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Patrick Yeung (Anaheim, California)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
the importance of securing one's own base of support
, February 26, 2011
I. The War for the American Mind
In convincing his progressive base to enter WWI, Wilson promised `a war for democracy, a war to end war, a war to protect liberalism, a war against militarism, a war to redeem barbarous Europe, a crusade.' In turn, the `progressives had rallied to Wilson on the promise that he would make the center hold, that his mobilization policies would preserve reform gains at home and that his diplomacy would introduce liberal American moderation into the settlement of the conflict in Europe.' Yet, `Wilson's determination to extinguish dissent' splintered and disillusioned his progressive base from the enactment of the Sedition Act, the `landmark of repression in American history,' to the empowerment of Post-master General Albert Sidney Burleson, who prosecuted the Espionage Act of June 1917 with gusto. Heading the Committee on Public Information, George Creel advanced rank nativism with his `Americanization' campaign emboldened the 100 percenters and spurred the `ugly fires of vigilantism' while the Department of Justice and Supreme Court remained mum on civil liberties violations. In this war for the American mind, Wilson alienated and besmirched his radical and liberal supporters contributing to the Democratic congressional losses in 1918 and his subsequent failure to advance his peace policies.
II. The Political Economy of War: The Home Front
In funding the war, the Federal Reserve became the bond-selling window of the Treasury and rather than `relying either on heavy taxation or on market-rate borrowing,' McAdoo exhorted the public to support Liberty Loans frequently employing forced emotionalism. Kennedy remarked that McAdoo's `polices in practice prompted massive bank borrowing. And because debt obligations in the hands of banks provide a basis for the creation of credit, McAdoo's tactics produced powerfully inflationary results.' Bernard Baruch's tenure in the War Industries Board to champion his vision of business-government integration left `entire industries, even entire economic sectors as in the case of agriculture, were organized and disciplined as never before, and brought into close and regular relations with counterpart congressional committees, cabinet departments and Executive agencies.' WIB's operations left a lasting legacy of the war in the American political and economic cultures: `From the war can be dated the origins of the modern practice of massive informal collusion between government and organized private enterprises; For the remainder of the century, government in America would be in large measure an affair conducted of, by and for special interest groups of that type, to the frequent neglect of the unorganized and of the `public interest.''
III You Are in the Army Now
John Pershing's plan for American army in Europe called for `a massive, head-on confrontation with the main German force.' Kennedy credited this American Civil War strategy for fixing the American image of war from the 1860s.
IV Over There - and Back
Kennedy contested Paul Fussell's claim that `American writing about the war tends to be spare and one-dimensional, devoid of allusion, without the shaping mold of tradition to give it proper form.' In the British experience, `irony displaced mimesis as the dominant form of understanding' as Fussell argued `that this transformation marked the passage of English literature form a "low mimetic" phase, in which the hero's power of action had typically approximated the reader's (as in the nineteenth-century novel) to an `ironic' modern phase, in which the protagonist's power of action is less than that of the reader, who has the sense of looking down on scenes of frustration or absurdity (as in many twentieth-century novels and plays).'
Kennedy's riposte centered on the truncated life cycle of American war writing. For most of the young men in the AEF, `the war had provided a welcome relief from ordinary life' and `they had arrived too late and moved too swiftly to be deeply disabused of their adventurous expectations.' Hence, American accounts, Kennedy explained, `reside along a different frontier of the low mimetic mode: the boundary that separates it from the `high mimetic' style of epic, romance, and myth in which the hero's power of action exceeds that of ordinary people in everyday life.' The duality in American literary culture can be found by contrasting the 'high mimetic' work by an older generation of writers, such as Edith Wharton, Claude Wheeler, Willa Cather, who `had preached that combat offered adventure-filled liberation from the iron trend of peacetime society toward mechanization, routine and the suppression of the individual' with those of postwar novelists of protests such as Hemingway, Dos Passos and Cummings.
One of the lasting legacies of the war, Kenney opined, was `an immense void of incomprehension that separated the intellectuals from the masses.' The sensibilities `enshrined in the minds of the American Legionnaires' were markedly different from 'those expressed in the novels of postwar novelists of protest.' They `protested less against the war itself than against a way of seeing and describing the war; they saw and remembered a different war than that which most of `Pershing's Crusaders' had witnessed' since many of them had participated in the war much earlier.
V Armistice and Aftermath
The post-mortem of the 1918 mid-term election revealed that `not the immediate details of the Armistice but the accumulated resentments at wartime domestic policies had swung the election to the GOP.' The Democrats' death knell was the bifurcation of its coalition of West and South. Wilson's fateful decision to veto the wheat price amendment which would have raised the government's artificial support level for the Western farmers `drove Westerners back into the Republican fold.'
VI The Political Economy of War: The International Dimension
Confuting the notion that `Wilson's efforts to force American trade and ships and capital into the international system economic policies abroad as a quest for profit,' Kennedy interpreted them as part of a political strategy to create `a largely internationally oriented constituency in the business community' to support his foreign policy. Wilson recognized the need to `break down the parochialism of American businessmen and stitch their interests permanently into the new international fabric.' Yet, `that constituency and that support did not materialize.' One of the chief obstacles was the `asymmetry of America's relation to the world economy' and the preponderance of the domestic investment opportunities.
In Kennedy's analysis, Wilson's own economic philosophies thwarted his foreign ambitions and atrophied his economic trump cards. First, `throughout the conflict, it had been Wilson's main intention to depart from the normal as little as possible, especially in economic matters.' This `ideological aversion of the President and his circle to perpetuating war-born governmental and inter-governmental controls over trade and investment' paradoxically frustrated `the cooperative economic arrangements that would provide necessary undergirding to the political structure they hoped to erect.' Wilson wanted influence without responsibilities by pursuing an `almost an opposite policy - seeking American political participation in the international order but hesitating to integrate American economic resources fully into that order.'
VI Epilogue: Promises of Glory
At the peace treaty, Wilson's dogmatic approach to peace followed a zero-sum game. Had Wilson `firmly grasped the outstretched hand of the European socialists in 1917 and 1918 in all the Allied countries, he might thus have brace those constituencies most sympathetic to his vision of peace and most disposed to challenge the reactionary designs of their own governments.' Similarly, by excluding Republicans from the American delegation at Paris, he ensured fierce Senate opposition. On Article X, Wilson fought to the bitter end; `if there could be no treaty other than a purely Wilson treaty, then there would be no legal close to the war itself except on Wilson's terms.'
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Legacy of the Great War: Irony
, December 22, 2010
For Paul Fussell, "the Great War was more ironic than any before or since" because "it reversed the Idea of Progress." "The application of mind and memory to the events of the Great War" engendered "a dominating form of modern understanding that is essentially ironic." The Great War memoirs marked a confluence of low mimetic and ironic modes in literature and "proposed or at least recognized a renewed body of rituals and myths." Fussell explored the works of Seigfried Sassoon, Robert Graves and Wilfred Blunden and deemed them "to be subtle enough to be credible." "Sassoon's exaggerated antitheses, Graves's farcical dramaturgy, Blunden's unremitting literary pastoralism" epitomized war-time memories.
To trace the development of binary vision, "the mode of gross dichotomy that came to dominate perception and expression elsewhere," Siegfried Sassoon's The Memoirs of George Sherston captured "the grinding daily contrasts which no line-officer ever forgets: those between 'his' ground and ours; the enemy and 'us'; invisibility and visibility; his dead and ours; day rest and night labor; the knowledge born of the line and the ignorant innocence at home; the life on the line and the life of the Staff." Fussell extrapolated the need to "seeing warfare as a theater provides a psychic escape for the participant" and "the stagiest is Robert Graves' Good-bye to All That, which is rather a satire, built out of anecdotes heavily influenced by techniques of stage comedy." To further explore the psychosis of the British soldiers, Blunden in the Undertones of War honed in "pre-industrial England, the only repository of criteria for measuring fully the otherwise unspeakable grossness of the war."
Defining homoeroticism as "a sublimated form of temporary homosexuality," Fussell plumbed the poetry of Wilfred Owen which synthesized the "impulses of Victorian and early-twentieth-century homoeroticism," and "it is there that they are transfigured and sublimated with little diminution of their emotional warmth." In addition, the significance attached to sunrise and sunset, three's roses and poppies ushered the drift of consciousness towards myths and fictions.
One legacy is that "the conduct of the Second War on `the Western Front' was influenced everywhere by memories of the deadly frontal assaulting of the Great War." The gradual disappearance of the "concept of prohibitive obscenity," which "has acted as a censor on earlier memories of `war,' paved way for a new dimension that "is capable of revealing for the first time the full obscenity of the Great War."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
'Relationship between armaments competition and international politics was one of interdependence throughout'
, December 5, 2010
David Herrmann's study found that `perceptions of military strength underwent a radical change between 1904 and 1914 and the principal reason for the change lay in perceptions of a changing balance of power in Europe ... caused the First World War to break out in large part as a `preventive war.' In a sense, the `relationship between armaments competition and international politics was one of interdependence throughout.'
In the First Moroccan Crisis 1905-1906, Germany exploited its military advantage during negotiations, and this credible threat of war against France forced the European armies to `compare their strength with that of potential adversaries in war, `drove together the Entente,' and `the consequent examination of the French army's situation led directly to the opening of Anglo-French staff talks in an attempt to redress the balance.'
Herrmann also noted the `Austro-Hungarian general staff's highly destabilizing practice of proposing a `preventive war' as a means of solving domestic and international problems.' Conrad advocated from 1906 onward `a preemptive war against Italy or a coup against Budapest.'
The Bosnia-Herzegovina Annexation Crisis did not involved ` the serious threat of a great-power war,' but the balance of power tilting against Russia spurred Germany and Austria-Hungary's `potential adversaries into competitive military expansion against them and touched off reactions on the other side that were designed to make it harder for the threateners to threaten again.' Herrmann remarked how leaders in Berlin and Vienna `did not take matters to their logical conclusion and decide to attack Russia itself while it was nearly defenseless' because `neither Conrad nor his superiors really wanted to take on a campaign against Russia and possibly risk a world war for the sake of having a better chance in the present than in a future conflict.' But, by 1914, their attitude was very different.
`Changing perceptions of the balance of military power' were instrumental in touching off the arms race. When the Entente stood firm against Germany during the Second Moroccan Crisis, German civilian leaders with a `far grimmer and more urgent view of the strategic situation' responded with the army law of 1912 `in the expectation of a future war.'
Germany reacted to the Balkan Wars with another army law of 1913 and touched off an arms race dynamic as France responded with the loi des trois and Russia the Great Program. `The result of the Balkan Wars contributed to a perception in Berlin and Vienna that the military situation was growing ever more threatening and must eventually lead to a war for survival. In the absence of successful efforts to find a political route out of the dilemma, this change in the strategic balance helped induce a mentality that made statesmen prepared to accept the risk of war in 1914.'
Herrmann further asserted the changed military balance and the prospect of future change influenced `the attitudes of statesmen toward the use of armed forces': `the speed of the escalating armaments race, as well as the mentality it engendered, made the decision to mobilize a far more likely choice than it had been in previous confrontations. The conviction among a widening circle of decision makers that a general war was inevitable contributed to this attitude. So did the growing acceptance of the notion of fighting a preventive war to forestall a worse situation in the future.' In the eyes of the leaders in Berlin and Vienna, the 1914-1915period appeared to have been the last `window of reasonable military opportunity.'
