endeavor through which the U.S. saved Europe from collapse and starvation has long been dismissed and replaced with a more realistic approach to international affairs. Whereas Realpolitik and the perception of the evermore menacing Cold War made it inevitable that Marshall Plan aid and its counterpart funds would become a weapon in the ideological conflict of the two political ideologies, the overwhelming body of literature looks at the Marshall Plan either from a political and diplomatic or from an economic viewpoint. Beyond general statements that the Marshall Plan was used as a weapon in the Cold War, relatively little research has been carried out into how this weapon was wielded. This is even truer for the counterpart funds, which are usually only mentioned in passing in the literature, if at all. This is despite the fact that Marshall Aid in general and the counterpart funds in particular had actually quite a significant impact in Cold-War propaganda and economic matters in Western Europe, which most likely contributed to the declining appeal of communism. This article will look at the specific action of American and, after September 1949, German authorities in the use of counterpart funds to demonstrate their significance.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-716
JournalCentral European History
Volume45
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012