The decision to go to war in 1914 was the culmination of an evolution in attitude towards war stimulated by the armaments race in relation to strategic calculation in the balance of power. "War was no longer the worst option. It was not the optimal result for any of them: each preferred a diplomatic success without war. The worst prospect was diplomatic defeat, which all sides regarded as unacceptably disastrous, and conducive to a future war under worse conditions."
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A case against welfare held hostage to interest groups
, July 22, 2010
`The book studies the emergence of state policies toward family dependence in Britain and France in the period between 1914 and 1945, in an attempt to understand why these welfare states developed along such different lines.'
- Breadwinner logic of welfare vs. a parental one
`British welfare state developed along deeply gendered lines. Both labor and social policies were premised on a normative vision of the family in which men were presumed to be the principal family breadwinners, and dependence was considered the normal destiny of wives.' On the other hand, in Pedersen's words, `French policies came to rest on a different logic, which I will term `parental.' Parental policies do not assume that women are necessarily dependent, nor that men always have `families to keep' rather, they presume the dependence of children alone and hence redistribute income primarily across family types and not along gender lines' - making `French family benefits among the most generous and redistributive in Europe.'
- Debates and policies
`How proposals to base social entitlements on family status or gender role were articulated and received within two realms - the open realm of public and political debate and the more restricted realm of political or economic consultation.' `While debates in France succeeded in defining the aim of family policy in ways that coincided with the interests of those able to influence outcomes, the debate in Britain was captured by those with little influence over policy-making.' `In Britain, then policies toward families with dependent children were shaped largely by those groups -notably civil servants and trade unionists - seeking to protect wages and wage negotiations from `political' and state interference and resistant to the redistributive agendas articulated by feminists and socialists. In France, by contrast, the success with which social Catholics and pronatalists defined aid to families with dependent children as a patriotic measure proved a useful cover for employers eager to distribute allowances in lieu of wages.' `In France, by contrast, the very weakness of feminism and of organized men enabled employers and politicians to channel income to `the family'.'
- Motivation driven by complex identities and loyalties
`In focusing on arguments over the treatment of dependence, this book argues for a more complex definition of `interest' and a more sophisticated view of the process through which such interests are articulated and represented.' `This book will show that, under certain conditions, interests defined on generational, gender, or familial lines could indeed make themselves felt -whether through organizations (such as the pronatalist lobbies) determined to represent the interests of the child or through groups usually seen as the pure representatives of `class' (such as trade unions) but sometimes equally devoted to the privileges of their members as men.'
The Family in Question
As H.G. Wells understood, the crisis of family was perceived from the beginning as a crisis of gender relations in Britain, while in France it was specifically a crisis of cultural anxiety and denatalie. In Britain, the Education Act of 1906 (Provision of Meals) provided `school meals made the child's right to aid paramount, more important even than the father's responsibility to maintain. The introduction of school meals could thus be seen as a precedent for the disaggregation of family income and for further independent benefits for children.' `Emergence of an unsteady coalition of reformers at the interstices of the feminist and labor movements committed to increasing the entitlement of dependent mothers and children, did not push family policy development down a single track in the prewar period. Rather, a many-sided debate was matched by multiple and often-conflicting policies backed by shifting coalitions.'
`Rather it was in France, where women remained voteless in the interwar period but where trade union power was similarly restricted, that a comprehensive family policy developed.' 'A coalition of right-wing pronatalist successfully defined and captured the issue and this shaped the policies.' `Unlike Britain, then, where family policy was problematic primarily because it was linked to feminist aims to increase wives' independence and power pronatalists' success in linking family policy to a nationalist and patriarchal social vision left It relatively uncontroversial in a nation with a weak feminist movement and an exclusively male electorate throughout the interwar period.'
`In Britain, concern over children quickly became intertwined with feminist claims for economic independence and socialist visions of an expanded state. This rhetorical link between family policy and the transformative policies of feminists and socialists meant that entitlements for children were seen from the beginning as endangering the male family wage and thus the very constitution of the family.' `The needs of war, however, would endow particular economic groups - especially employers' associations in France and trade unions in Britain with new powers. These interests were not centrally concerned with children but they were concerned to protect or to disaggregate the male `family wage.' It was their preferences that would shape the policies of the postwar period.'
The Impact of the Great War
`In Britain, despite large transfers of income to women, wartime labor and social policies were designed to protect men's labor market position after the war. Women continued to be viewed as purely temporary workers, while the state adopted new responsibilities for guaranteeing men's breadwinner status by providing of their dependents during legitimate interruptions of earnings. In France, by contrast, industrialists and ministers attempted to cope with wartime inflation without harming working-class living standards by extending allowances for dependent children to large numbers of workers. Such programs effectively redistributed income from childless workers to those with children.'
`The deployment of men, then, whether for the factories or the front, was constrained in Britain by an ongoing series of negotiations with the trade unions, conducted both nationally and at the level of the individual firm. `Dilution' threatened to expose the degree to which `skill' was socially, rather than technically defined. `The fact that `the sex line of demarcation is clearly defined, unlike that between classes of men,' could thus lead craftsmen to prefer dilution by women, believing that they would be able to enforce their exclusion at the end of the war.' `This process contrasts sharply with the measures used to ensure the adequate provision of men and munitions in France.' `The fact that all men of military age were liable for service made negotiations almost irrelevant.' `The war thus strengthened both organization among employers and the ties between the latter and the government.'
`French experience reveals one fundamental difference: attitudes about women's work in France were less successfully translated into laws and agreements explicitly defining its nature, scope, and duration. Women should be organized into trade unions and on the same terms as men.' `Neither the arbitrations nor the collective bargaining agreements ratified by the Ministry of Labor during the war stipulated the postwar exclusion of any group of workers' with the exception of foreign workers' quota. `French social policy would remain concerned with the problems of reconciling motherhood with women's wage earning'.'
Part II Reworking the Family Wage in the Twenties
Family Policy as Women's Emancipation
`New feminists' focused on `problems faced by housebound mothers' and `hoped to fashion comparable state policies to compensate all mothers for their domestic labors within the home, thereby ending the economic dependence of unwaged wives on their husbands.' `Their capacity to influence the shape of policy depended on their ability to gain allies within parties organized on quite different lines, and here, as we shall see, they largely failed.'
`Endowment advocates felt that only by disaggregating the family as an economic unit - by paying all wage earners standard rates regardless of sex and entrusting mothers with additional benefits for children- would these consumption patterns begin to change and the welfare of hitherto dependent women and children be ensured. The government committees of 1918 and 1919 rejected this alternative, preferring to defend the ideal of the male family wage supplemented by pensions for unsupported mothers.' `The feminists demand for universal endowment was submerged in a prior consensus to win cash benefits only for those mothers without husbands.' `Arguments over the `endowment of motherhood' were contained within the women's organizations.'
`In contrast to the Labor's promised plans, the Conservative measure provided benefits not to unsupported mothers but to the widows of insured men, whether or not they had children, and was funded no through taxation but through contributions from those men. By linking pensions to the man's insurance status rather than to the woman's sole responsibility for children, the Conservative bill finalized the divorce between widows' pensions and women's rights.'
Sir Alfred Watson played a crucial role in transforming the radical demand for endowment into the placid widows' pensions bill. His scheme insisted `on contributory financing and the extension of benefits to women without children - did complete the metamorphosis of widows' pensions form a step toward payment for motherhood to a necessary component of a welfare system constructed around a man's right to maintain. First, the decision to finance pensions through insurance linked them both administratively and ideologically to the working man.'
Family Policy as Socialism in Our Time
In Britain, `supporters of family endowment within the ILP in the hope of convincing the Labour Party to place children's allowances on its 1929 election manifesto' successfully orchestrated the Trades Union Congress and party's Joint Committee on the Living Wage, which `was crucial for it crystallized the hostility of the TUC to this type of distributive policy, effectively preventing the Labour Party from acting on its own interest in children's allowances for a dozen years.' The findings was that `family allowances were acceptable only if they had no effect on wages whatsoever.' `The inability of allowance advocates even to get their policy on the Labour Party program left their cause without effective political backing until the Second World War. The ambivalence of the trade union movement overcame the genuine support for the policy within the Party.'
Acting upon their economic interests and bargaining clout, `unionists who knew they would have the task of defending wage rates whether Labour was in office or not were reluctant to support legislation they felt could complicate their activities after their political allies had left the scene.` `Given that family allowances would not be accepted by the Labour Party unless endorsed by the TUC. Even if they improved conditions, they would do so in ways that would marginalize trade unions as institutions and trade unionists as recipients. The treatment of Labour women's claims by the TUC revealed only that the TUC faithfully represented the interests of its constituents: (largely male) trade unionists.'
`In Britain, the lethargy of employers and the opposition of the TUC ensured that family allowances would not be introduced even in the most compelling cases - as, for example, in the coal industry - despite the sympathy of many economists, `experts,' and politicians. Family policy would always be subordinated to the protection of the male family age.'
Business Strategies and the Family
`The Consortium Textile de Roubaix-Tourcoing and the Caisse de Compensation de la Region Parisienne (CCRP) confirm the central place of family allowances within the business strategies of the highly organized employers who set up the caisses. While the textile employers of Roubaix-Tourcoing attempted to use allowances to recruit and stabilize the labor force, the engineering and automobile employers in the Paris region saw allowances as a means of restraining wages during the boom years of the twenties. In the long run, however, the Parisian conception of allowances as a means of disaggregating a wage bill that otherwise had to allow for dependents needs proved far more susceptible to broader extension than the combative and illiberal policies of the textile employers.'
With Desire Ley as his henchman, `Eugene Mathon's Consortium tried to use family allowances to construct a highly illiberal labor control policy and to break the backs of the unions. Employers set allowances at a high level and then made their receipt conditional on uninterrupted presence in the factory, thus undermining the right to strike and consequently, union power.' `Family allowances thus served to make a portion of the worker's wage dependent not upon work performance, but simply on the continued and reliable presence of all adult or adolescent members of his or her family within the Consortium's factories.' `Consortium costs were easily recovered in the increased stability of the work force.'
The unrest as a result of the Consortium's astringent policy marked the turning point of state intervention leading to a 1933 agreement - `first collective contract signed in the textile industry' - and its subsequent direct supervision in 1933 by the ministry of labor. `Louis Loucheur's activism as minister of labor in the sphere of family policy was due in part to this frustration with the Consortium's intransigence and its rejecting of both collective bargaining and government arbitration. Loucherur declcared, "We do not want payment of family allowances to be conditional." `For families, however, state control made allowances a far more reliable source of income. Although the Consortium paid out less in allowances in 1938 than in 1930, the amount received per family and per child about doubled. , with families reeiving nearly the amount that would have been granted if allowances had been paid in full without any consideration of attendance at work.'
In sum, `the Consortium's real achievement was in forcing real wages steadily downward throughout the twenties. Insofar as workers maintained their standard of living, they did so by working more hours or by bringing more family members into Consortium firms.' `The Consortium's system untied the bonds of dependence and maintenance between young and old, women and men. High female employment combined with family allowances disaggregated the family as an economic unit. The Consortium created a miniature `welfare state.'
- Caisse de Compensation de la Region Parisienne
`CCRP was the creature of the employers' organizations; nevertheless, these links were not always clear.' `A number of the Metals Group's firms `convinced of the usefulness of the family allowance system as a means of moderating excessive wage demands.' 'The Paris caisse paid the allowance by statute to the mother, whether or not she was herself gainfully employed. Employers to some extent pitted the interest of the unwaged (especially unwaged wives) against those of the waged.' `The Social Services of the CCRP became famous as the model for home-based maternal and infant social work' and served the dual function to `investigate particular problems and to `police' families.' `When state intervention looked likely CCRP adopted a far more conciliatory position and sought to safeguard the central elements of their system: big business dominance, social work, and the parallel organization of industrial chambers and caisse sections.'
`Unlike the Consortium, the CCRP had used state intervention if anything to consolidate its position. It had absorbed the small businesses brought in by the 1932 law without granting them a significant voice in policy; its Social Services remained intact; and it retained close links between employers' organizations and the caisse.' `Massive strikes of May and June 1936 in the Paris engineering industry lead to the Matignon accords.' `Although wages in firms affiliated to the Metals Group rose by 68% between 1920 and 1929 while the cost of living rose by only 48%, productivity in the automobile industry quadrupled in the same period. Unlike the Consortium, the Metals Group could not hold wages below the cost-of-living increases, but this degree of wage restraint in a period of real industrial advance was a respectable achievement.'
Part III The Politics of State Intervention in the Thirties
`In Britain, the problem of working-class family poverty was quickly collapsed into the problem of the unemployed. The maintenance of the unemployed, through the insurance system if possible, and through public assistance (`the dole') when necessary, became the principal social concern of both Conservative and Labour governments. Although developments were uneven and piecemeal, British innovations did deepen a gender-based logic of social welfare. French politicians, by contrast left the relief of unemployed workers to the localities, concentrating instead on social supports for vulnerable children.'
Engendering the British Welfare State
`The conservative-dominated National Government, concentrated on subjecting all workers who had exhausted their benefit to humiliating tests of family resources. The new dependence of men that evoked the most sustained opposition, providing a basis of popular support for later wartime demands for full employment and comprehensive social insurance reform.'
- The anomalies regulations
`Unemployment Insurance Act of 1931 restricted access to benefit for particular classes of workers, especially married women. Make explicit the gender bias of the social insurance system, a bias that ultimately found expression in the Beveridgian welfare state.' `The anomalies regulations of the thirties stand as the strongest state endorsement of the male breadwinner norm in the interwar period.'
- The household means test
`From 12 November 1931, all those who had exhausted their covenanted beneft would receive their `transitional benefit' though the local Public Assistance Committees (PACs) and after a means test of the resources of the household.' `Means test distinguished the legitimate unemployed from the long-term unemployed. The imposition of the household means test converted what had been a rights-based converted what had been a rights-based benefits into a humiliating dole, and independent breadwinners into, in some case, dependents.'
- A new case for children's allowances
`Labor market inequalities, gendered social policies, and the normative ideal of the male breadwinner proved mutually reinforcing, turning sexually inegalitarian policies into `common sense'.' `The most convincing and widely supported case for family allowances was an antipoverty case, born of the controversies over the health and welfare of working-class families during a period of chronic unemployment.' `The proportion of children in poverty was far higher than the proportion of adults.' Wage-benefit overlap occurred when `children could be better off with a father out of work than with one employed.` `Family benefits may have been intended to compensate for the family wage, but social surveys during the thirties revealed that male wages were often nowhere near a `family' level.'
`Total war did inaugurate a new contract both among the political parties and between the government and the people. Comprehensive social services quickly became an accepted goal.' Key features of the Beveridge Plan include `working men remained the principal focus of the insurance system; the tasks of finding work and supporting wives were laced squarely on their shoulders, and those who refused employment wre again relegated to means-tested assistance.' `Beveridge thus made full employment - along with a national health service and family allowances - one of his three cardinal `assumptions'.' `With a policy of full employment, postwar governments made the fulfillment of the ideal of the male breadwinner possible.' `Upon marriage, a woman became a household worker, unpaid but supported, and that she therefore needed insurance against loss of both her capacity for housework and her maintenance by her husband... the woman contracted with her husband and had recourse to the public purse only when this first contract broke down.'
In conclusion, `Family allowances were acceptable not as an alternative to wages, but only when they were so whittled down - by the omission of the first child and their reduction to below-subsistence levels - to be assured of having no impact on wage levels at all. In such a form, they would relieve the most extreme manifestations of child poverty without undermining men's claims to the family wage or the paradigm of the male breadwinner and dependent wife.'
Distributive Justice and the Family
`French pornatalists were the only group of political actors in either France or Britain united primarily by conviction rather than by economic interest to have a significant influence on family policy.' Helmed by doctrinaire Fernand Boverat, the pronatalist group Alliance Nationale `developed a comprehensive policy platform based on a unique theory of citizenship and social organization.' `Pronatalists felt that whatever the distribution of income between classes, that between the childless and those with children must be equalized. Unlike their British counterparts, however, pronatalists were entirely uninterested in income redistribution across classes or sexes' - `an ideal of family-based redistribution relatively unencumbered by other political aims.' Pronatalists looked to the caises to fund their family programme. `The Alliance Nationale made the requirement of all employers to adhere to a caisse the main plank in its 1928 platform. These efforts helped to transform an industrial wage policy into a national family policy.'
`Family Allowance Law of 11 March 1932 reconciled business interests with pronatalists demands for a national family policy.' `Pronatalists replaced businessmen as the main innovators in the field of family policy. 388 Yet the claim that family allowances could be the tool of demographic renewal - an argument that businessmen had themselves done much to disseminate and promote... by playing the pronatalist card, modernizing businessmen made a case for the national importance, but also the national control, of their ostensibly philanthropic effort. Pronatalits were successful in forcing policy forward, but only in a direction already heavily determined by business interests.'
`In Britain, feminists supported benefits for mothers as a means of granting some measure of economic independence to women whose hope of earning wages was effectively nil; in France, by contrast, such measures were proposed as a means of inducing women to abjure the `individualistic' role of wage earning to devote themselves to their families.' `The argument that became taboo in the France of the thirties was not that women should be paid for motherhood - the taboo argument in Britain - but rather that motherhood might be a matter of choice.'
`Feminist historians have tended to see financial independence as the sine qua non of women's emancipation, but the history of French family policy leads us to question that assumption. The pronatalist rhetoric of childbearing as a patriotic duty and Catholic doctrines of the unity of the family were so powerful, so verbose, as to limit the liberating potential of any family policy. Politically marginal, still voteless, French women found themselves facing pronatalists willing to pay for babies but not willing to take no for an answer.'
Pedersen asserted that `there is no question but that the French system of family allowances has proven far more effective at safeguarding a decent standard of living than has the British pursuit of the elusive family wage.' `Family benefits remained a central feature of the French welfare state.' `French's system of family allowances: simple redistribution of the wage bill in accordance with family needs by Sequestering a portion of the general wage bill and paying it out only to workers with dependent children, thus effectively distributing the cost of children among the population.'
`But policies can react back on relations of authority and dependence in public and private, challenging or upholding particular social behaviors or choices. For men, the primary distinction between the unemployment insurance scheme and the assistance system to which they were relegated when their insurance period expired was that the former presumed they were the breadwinners of their families, while the latter stripped them of that status by requiring that the earnings of other family members be used to support them. Beveridge and other liberals found intolerable without regard for the hierarchies of sex and generation introducing policies to guarantee full employment.' `Yet complexity of debate did not necessarily lead to success.' `It was because gender relations were so deeply contested in Britain that proposals to aid children almost inevitably degenerated into rather unseemly battles between those representing the rival interests of mothers and fathers.' `The TUC may not have been able to force the introduction of policies it favored, but its presence did prevent employers from contemplating, and the state form sanctioning, social policies so antithetical to the old ideal of the man's responsibility to maintain.'
On the other hand, in France, `Employers successfully operated comprehensive and often coercive labor and wage policies through the medium of seemingly benevolent, family-centered social programs. This discovery confirms and extends recent revisionist claims concerning the vitality of French business in the interwar period.' `French pronatalists concluded that children should be seen in part as a collective charge, their welfare not made hostage to the concern either to promote particular domestic relations or to recruit and manage particular groups of workers. Unless one intends to visit the sins - or, in the case of poverty, the misfortunes - of the parents upon the children, a greater recognition of the claims of children forms a necessary pillar to any modern welfare state.'
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Advance of the Market Empire Overturns European Conventions
, July 19, 2010
The central theme of Irresistible Empire was that `America's hegemony was built on European territory' and through the Marshall Plan, the Market Empire tried `to bind western Europe to its own concept of consumer democracy.' The body of the composition examined the features of this Market Empire: `other nations as having limited sovereignty over their public space'; `exportation of its civil society meaning its voluntary associations, social scientific knowledge and civic spirit - in tandem with, if not ahead of, the country's economic exports'; `the power of norms-making' governed by `the rules of `best practice' as spelled out by enterprising businessmen, civic leaders, and conscientious bureaucrats.'; `vaunted democratic ethos, democracy in the realm of consumption coming down to espousing equality in the face of commonly known as standards'; and `apparent peaceableness - obscuring the fact that the Market Empire advanced rapidly in times of war and that its many military victories - and occasional defeats - were always accompanied by significant breakthroughs to the benefit of its consumer industries and values.' De Grazia delineated the power and expansion of the Market Empire by three focuses: `forces pushing out from the United States, which caused the consumer revolution in the first place and propelled its institutions and practices into Europe'; `brings into focus Europe to reconstruct the commercial civilization that confronted American consumer culture with a rival vision of market institutions and values' and `the new transatlantic dialectic fostered by America's consumer revolution. More than a pace-setter or the first to get there, American consumer culture catalyzed discontents, produced ruptures, and pushed aside obstacles.
The Service Ethics
De Grazia used `the spread of Rotary clubs to show how European elites began to accommodate to a new life that emphasized the material commonality of daily needs.' The club's promotion of `a new spirit of service capitalism' epitomized `how Bourgeois Men Made Peace with Babbittry' and de Grazia humorously stressed the use of `babbitt and Babbittry not as pejoratives but as terms invented by a fast-changing social lexicon to characterize new ideal types of middle-class identity and social behavior.' Even though it appears to be egalitarian and transparent, `the real power of decisionmaking rested with the imperturbable `Men of Chicago.' Looking at Dresden, the club's `service ideal was hard to imagine, much less to implement, in communities wracked by partisan, religious, and regional splits' yet, `belonging to Rotary also promised to reestablish the business trust to support Germany's export economy' during the interwar years. In an example of pushing aside obstacles, `Rotary was urging European Catholics too to believe that religion worked not by means of doctrinal persuasion, but by individually interpreting scripture as a guide to social conduct.. At Rotary's urging, Catholics were to become not less religious, but differently religious.'
A Decent Standard of Living
The American standard was marked by an American consumer culture that asserted `the good life consists of a decent income for lots of people spent individually by purchasing goods that they believe enable them to live comfortably,' which could be defined by scientifically measuring `the amount of wages, the expansion of purchasing power, the bountiful output of mass production, and the range of individual choices provided by private enterprise.' The standard conferred `consumer sovereignty' - `the power granted to consumers to exercise freedom of demand, champion the power citizens might exercise by means of their choices as consumers.' `There were classes of goods, but no longer classes of people.' The breakthrough came in the US when Franklin Roosevelt's domestic and economic policies recognized Keynes' theories on demands and the relationship with the overall level of consumer expenditures. Roosevelt's `government regarded the consumer not as a political force, but as an aggregate in economic growth' when it recognized `collective rights to bargaining at the same time as setting up social security.' The European `government responses to the Great Depression spelled the death knell of the political economy underpinnings of the old regime of consumption' and `one remarkable outcome was that pumping up purchasing power began to be viewed as indispensable to the recovery of capitalism.' French sociologist Halbwachs found that `new needs could cause people to jettison fixed hierarchies of wants' when hitherto, `social classes lived in ways utterly segregated from each other even if they had similar incomes.'
The Chain Store
`Fordism had made way for Fileneism,' named after Edward Albert Filene who coined the adage, "True mass production is not production of masses of goods but production for masses of people." `By concentrating managerial expertise, capital, and decisionmaking capacities in one headquarters, the chain store performed as a `machine for selling.' The chain store concept developed in fertile American terrain because `the small shop would never be sanctified as it was in contemporary Europe as a social institution valuable in itself. The net effect was to accustom business, state policy, and the public to never0ending, head-spinning newness in the retail trades.' The growing `middleness was also a distinctive a feature of American consumer culture' - `middle as in the `middle millions' was also the social self-definition of the growing number of people occupied as employees, managers, and experts in all sorts of merchandising-related services.' In Europe, `class behaviors, which weighed so heavily on consumers' standards of living, similarly shaped where and how consumers shopped. The plethora of people involved in small commerce regarded themselves not merely as economic units, but as the very pillars of a social order doomed to death if they failed to survive.' Again, the consequences of the Depression wrecked the old models. `The European department stores operated in a far less mobile market than their U.S. counterparts, reducing their customer base and weakening their capacity to source goods' and during the `interwar years, department store began to wobble as the standard-bearer of bourgeois consumption and, on the other, small commerce flagged in its claim to represent the sound alternative universe of the middle classes.' The twin developments paved way for the challenge of the Five-and-Dime, which showed that `mass retailing could make as heady as profit as manufacturing.' The giant chain `spelled a social revolution by attracting a socially mixed clientele. Thereby they lessened the gap in purchasing habits between the bourgeoisie and the middle classes broadly intended, and in some places between the lower-middle and working classes.' Furthermore, `trust in the pricing system came from factors that were extrinsic to the item,' inculcating `the feeling that customers were al being treated equally.' The outcome was that `mass retailing was now available to the masses as it pressed into residential neighborhoods amid small shops that had not hitherto had to contend with major competition.'
Even though European products dominated the Great Leipzig Fair, production strategy marked key trans-Atlantic divergences. `As a result of diversification, German firms could not invest as much in research, design and marketing as the American firms did, and their line of models was more limited.' Furthermore, `generally, many of the new U.S. inventions were labor-saving, whereas in Europe, they were resource-saving; the former were applied to household, the latter to manufacture.' `U.S. manufacturing was becoming fabled for namely high-profile branded products. These were the consumer durables, the convenience items, the comfort goods.' `Old World merchandising emphasized the character of the product, highlighting qualities that could be said to be intrinsic to it and closely related to the environment in which it was produced. The New World's marketing emphasized the product's personality, highlighting outward charms that compensated the consumer for not knowing its place of origin or its intrinsic qualities.' `Marketing the brand thus became a way to neutralize the Europeans' monopolies over circuits of local knowledge.' `The modern marketer's duty was to get bourgeois consumers to relinquish their paralyzing nostalgia for so-called authentic goods by creating brands that were useful, tasteful, and sensitive to preserving social hierarchy.'
`American advertisers posed their goal as promoting a science in the name of corporate profits; on the other hand, `Europeans often claimed to be defending an art in the name of a community of feeling about the familiar brands, pastimes, and places of local material life.' As the `prototype of the full-service agency, grouping under one roof all the personnel and equipment needed to carry out advertising on a scientific basis,' J Walter Thompson was even the `leading consultant of Europe's makeover under the Marshall Plan.' `Like European distribution generally, advertising pivoted around the major capitals of consumption and their mainly bourgeois clientele. Trendsetters could thus rely on what Edward Bernays called the `innate social-fashion-taste planning' of European elites.' The American challenge pitted `American mass-circulation press' against `the design aesthetic associated with European postermaking traditions.' The American success created `the most significant pressure to shift to American-style text advertising was also the most complicated, namely to enable the advertiser to communicate with his public': `The pressure to incorporate, even sometimes to plagiarize, American text styles came from leading enterprises and showed up particularly vividly in the ever-more massive advertising for food, drink, and toiletries.' Ironically, `Nazi Germany offered the most propitious environment for American-style advertising in all Europe.'
The Star System
In de Grazia's words, `How `Hollywood' by which we mean the mass-produced, classically narrated feature film mainly fashioned in the giant studio systems of southern California - challenged European commercial civilization is the subject of this chapter.' The Great War broke the back of European dominance: `the moment must have been mid-1916. For it was then that U.S. motion picture exports to Europe leaped, taking advantage of the slowing of local production.' `By August 1918, when the Armistice ended the fighting, American releases could be found practically everywhere there was a moviehouse, the big exception being Germany.' The American `Motion Picture Patents Company: shaped the future organization of the whole industry' and `had barred foreign firms from its licensing cartels.' To oust the remaining French influences in domestic cinema, MPPC successfully pursued and applied `the cultural defense' by engendering `debate over style and content of movies' and formalizing `new aesthetic categories' in order to `distinguish healthy films from insalubrious ones.' `With the US market thus permanently captured for national producers by a system of protectionism exercising power over both distribution and taste,' the exportation efforts muscled its way in Europe. The Herriot decree on film quota was overturned by the threat of American boycott and the unemployment of French film workers. The dominance was checked temporarily by the Nazis: `German industrialists had long encouraged their potential partners, first and foremost in France, to establish a vertically organized lobby like their own SPIO in order to end their internal squabbles and exercise effective political power.' By the war's end, `Hollywood made it clear that according to its agenda the `war had been waged to win back the European film market.'
`The market could not be trusted to be egalitarian and that government had to intervene to equalize their citizens' purchasing power. Thereby European societies had come around to embracing the right to `social citizenship'.' Nevertheless, `starting in the 50s was the conflict between the European vision of the social citizen and the American notion of the sovereign consumer.' De Grazia identified the Marshall Plan's `ultimate intention to promote a cross-Atlantic, western European wide alliance to grow consumption.' Therefore, `as a condition for obtaining aid, American officials not only pressed for more or less legal ouster of the left from government coalitions... it sought to repress labor radicalism by splitting the trade union movements.' `Because of its `inability to resist militarily,' western Europe `has to compensate economically.' `To do this, the region had to keep pace with Soviet rates of growth. Thereby it could weaken if not destroy the appeal of communism to its workers and intellectuals.' In turn, `its rising standard of living would give the lie to communist propaganda about the decadence of the West' and have `a magnetic effect on the satellite peoples.' `Sharply rising demand had the effect of reorienting the distribution system to the `one class market' that had enabled American manufacturers to commit to mass production systems in the early 20th century.' `By so doing, it broke the monopoly of manufacturers who in their domestic sales were too exclusively concerned with service to a limited, almost custom-tailored high quality market.' `The figure of the consumer-citizen took a further step away from the past with the establishment of the Common Market in 1957.'
`The key to success was to make a speedy entry and offer stunningly effective services. The stores would open for business as quickly and perform so efficiently that public officials, starting with the mayor, would grant them the license to operate.' `Supermarket Italiani showed European capitalists that investments in food retailing could harvest excellent profits. Second, it set a clear standard for procedure and equipment. And, third, it lent support to a new alliance, forged among big capital, new local entrepreneurship, government and consumers. This alliance was indispensable to revising laws and changing customs so as to establish the supermarket as the main reference point for making calculations about provisioning.'
A Model Mrs. Consumer
The last chapter detailed the culmination of the Market Empire in Europe and the new lifestyle it fashioned. `The kitchen's manager was the modern homemaker, a Mrs. Consumer who worked solo or with her electric servants.' `Her most important task was to balance the competing needs weighing on the family budget.' `As women and men joined themselves in marriage to secure their future, they negotiated each other's functions with contractlike precision.' `Good management of the family held out the promise that the American Standard of Living would continue to improve and American women were becoming more and more adept at converting wages into goods and services.' `Economic women, in the figure of Mrs. Consumer, personified what economists came to call the `family utility function': in making choices she behaved as if she knew the wants of her husband and children as well as she knew her own.' Overcoming inveterate feelings of disgrace and social faux pas attached to credit, the community of belief by the turn of the 1970s embraced `the new standard of living that was based on the full stock of household equipment included not only all classes, but also regions formerly excluded from any national notion of norms of comfort.'
`As mass consumer models became universalized, the grounds for American hegemony became less evident.' `By the 1980s, the average western European enjoyed a higher standard of living than the average American.' De Grazia noted that curiously, `the US no longer exercises a sufficient technological edge to monopolize innovations in either production or consumption' and `the Market Empire has lost its impetus to other regions.' In the area of supermarket for example, the French-owned Carrefour out compete Walmart in China and `has been the main innovator in Latin America.' Essentially, `nothing now prevents the pioneers of multinationalism from themselves falling prey to global predators. In 1987, J. Walter Thompson was taken over in a hostile bid by the British based firm Wire & Plastic Products.' `In the end, mass consumer culture is such an ephemeral form of material life that the great ruptures that formed it are easily lost to sight.' De Grazia's study revealed the pivotal role American social inventions played in Europe's regeneration and the broader global development today.
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Strength of European Community lies in the weakness of the nation-state
, June 8, 2010
Milward's thesis was that `the European Community only evolved as an aspect of that national reassertion' and `without the process of integration the west European nation-state might well not have retained the allegiance and support of its citizens in the way that it has. The European Community has been its buttress, an indispensable part of the nation-state's post-war construction.' Furthermore, `the new political consensus on which this rescue was built required the process of integration, the surrender of limited areas of national sovereignty to the supranation. `That the state by an act of national will might pursue integration as one way of formalizing, regulating and perhaps limiting the consequences of interdependence.'
Coal and Belgian nation
Milward identified national survival as the main reasons for the Treaty of Paris: `peace between France and Germany was essential for Belgium's security, and that this was the strongest reason for accession to the treaty.' On perequation and its purpose of restructuring the coal industry, `it was evident that the Belgian government as a whole felt no particular allegiance of principle to the underlying intentions of perequation and was quite prepared to allow the more generous subsidy regime which was its outcome to prop up the industry relatively unchanged, should that prove the easier political choice.' As it turned out, the restructuring failed miserably. Apparently, `the van Acker government appeared quite prepared to continue these subsidies while only half-heartedly carrying out the restructuring programme.'
The Belgium commitment to providing welfare remained central to its domestic policies and supranationality actually enhanced it: `The collapse of the coal market in 1958 was a crisis of the post-war Belgian state, of the post-war consensus on employment in general, and of the internationalization of that consensus through the Community institutions. For all those compulsorily laid off, generous Community provision was made on top of the already extensive social security provision of the Belgian state.'
Lastly, Milward discerned the use of the supranational body to provide political immunity, `the Belgian government always saw the purpose of the supranational authority as a buttress for national policies. It was a source of authority outside the nation which could be appealed to for help, blamed for unpopular policies which were also those of the government itself.' `The High Authority, as the decisions at the end of April 1955 made clear, was not the triumph of functionalism, but a powerful international committee within which separate national representatives argued for separate national policies.'
Foreign trade, economic and social advance, and the origins of the European Economic Community
Germany's export fueled Europe's spectacular post-war growth. `From at least 1890, Germany had been the main European supplier of investment goods (machinery, transport equipment and steel) to other European economies.' In order to expand its export base beyond the `smaller, more trade-dependent economies, one appeal of a customs union was that it would extend that base by forcing down levels of protection in France and Italy, and perhaps eventually the United Kingdom.' Contrary to the British exports market, the Board of Trade inquiry concluded its finding of a `conscious post-war strategy of regarding Europe as the third-best market and its consequences, ceding to Germany the task of re-equipping Europe's investment programme.'
Milward's research showed that `If West Germany were not firmly secured in its place as the pivot of this trade expansion income growth would be less.' `The stabilizing importance of the German market seems to have been the greater in as much as countries whose overall export performance was relatively weak in the 1950s tended to do worse on non-German markets, while the demand for their goods still remained high in Germany. ` `Ultimately, it was not monetary and fiscal policies within the Federal Republic which were responsible for the export surpluses but the insatiable demand from Western Europe for German engineering goods and the interlocking demand in the Federal Republic for imports for metals and machinery.'
The Netherlands and the Origin of the Common Market
`In the integration in the ECSC, the Netherlands had exercised from the start of the negotiations weight and influence beyond its size.' `The Treaty had incorporated most of the safeguards for national political power on which the Dutch negotiators had insisted.' `Dutch diplomacy played, for example, a decisive role.' `It was Dutch Foreign Minister Beyen himself who proposed that the recompense should be that the EPC become a customs union. Furthermore, he proposed that automatic steps by which the tariffs between its member-states would be progressively eliminated should be written in detail into the draft EPC treaty by the assembly. Once the treaty was signed it would, at least between the Six, end the long history of national tariff bargaining.' `After the rejection of the Defense Community, Monnet and Spaak made energetic efforts to keep alive the idea of political union between the Six. But it was not from their efforts that the Treaties of Rome sprang. They sprang from a renewal of the Beyen proposals.' `This belief that the Beyen Plan, if adopted by the Six, could serve as the start of a wider process of tariff-reduction across Europe and thus as the bridge between a more integrated Six and the rest of the continent was important to its advance.'
`Adenauer was unswerving in his idea that Western European integration must be the basis of the Federal Republic's security and that it was ultimately the only chance of German unification.' As for France, almost everything France wanted out of the treaty it got. The supranational authority was weak. The initial stage of the custom union could be prolonged if France had still not brought is manufacturing costs and balance of payments into what was judged a satisfactory state. The treaty made an explicit commitment to maintain the high levels of welfare payments and the short working week to which most French governments had been committed since 1936 and the Popular Front.'
The Europeanization of agricultural protection
Agricultural protection had its roots from a renewed emphasis on land as a national resource and infiltration of agricultural supporters in positions of power. First, `the protection of European agriculture as it developed after 1945 was usually biased towards the interest of arable farmers.' Second, `the farmers' representative organizations became a quasi-official part of the administration in so many countries and farmers were able to gain a position where they regulated themselves.' `It is to be found in the pervasive belief that the land was a national resource which had been long neglected.'
The problems that came with national agricultural management were surpluses and their disposal. For example, `French surpluses of wheat and sugar were increasingly difficult to vent, could only be vented at high cost to the public purse.' Yet, the agricultural policy of `stimulating and directing ever greater output and surpluses left France no choice but to accept the more comprehensive arrangements demanded by its partners in the common market.'
The outcome was that the `Federal Republic was surely importing from Holland and France things which could have been more efficiently produced in Denmark or outside Europe.' `In retrospect therefore, the CAP was the Franco-Dutch agricultural trade bargain for which both countries had been searching for the first revisions of the Monnet Plan in 1948 and the French decision to become a greater food exporter. The outcome of the CAP was much more favorable to the agricultural vested interest than to the planners and economic reformers.'
The Common Agricultural Policy which propelled agriculture into the post-war political consensus demonstrated the `strength which integration would add to the rescue of the nation-state.'
Britain and western Europe
Unlike the other continental powers, in Britain, `trade and industry had a lesser place in policy formulation than the status of the currency and the international financial considerations, on which that was thought to depend.' Therefore, `it is in no way surprising that in Britain the will to national reassertion should have gathered its forces behind the financial service sector. Relative to the rest of the economy it was far more important than in other European economies.'
The British cabinet considered but ultimately rejected Operation Robot, which would have allowed the sterling rate to float with an eye of `reestablishing sterling as an international currency with unrestricted use' and overturning the `long-run fixed exchange rates established at Bretton Woods' so that the `dollar and the pound would be the two major international currencies of the post-war period.' Robot's failure was attributed to the failure of American and international support. Undeterred, Rowan and Bolton pitted the Collective Approach, which `responded to the criticisms of Robot by envisaging a much more managed and restricted float, and thus a smaller potential devaluation. And it was no longer a plan for sterling-dollar convertibility alone but for other major currencies to establish dollar convertibility at the same time as sterling.'
Yet, `there was no support to be found in Western Europe for the way in which the United Kingdom hoped to establish convertibility between European currencies and the dollar, and this inevitably meant that there would be strong objections in America also.' `For all the Western European states any progress towards convertibility which might involve even a temporary loss of trade was to be rejected, and especially anything which jeopardized their common commercial arrangements. For Britain, on the other hand, all those arrangements were of much less importance.' In Germany, `when consulted, the industrial association, Deutscher Industrie-und Handelstag was even more insistent that any division between convertible and inconvertible currencies within EPU was a threat to German exports. Anything, they argued, which broke up the EPU would hold back the rapidly growing exports to EPU members who would no longer be able to pay for them with the same ease.
Milward concluded that `British policy was not only based on a complete misunderstanding of the strength of the common interest that bound the continental EPU members together, it was also a serious misjudgment of the United Kingdom's own economic strength.' `The true constraints of interdependence with Western Europe, the extent to which the future growth of British manufacturing did depend on continental Europe, were not accepted.'
British and German manufacturing in the post-war world
Milward asserted that `the root cause of British commercial failure was the failure of British manufacturing.' First, they made the mistake of marginalizing the European market and focusing on the Commonwealth: the `failure of British producers to change the pre-war pattern was that as with cars, they saw Western Europe as a subsidiary market.' This `British reluctance to compete in Europe in the long run only helped the spread of German manufactured exports outside Europe.'
Second, they failed to compete effectively with other foreign exporters: `In spite of eight years of government subsidies, a large government market, and freedom from German competition, they argued their complete inability to compete on equal terms.' The chairman of the British economic planning committee even remarked, `They [British manufacturers] ought to be told to concentrate on building up this competitive position and not to rely upon the elimination of competition by a perpetuation of control. It strikes me as defensive and indeed defeatist state of mind.'
By examining the auto industry, Milward found that `the `stop-go' effects of credit policy on the domestic market likewise could have been counteracted by increasing exports, but at the crucial period, 1955-6, exports actually fell. The problems of the British car industry were of its own making, an inability to compete in foreign markets.' `When export markets had been there for the taking British manufacturing had not expanded sufficiently to take them. In conclusion,
`European states were reborn as puny weaklings into the post-war world. They developed particular bundles of domestic policies to satisfy a coalition of political interests. To support those policies, they had available an inherited international order which had accepted to a varying degree the principles of interdependence. Some of the domestic policies which they chose could be advanced through this interdependent economic order. Others could not and required something different, integration. The close similarity between the sets of domestic policies chosen by Western European countries meant that integration was a path which could be chosen with reasonable hopes of success on several occasions.'
`To succeed, every step in the creation of the Community had always to be at the intersection of two tensions; the advancement of national policies had to be combined with a guarantee that Germany could be safely contained politically within the framework. Only when both objectives could be simultaneously achieved were countries ready to abandon elements of national sovereignty.'
`The states will make further surrenders of sovereignty if, but only if, they have to in the attempt to survive. Appealing though the idea of a united Europe is, the strength of the European Community does not lie in that abstract appeal.' `It lies in the weakness of the nation-state. The European rescue of the nation-state marked some limits of the state's capacity to satisfy by its own powers and within its own frontiers the demands of its citizens.'
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Understanding Stalin to discern his successors
, June 7, 2010
Service `investigated not only what Stalin did but also why he did it and how he was allowed to do it' and acknowledged that he ran the risk of humanizing Stalin. Therefore, Stalin is `examined simultaneously as leader, administrator, theorist, writer, comrade, husband and father' and `as a psychological type, also needs to be considered - and his habits of daily life as well as the large scale of his political maneuvers and statesmanship enter the account.' `The lesson to be learned from studying several of the twentieth century's most murderous politicians is that it is wrong to depict them as beings wholly incomparable to ourselves.` `Not only is it wrong; it is also dangerous. If the likes of Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse-tung and Pol Pot are represented as having been `animals', `monsters' or `killing machines', we shall never be able to discern their successors.' `Most men and women of his time, however, underestimated Stalin. It is the task of the historian to examine his complexities and suggest how better to understand his life and times.'
Georgian patriotism influenced Stalin's position on the national question. Early on, `he wished a distinct Marxist party to be formed in Georgia and demanded a Georgian territorial demarcation in the party.' `Stalin too wished to be regarded as an internationalist; he also aimed to be taken seriously in Russian socialist politics. But he continued to urge the party to promote the interests of the non-Russians under a future socialist administration.' Stalin followed the position of most Georgian Marxists who `believed that encouragement of a national consciousness would enhance political development and, ultimately, the dissemination of socialist ideas.' Stalin was the first to introduce the national question in Pravda: `he demanded linguistic equality for the non-Russian nations. He called for regional self-rule.'
`Stalin adhered to the official Bolshevik position that administrative autonomy should be given to non-Russians in areas where they lived in concentration. Thus the Bolsheviks hoped to maintain a centralized state while acceding to national and ethnic aspirations.' `In order to be considered a nation, the Georgians had to share not only their `psychic' background and territory but also their economic life.' `Stalin stressed that nationhood was a contingent phenomenon. It would consequently be senseless for Marxists of any nation to identify themselves permanently with that particular nation.' Thus, the `young poet who had called on fellow Georgians to `make renowned our Motherland by study' had vanished. In his place there was an internationalist struggling for the cause of the proletariat of all nations.'
`The Bolsheviks were trying to de-imperialize an empire without allowing its disintegration into separate nation-states and the Politburo bent over backwards to be seen to enhance conditions for non-Russians.' For Stalin, a multi-national state was necessary for the elevation of `backward nations and nationalities into the general channel of a higher culture.' `Since Marxism and the National Question in 1913, his axiom had been that peoples without a vigorous press and literature should not be described as nations. His premise was that such peoples should be brought to a higher cultural level by being associated with adjacent sophisticated nations.' `Stalin's analysis of contemporary Georgia anticipated the bringing together of Russians and Georgians in harmony within the same multinational state. Evidently he assumed that the Russian Empire, when revolution at last overthrew the Romanovs, should not be broken up into separate states. Even Russian Poland should in Stalin's opinion s stay with Russia.'
Consequently, `Stalin wished to expand the RSFSR over the entire territory held by Soviet republics and to provide Ukraine, Belorussia and the Transcaucasus with the same status as existing `autonomous republics' of the RSFSR such as the Bashkirian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. He regarded Lenin's demand for a formal federal structure as having the potential to undermine the whole state order.'
At the formation of RSFSR, Stalin withheld a Russian communist party while other peoples had their own. After Stalin had secured his power, `patriotism was making its way back on the list of official priorities.' `While society was being split asunder by policy initiatives from the late 1920s, Stalin recognized that some cement was needed to keep the people of the USSR together.' `It suited him to put the Russian people on an even higher pedestal of official esteem than before the war. Intuitively, it would seem, he understood that he needed to grant legitimacy to a national patriotism less qualified by Marxism-Leninism.' In one incident that demonstrates Stalin's desire to root Russianness in the territory of the RSFSR, Stalin claimed that `the Russian national language' can be traced to the provinces of Kursk and Orel'
It demonstrates Stalin's desire to root Russianness in the territory of the RSFSR. 565
Nevertheless Stalin did not want them turning into nationalists. He still feared the Russians. Consequently while other peoples had their own communist parties, he withheld this from the RSFSR
Service reasoned that Stalin owed his political ascendance to connecting ideologically with the party committee members. `His idea about `socialism in one country, taken separately' was poor Leninism; but it struck a chord with many party committee members who disliked Trotski's insistence that the October Revolution would wither and die unless socialist seizures of power took place in other powerful countries on the European continent In line with official party policy, he made appointments to party posts on the basis of demonstrable allegiance to Bolshevism before 1917. The point is that this configuration of tendencies in ideology and policy had growing appeal for party leader in Moscow and the provinces. Stalin did not rise to supreme power exclusively by means of the levers of bureaucratic manipulation. Certainly he had an advantage inasmuch as he could replace local party secretaries with persons of his choosing. It is also true that the regime in the party allowed him to control debates in the Central and at Party Congresses. But such assets would have been useless to him if he had not been able to convince the Central Committee and the Party Congress that he was a suitable politician for them to follow. Not only as an administrator but also as a leader - in thought and action - he seemed to fit these requirements better than anyone else.'
Hence, `the notion that he owed his survival to his antics as a trapeze artist is wrong. What saved him was the safety net provided by provisional allies Zinoviev and Kamenev and Trotski's failure to attack.' Furthermore, each of Stalin's rivals expected to run his administrative hierarchy without interference from the others and could get on with their individual campaigns to succeed Lenin.' Therefore, the issue of whether Trotski and Zinoviev should have been more enthusiastic participants in the Orgburo probably made little differences.
Stalin proved to be a shrewd politician but certainly not without flaws and was barely saved from his biggest blunder reconciling with Nazi Germany.
- Finnish Independence
`Lenin and Stalin encouraged the Finns to outright independence.' `This was a policy without parallel in history. A former imperial power was insisting that one of its dependencies, whether it liked it or not, should break away from its control.' `The motives of Lenin and Stalin were less indulgent than they seemed. Both felt that the Finnish Marxists would stand an excellent chance of achieving dominance in an independent Finland. This would enable the Bolsheviks and their comrades in Finland to resume close operational ties and, eventually, to re-include Finland in the multinational state governed from Petrograd. There was a further aspect to Sovnarkom's policy. This was the calculation that a single act of secession from the former Russian Empire would constitute wonderful propaganda in favor of socialist revolution elsewhere, especially in eastern and east-central Europe.'
- Invasion of Poland
Stalin did not agree with Lenin's decision to invade Poland. `Stalin's objections were not confined to his chronic skepticism about European socialist revolution and his concern about Wrangel. He doubted that the Red Army was adequately coordinated and organized.' Stalin was correct in his assessment. `The secret project for the `Sovietization of Poland' had been disastrous. The Red Army, instead of being greeted by Polish workers and peasants, had been repulsed by a `patriotic upsurge.'
- Nazi-Soviet Pact
`If ever there was proof that Stalin was willing to take immense risks, the Nazi-Soviet agreement provided it.' `The reconciliation with Germany was his personal decision after consultation with Molotov.' Stalin `had been taking a massive gamble with his country's security. Cautious in so many ways, Stalin trusted in his ability to read the runes of Hitler's intentions without discussing the evidence with anyone else.'
- Spreading Communism
Stalin's demand of absolute obedience also added difficulties to communist parties abroad. `Stalin instructed the Executive Committee of the Comintern to order the German Communist Party to treat the social-democrats rather than Hitler's NSDAP as the main enemy. Hegemony over the political left was to be given precedence over struggling against Nazism.' During the Spanish Civil War, `distrust on the political left grew rapidly as members of the POUM, loyal to Trotski's ideas, where rounded up. The political tensions on the left were not concocted out of nothing by Stalin. But he made them murderously worse than they need have been.'
Stalin's shrewd calculation was a factor in withholding aid to the Warsaw Uprising on 1 Aug. 1944. `His prevention of assistance to Warsaw involved a calculated decision about Poland's future. The more insurgents were wiped out by the Germans, the nearer he would come to his objective. Stalin aspired to rule Poland through is communist stooges.'
`The coalition which Stalin formed with the United kingdom and the USA in the Second World War had from the start been characterised by strain and suspicion.' `The Ministry of External Affairs in Moscow explored whether funds really would be released to the USSR for its post-war recovery. The answer was that the Americans made open markets the condition for aid. As Truman and Marshall knew, there was never any chance that Stalin and his associates would accept such restrictions. The Marshall Plan was tied to the geopolitical objectives of the USA and these included the drastic reduction of the USSR's power in Europe.` `The question arises as to who or what was to blame for the descent into the Cold War. President Truman played his part. His language was hostile to the USSR and communism. The Marshall Plan in particular was framed in such a way as to make it well nigh inconceivable that Stalin would not take offence.'
`Although his strategy remained the avoidance of war with the USA, he did not mind strategy remained the avoidance of war with the USA, he did not mind making things awkward for the Americans wherever he could.' `Elsewhere in eastern Europe there was the silence of the political graveyard; but the People's Democracies were far from quiet below the surface: resentment of the communist seizure of power in these countries was deep, and only the threat of unconditional repression kept order for Stalin.'
`Stalin wanted to build up support for communist parties in eastern and east-central Europe. The Comintern's dissolution was a basic precondition. It was vital for them and him to pretend that they were not Moscow's stooges.' `Cominform was not the Comintern reborn; but it embraced communist parties in countries where the threat to the desires of the Western Allies was acute. The purpose of the Cominform Conference was to respond to the challenge thrown down by the Marshall Plan.'
`Imperfect though democracy is everywhere, it usually involves the practical provision of legal and peaceful electoral procedures. Such provision occurred nowhere in eastern Europe.' `Stalin had acquired the regional buffer zone he craved, but only at the price of turning those countries into a region of constant repressed hostility to his purposes. His political victory in 1945-8 was bound in the end to prove a Pyrrhic one.'
Personality and Rule
`Stalin was psychologically complex. But he was impulsive. When his pride was offended, he lost his composure. In his early years, he offered his own resignation rather than feel humiliated. Yet, `even by offering his resignation, he was taking a huge risk. He was gambling on his exhibition of humility inducing the Central Committee, which included some of his friends, to refuse his request. He needed to put his enemies in the wrong.' But, such ploy worked in the struggle with Zinovev and Kamenev.
Stalin was also very cunning and held himself to a much lower standard than he has for others. `On 10 July after being prodded by Zhukov among others, Stalin allowed himself to be anointed Supreme Commander. Stalin had wanted to avoid too close an association with the catastrophe at the front. If the defeats continued, he would make other heads roll. .. Was this yet another sign that he had learned from biographies of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, that real power mattered more than titles? He forgave himself but not others; and when he made a mistake, it was others who got the blame.'
His rule can be best characterized by divide and conquer. `Stalin expected to rule through unofficial channels; he knew that disruption of institutional regularity helped to prolong his personal despotism'. `Although continuity of administrative leadership was desirable in theory, Stalin's higher demand was his inviolable personal power.` `Regarding the Council of Ministers, the increasing complexity of the economy required specialist knowledge lacking in the security agencies. One way was to give way to the ministerial lobby and put a stop to the party's interference. This orientation was advocated by Georgi Malenkov. The other solution was to extend and strengthen the powers of the part advocates by Andrei Zhdanov.` `His state could do without neither government nor party; and even when he gave preference to one of them over the other, he omitted to make the choice a definitive one. The institutional tension worked to his personal advantage. By locking the two bodies in rivalry, he strengthened his position as arbiter. But this in turn meant that he had to settle for a lower level of administrative efficiency that he would otherwise have liked.'
`All institutions were in permanent contest with each other at a level vastly lower than Stalin's imperial throne. Patronage was normalized as a political phenomenon.' `Stalin's system of command achieved immediate subjugation at the expense of a general consensus. The Soviet Union was a totalitarian state, but this did not mean that it was characterized by perfect central control.' `Far from it. The more Stalin concentrated in his own hands power over specific areas of politics, the greater the lack of compliance he encountered in others. His USSR was a mixture of exceptional orderliness and exceptional disorderliness.' `Yet he was also much more complex than is widely supposed. As a politician, he knew how to present himself selectively to diverse groups. He was a real leader. He was also motivated by the lust for power as well as by ideas. He was in his own way an intellectual, and his level of literary and editorial craft was impressive. Stalin was not a certifiable psychotic and never behaved in such a way as to be incapable of carrying out his public duties.' `Stalin's emergence from exile and obscurity on to a worldwide stage of power, fame and impact would have been impossible if his party had not made the October Revolution and bolted together the institutional, procedural and doctrinal scaffolding which he was to exploit. Such individuals, when they have appeared, have usually displayed congenial `ordinary' features even while carrying out acts of unspeakable abusiveness. History seldom gives unambiguous lessons, but this is one of them.'
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Violating the principle of proportionality between ends and means
, June 7, 2010
Organized into four parts, Outbreak, Escalation, Outcome and Legacy, Stevenson's Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy traced glimpses of humanity throughout the war from the foolhardiness of the military command, compassion among the soldiers, to machinations of the politicians.
`Emperor Franz Joseph and his advisors believed they faced an intolerable problem for which peaceful remedies were exhausted and came to see the war as the last chance to force internal reform. 12 Wilhelm's presence grievously undermined European stability.' `Wilhelm and Bethmann reasoned that an Austro Serb conflict was likely to stay localized. But they accepted squarely the prospect of a European conflagration.' `Crucial to the escalation process was the Russian decision not only to stand by Serbia but also to start the militarization of the crisis.'
In the Battle of Tannenberg, Stevenson asserted that the decision to send `two extra corps to counter Russian invasion of East Prussia stemmed less form anxiety than from over-confidence.' For this misjudgment, Moltke perhaps made a big difference in the battle of the Marne. The war between the invading Austrians and defending Serbs could be best described as `determined defenders and a hail of munitions defeated a hasty attack plan executed with inadequate forces.' In the struggle for Flanders, `the first battle of Ypres was remembered for the destruction of the old BEF; in Germany, for the Kindermord, or `massacre of the innocents', i.e. the student volunteers, (many of them now lie in Langemarck cemetery). The Christmas Truce on Christmas morning 1914 was a poignant reminder of the bond of humanity shared among the combatants. ` British and German soldiers met in no man's land, chatted, smoked, played football, posed for photographs and buried their dead... The episode seems to encapsulate the lack of rancor between many front-line soldiers.'
The naval stalemate was attributed to Germans' self-restraint enabling a successful execution of British strategy of a `distant blockade, with warships at Scapa and Dover available to support interception of merchant ships in the North Sea and the Channel.' Stevenson posited that `if the Germans had attacked the BEF troopships the Grand Fleet would have been too remote to forestall them' since `Scapa Flow was so far from the Channel that it was a curious choice of location for the most powerful British warships.' Wilhelm's reaffirmed that the fleet must be protected as a `political instrument', and should not seek battle outside the German Bight.'
`In this middle period of the war between late 1914 and the next major turning point in spring 1917, its key features were escalation and stalemate, both sides applying rising levels of violence yet failing to terminate the impasse.' `The escalation had been driven by the strategic impasse and the determination of both sides' leaders to intensify their efforts rather than negotiate for less than victory.'
With the exception of the US, Turkey's entry into the war `had more impact than any other new belligerent on the overall course of the conflict.' `Turkey's war down to 1917 can be divided into three phases: initial Ottoman assaults against the British and Russians and their own Armenian citizens; unsuccessful failed Allied offensives at the Dardanelles and in Mesopotamia; and finally more successful Allied advances in the Caucasus and against Bagdad that showed Turkish resistance was failing.' `Yet although the Turkish government claimed to be retaliating against disloyalty and preparations for insurrection, the Ottoman Armenians appear to have been guilty of neither until the action against them began.' The sacrifice at Anzac Cove well remembered by Austrailian and New Zealand and the overall failure of Gallipoli campaign terminated Churchill's dream of a more promising alternative to the impasse on the Western Front.
In this period, war aims crystallized and turned peace feelers into a dialogue of the deaf. `Central Powers saw peace feelers primarily as a means of splitting their enemies, while the Allies refused to be split.' Germany was reluctant to `undertake massive annexations of unwilling subjects, preferring to rely on indirect safeguards through military occupation and through economic provisions, ,'such as the plan for Mittleeuropa . `Public and explicit commitment promising a future independent Polish kingdom could not be retracted, and created yet another obstacle to a Russo-German separate peace.' On the Allied side, the Pact of London of September 1914 bounded Russia, Britain and France to make no separate peace and the `Chantilly agreements provided stronger inter-Allied liaison' and coordinated offensives. `Battle of the Loos marked a transitional stage towards the more wholehearted British commitment to a Western Front offensive strategy in 1916.'
Military leaders also came around to the idea of a war of attrition. After failing the objectives of the Verdun offensive and mirroring the evolution of strategic thinking on the Allied side, Falkenhayn expected to prevail through an offensive version of attrition administered through massive quantities of heavy artillery and high explosive shells.' Therefore, `given the failure to capture the whole of the Verdun simply inflicting casualty became OHLs primary rationale for the campaign and he intended less to take territory than to mete out casualties until France could stand no more.'
The economic consequence of the conflict was `forgoing investment income in the future, thus compromising the Allies' long-term prospects in order to met short-term needs.' `Even with the excess profits duty, `tax revenues rose little in real terms until 1916/17 and expenditure left them far behind. European treasuries were caught between untrammeled military outgoings and the political imperative of not reviving peacetime controversies through tax increases.' `Hundreds of thousands of institutions and private citizens in the belligerents and the neutrals lent to governments whose outgoings were racing ahead of income and whose repayment capacity would be questionable even if they won. The European middle classes proved willing to gamble with their own prosperity as well as with their children's lives.'
Russia was `a victim of its success as industrial output grew rapidly, and many of the army's shortages were overcome. But success was achieved only on an unsustainable basis of generous subsidies and contracts for Russian manufacturing.' The more serious upshot `was dislocation the civilian economy and a crisis in urban food supply.' `Rising prices, worsening quality and an outright lack of basic commodities undermined patriotism and unity.'
Wilson's ambition produced a less than dispassionate American diplomatic position. British decision to erode ` the status of conditional contraband rendering Declaration of London in 1909 meaningless' and `subverted the framework of law altogether.' Scheer's unrestricted submarine warfare gained currency as Germany's rightful retaliations. `America's credibility arising from inaction would jeopardize Wilson's ambitions to mediate. He Attached greater urgency to Germany's threat to American lives than he did to Britain's to American property, even if his indifference to the starvation of German civilians compromised his impartiality from Berlin's perspective. Bryan saw this point and wanted Wilson to protest against both U-boats and blockade.'
`Had the U-boats continued to follow cruiser rules their rapidly growing numbers would have inflicted not much smaller losses... As in 1914, Berlin forced the issue and staked all on such a gamble, rather than pause in the hope that the situation would improve. The parallels matter, for it was precisely its willingness to opt for such expedients that made imperial Germany such a menace to its neighbours and ultimately caused its downfall.'
February Revolution and American intervention, Spring 1917. In Russia, `disaffection of the masses as represented by industrial workers and peasant soldiers.' `The removal of the Romanov dynasty, intended to help contain the revolution, probably did more than anything else to convince the peasantry that they could challenge the social order with impunity. By dismantling the structure of repression, the new authorities hoped to neutralize the risk of counter-revolution, but they left themselves exposed to greater radicalization.' `The`Kerensky offensive' was arguably the most disastrous. It undermined the Provisional Government and prepared the way for Bolshevism.' `Zimmermann Telegram, however, made a German security threat seem palpable not only in the east but also in the south-west and west.' `American leaders believed their contribution to defeating Germany would shape their influence at the peace conference.'
`At times doing something may be worse than doing nothing.' `Third Ypres was a wasteful failure 31 July nine British divisions BEF's tactical improvements could still not overwhelm the defense.' `Germans became victims of their success.' `Trotsky's no war, no peace' gambit opened the way for (Bad Homburg Crown Council) the advance to compel the Bolsheviks to sign the peace.' `Half a million troops tied down in the occupation. The Russian quagmire sucked in hundreds of thousands of Austro-German troops who might have fought elsewhere.' Worse though was Spring Offensive in spring 1918 along the Western Front, `by wagering all on the offensive option, Ludendorff had sacrificed the defensive one, as now became all too evident.'
`The Fourteen points would leave the Central Powers largely intact, obliged to `restore' invaded territories but not otherwise suffering financial penalties or even being disarmed.' `Alsace-Lorraine remained a fundamental point of issue between France and Germany, as did Belgium between Germany and Britain.' `The peace feelers owed their failure not only to continuing military stalemate but also to the survival of a pro-war consensus in the main belligerents and the new factor of American intervention.'
On political development, by inaction and adherence to the military leaders, Wilhelm inexorably abandoned his claim to rule as the military fortunes took a turn for the worst. `Bethamnn had resolved to resign unless he could introduce political reform at once. By backing his chancellor, Wilhelm would have opted for the path of peace negotiations and controlled democratization that Germany embarked on from a much less favourable starting point in October 1918.' `The power of emperor and chancellor ebbed away.' `Paul von Hintze Foreign minister Germany the best way to muffle the political aftershock that followed defeat would be a stage-managed democratization: a `revolution from above' to avert one from below.'
`German uprising originated from a mutiny in the fleet, provoked by secret plans for a naval offensive, or Flottenvorstoss, against Britain.' `Once more a misjudged military initiative made Germany's situation worse.' `In contrast to Russia, sailors and solider spearheaded the uprising.' `The revolution was a consequence, not a cause, of Germany's defeat, and the SPD leaders did their best to moderate it. It is also true, however, that if Ludendorff had kept his nerve German resistance could have been prolonged until early 1919, although probably not much longer. His actions determined the manner rather than the fact of Allied victory.'
By attaching to Germany, Austria-Hungary forced Germany `the Allies stepped up their support for the Habsburg nationalists as the only reaming card to play.' `National separatism rather than socialist insurrection that brought the Habsburgs down.' `Dual Monarchy found itself trapped, unable to break with the German alliance, yet by that same alliance antagonizing all but its German and Magyar subjects, whose leaders would rather see the empire liquidated than share power equally with the other nationalities.' The Habsburg `army's demise made it impossible for Karl to hold his empire together by force even if he had wanted to.' `Radicalization of the nationalist movements within Austria-Hungary final stage of its disintegration accomplished by domestic insurgent movements that the authorities were unwilling and unable to suppress.' `Standard pattern was therefore for power to pass to committees of the local nationalist parties, accompanied by patriotic and anti-Habsburg demonstrations but not by widespread violence or disorder.'
`No allied government revised its war aims as a consequence or felt bound by the American programme, the British and French continuing to stand by the Turkish partition agreements and the Italians by the London Treaty.' `Vienna still refused to accommodate both Italy's claims on Austria-Hungary or France's on Germany.' `In fact Czernin and Karl had probably decided to gamble on the outcome of the German spring offensive as the best hope of emerging from the war intact.'
`Fatherland Party, led by Tirpitz and by Wolfgang Kapp was a direct response to the peace resolution: it opposed any domestic reform until after the war, and it pressed for a `Hindenburg victory' and big annexations. Authoritarian and anti-Semitic, it has rightly been seen as a precursor of National Socialism.' For the British Empire, `war undoubtedly accelerated longer-term processes of decentralization and devolution.' 373
`The real tragedy of the inter-war years was that it neither accommodated a lasting reconciliation with the new republican regime in Germany or ensured that it remained militarily harmless the more fundamental problem was their disunity.' `Disarmament and the Rhineland occupation made it impossible for the Germans to fight another war. The treaty could have stopped another bloodbath if it had been upheld.'
`Clemenceau's key objective was to keep in being the wartime alliance' but the British thought otherwise. `Not only were the French seen as colonial rivals but in Europe too, much of the British delegation from Lloyd George downwards suspected them of imperialist ambitions that would undermine a stable peace and might threaten Britain directly. These considerations set Britain against much of the French territorial and security programme.' The result was the `loss of guarantee to France - Lloyd George used American non-ratification of the guarantee as a pretext to pull Britain out of the arrangement as ell leaving Paris high and dry.' `The lesson the French drew from the Ruhr crisis however, was that unilateral action would not succeed, and they later stuck to this principle even when faced with more radical challenges. Faced with non-compliance the Allies would compromise.'
`The creation of Iraq which had never formed an administrative unit under the Ottomans and which comprised an unstable combination of Kurds in the north with Sunni and Shia Muslims in the center and south and by facilitating Zionist objectives, it set off repercussions that would last for decades.'
`On balance, the spread of communism outside Russia weakened the rest of the left, first by strengthening the reactionary right and governments' willingness to tolerate extra-constitutional procedures and second, by dividing the progressive camps.'
`On the connections between the war and the depression and between the depression and Nazism, the war was partly responsible for the over-capacity in primary producing countries that left them vulnerable when the American and Western European markets contracted and capital outflows dried up. Second, the war was the source of the reparations controversy and it was partly in order to alleviate this that the US authorities had encouraged the 1924 loan that began the outflow of American money to Germany. Third, it contributed to the 1931 financial crisis.' `In short, the war was essential to the Nazi takeover not only through its contribution to the economic crisis but also through its role in reawakening German nationalism as the memory of 1914-18 was re-evaluated.'
`The rulers of Austria-Hungary and Germany did not predetermine before 1914 their decision to resort to force, but in the July-August crisis they made a decision to start a Balkan war and to accept the risk that it would escalate into a European one.` `Yet both submarine decision and the `Michael' attack (part of Ludendorff Offensives) were responses to the Allies' slow strategic squeeze.' `Now that decades of historical research have stripped away the encrustations of hindsight and better enabled us to see the struggle as it appeared to the contemporaries who waged it, the governments seem more purposive, the armed forces more adaptive and the ordinary soldiers and civilians more willing and informed participants than once was thought.' `Intrinsic to all military undertakings, however legitimate their motives, is the risk that they will violate the principle of proportionality between ends and means.'
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Democratic centrism contributes to short-term stabilization and the ultimate downfall of the GDR
, June 6, 2010
Mary Fulbrook's central thesis in the People's State is the `notion of participatory dictatorship,' which `emphasized the extent to which `democratic centralism', as practiced in the GDR, did actually involved very widespread participation of large numbers of people... people themselves were at one and the same time both constrained and affected by, and yet also actively and often voluntarily carried, the ever changing social and political system of the GDR.' The state was `sensitive to popular opinion on domestic social-policy issues, which contributed to the short-term stabilization and the ultimate downfall of the GDR... there was an institutionalization and routinisation of a `grumbling culture' that led people not only to expect, but even to demand delivery from the state.' The result was `the sheer extent of broad agreement between sections of the SED leadership and significant groups among the wider population over general aims and goals.' The outcome was that the `desired socialist personalities' the individuals whose lives were supposed to be devoted to the collective enterprise of building socialism, did not emerge. Quite the opposite in fact, over time, one can observe a complex set of processes that may roughly be subsumed under the concept of emergent individualism, or an enhanced focus on the fulfillment of individual goals. These mutual trends can be observed, in one way or another, in virtually every area of society.'
After World War II, Nazi Germany was divided into two new German states, a pro-American West Germany and a pro-Soviet East Germany called the German Democratic Republic, GDR. With Moscow's backing, the Socialist Union Party of Germany, SED, dominated East German politics - this `emergence and successful reproduction over four decades of the new power elite, successfully ousting previously privileged classes, marked a very deep break indeed in German social history.' `Ultimate power remained with the center (Erich Mielke, the Stasi chief; Gunter Mittag: economic decision making; Erich Honecker , the head of state) and indeed even at the center, in Berlin with Mittag and Honecker.' Following an official policy to compete with the West, SED leaders pursued an expensive social policy which provided `state subventions for cheap transport, housing, basic foodstuffs, children's clothing, and an extensive system of maternity benefits, health care, pre-school care and after-school care.' Under his `Unity of Economic and Social Policy,' Honecker pushed for an expansion of vacation days and developed `consumer socialism.' Fulbrook asserted that `in the longer term, the effective lack of any genuine `unity' between Honecker's social and economic policies (and indeed the incapacity of the latter to provide any kind of foundation for the former) was ultimately highly counterproductive - one of the most important factors in the GDR's ultimate demise.'
`The SED's own policies - particularly in the Honecker era - reinforced a fixation on Western goods and conceptions of consumer society. While SED social policies sought to ensure a minimum standard of living for all in terms of food, transport and housing, the official determination to prove superiority over the West, on the West's own materialistic terms, simultaneously served to undermine the egalitarian ideals of socialism. `Ultimately, expensive social policies and state subventions simply could not be sustained in a period of growing debts and economic crisis.' For example, in housing, `distinctive about the GDR, in contrast to most contemporary Western societies, was the sheer extent to which the state took responsibility for housing...in the GDR it was increasingly the state that stood to take the blame for one's housing problems.'
Nonetheless, `socialist new towns' [e.g. Furstenberg] produced built environments in which a new socialist lifestyle could be realized...living through and within a network of GDR social institutions, in which no area of life was not in some way coloured and informed by state policy... while this could be disagreeable, many people - particularly those coming from a harsh background of poverty, war and uprootedness- genuinely had positive experiences to report.' Fulbrook's research showed that the `positive sides of the new community continued to outweigh negative aspects: older residents interviewed in 2004 recalled what they saw as excellent childcare and educational provision, social and cultural facilities that were genuinely for the people and a real sense of community spirit. a sense of community more than made up for what they saw as far less significant disadvantages of pre-1989 life.' Another piece of supporting evidence was the `differential regional distribution of `social peace' and discontent' - `renowned demonstrations in Dresden, Schwerin and elsewhere in 1989' compared to the relative lack of political activity in the autumn of 1989 in other areas, such as Cottbus and Eisenhuttenstadt.'
According to Fulbrook, `holidays, even when taken with the family, were not for most people the privately organized affairs characteristic of Western capitalist societies: East Germans were increasingly reliant on holidays and camps organized by state institutions.' Figures in 1961 statistics indicated 80,000 children participated in camps for Young Pioneers; 750,000 workers took holidays sponsored by their workplace; and about 1,500,000 young people spent their holidays as part of locally organized activities such as swimming, walking and youth camps. In spite of the government's best of intentions, the system was overstretched and under-funded; consequently, `there were never enough holiday places for those who wanted them, at the times that they wanted, or of a quality with which they were satisfied.' The problems associated with state-run destinations did not stop there. Even for those who managed to secure a location for their holidays, inadequate infrastructure coupled with on-site price-gouging elicited the ire of many workers.
`Health care of the citizens of the GDR was characterized by a curious combination of economically constrained compassion on the one hand, and callous disregard for some of the human consequences of economic policies on the other.' `In many capitalist societies principles of collective provision or a variety of private insurance schemes seek to even out the horrendous inequalities of purely individualistic health chances based on personal ability to pay. ` `In the GDR, the vision of equality for all was rudely tempered by prioritization of politically committed and productive citizens.' `What prevented the humanitarian goals of the GDR health service from being fully realized were the same in principle - though not in degree and character - as those in any Western welfare state: insufficient financial means n a situation of rising costs, demands and expectations.' In conclusion, `in the GDR, the rationing system was essentially political. This is of course, substantively different from the combination of NHS and private health care system in the UK (where those who can pay can jump the queue for non-urgent medical treatment), or the American insurance-based system (where family members may begin to despair if an ailing relative lasts beyond what the insurance will cover) but it s a moot point whether it is more or less unfair in principle. Neither type of system can boast total equality, total and free availability of treatment at the time of need.'
There were `two main priorities underlying SED policies with respect to women: first, the undoubted economic need for women's labor and secondly, a principled belief in the need for the `emancipation' of women arising from the Marxist philosophical tradition.' `Most policies were, as before, designed primarily to achieve the compatibility of motherhood, employment and contribution to the construction of socialism, rather than being informed by Western liberal notions of `emancipation' of women in the sense of individuals seeking `self fulfillment'.' `Many women in interviews carried out after 1989 remembered their former independence and social lives around the factory rather nostalgically...in the later 70s and `80s, a whole set of new work-related institutions - childcare facilities, a medical center with seven doctors, kitchens, a social center, shopping facilities, even a hairdresser, as well as improved transport services -eased the pressures of combining motherhood and employment.'
`Real fissures ran, no so much between `regime' and `people', but rather within the very large complex of Party and state functionaries, only a small fraction of whom can be held to be genuinely members of an elite or `ruling class.' `It was possible both to have participated in the structures of power, and still not have been part of the ruling elite. .. to have occupied a position that was simultaneously located in `state' and `society': in the extended `societal state', a system sustained through myriad micro-relationships of extended power and authority, the dichotomy between `state' and `society' simply does not hold up; the battle lines are more complex and difficult to delineate.' `Higher pensions were the outcome of political decisions for preferential treatment of specific groups, irrespective of the individual's actual social class position.'
Using Eingaben or `citizen's petitions,' GDR controlled participation in public debate: well-orchestrated `discussions' of particular policy - useful means of tapping popular opinion. `In general, it seems that by the spring of 1968 in the GDR, most people were capable of living a double-track life: on the one hand perfectly aware of the outer constraints on their freedom, on the other hand prepared to participate in channeled discussions about the detail of domestic policies and arrangements that would affect their everyday lives. This is a form of `coming to terms with the present.' `Many East Germans abstained from explicitly challenging the existence, character, and continuity of the GDR as a separate state - about which they rightly felt they could do very little - and concentrated rather on making their voices heard with respect to those issues where they could hope to effect changes in a desired direction; at least from mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, citizens were involved, in however controlled and circumscribed a fashion, in officially orchestrated discussions of domestic policy.' `The experience of being able to speak one's mind, even if what was said was subsequently ignored by the powers that be, was crucial to the sense of being an active participant in shaping one's future. This is why so many East Germans can see no dissonance between their critiques of the GDR at the time of its fall and their capacity to live within its boundaries and make a critical, eve active and positive, contribution to its development in earlier years.'
`The vast majority of East Germans were caught up in a system in which they had to participate; and by virtue of their participation, they were themselves changed. It was thus, in the end, a dictatorship sustained by the actions and interactions of the vast majority of the population.' `It is a false dichotomy to suggest that states are based either on coercion, or on consent... there were varying mixtures at different times and for different people in different areas of their lives.' `It was because of the frustrations building up within this system, ever more visible with the progressive collapse of the economy in the 1980s, that so many were willing to go out on the streets to demonstrate and to demand more dialogue in the changing circumstances of autumn 1989.' `The experience of a degree of freedom, constructive participation in, and facilitation by, the socialist project, was authentically possible at the very same time as the knowledge of outer political constraints.'
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Stalinism was the Highest Form of Marxist-Leninism
, March 1, 2010
In the first sections, Gaddis delineated the division of the world. `As long as Stalin was running the Soviet Union a cold war was unavoidable,' his paranoia `transformed the government into a gargantuan extension of his own pathologically suspicious personality.' Deviating from Lenin's prediction of spontaneous revolutions in advanced industrial countries, Stalin `came to see the Soviet Union itself as the center from which socialism would spread and eventually defeat capitalism.' Consequently, `the effect was to switch from the principal instrument for advancing revolution from Marx's idea of a historically determined class struggle to a process of territorial acquisition Stalin could control.' Contrary to this `equation of security with territory,' the Western democracies understood security `to be a collective good, not a benefit denied to some in order to provide it to others.'
In Europe, `one empire arose, by invitation, the other by imposition.' The US abandoned isolationism because of the Pearl Harbor attack, which `created an atmosphere of vulnerability Americans had not known since the earliest days of the republic.' On national security, `Soviet Union by 1947 had become the most plausible source of threat.' Gaddis observed that `Franklin D. Roosevelt's most important foreign policy legacy may well have been to convince the nation that its security depended upon that of others elsewhere, not simply on whatever measures it might take on its own.' Hence, `the British, French, and other West Europeans came to feel that they had a stake in what Washington was doing, despite the fact that it amounted to their own incorporation within an American sphere of influence.' On the other hand, `where Western resistance was unlikely, as in Eastern Europe, Stalin would in time attempt to replicate the regime he had already established inside the Soviet Union.' Therefore, it was no surprise that `Soviet Union did not manage its empire particularly well.'
On Korea and Vietnam, Stalin demonstrated his opportunism in expanding Soviet influence: `It was a curious combination of simultaneous risk-taking and risk-avoidance, suggesting that Stalin was prepared both for a Sino-American war and an American occupation of the entire Korean peninsula.' First, `the Sino-Soviet Treaty of 1950 was what Mao wanted: it was in no way imposed on him, as the Soviet Union's alliances with its East European neighbors had been.' Second, `it had taken intense pressure from Stalin to push Mao into Korean intervention in 1950 with the prospect of an immediate North Korean collapse.' Stalin's death put an end of the Korean War. One rule established from the conflict was `that neither the United States nor the Soviet Union would confront the other directly or use all available force; each would seek instead to confine such confrontations within the theaters in which they had originated.' Capitalizing on `the new Chinese state's powerful sense of mission at once nationalist and ideological,' `Stalin specifically encouraged the Chinese to aid Ho Chi Minh.'
In the Middle East, however, Stalin `missed a considerable opportunity for winning friends among Israel's enemies in the Arab world' until after the US diplomatic blunders in Suez, western intervention in Lebanon and Jordan and the Eisenhower Doctrine. After the Suez Crisis, the failure of the Americans to work with Nasser opened the way for Soviet influence. The Eisenhower Doctrine did not take into account of a certain `Arab brand of neutralism, and traditional Arab reluctance to be committed.' Gaddis attributed the bouleversement squarely in Dulles' belief `in filling all power vacuums - even those left, in the Middle East, by the despised British and French.' By following such principles, Dulles `allowed the United States to inherit the enmities imperial powers normally attract when they seek too heavy-handedly to project their influence and deadened his own sensitivities to nationalism, thereby opening opportunities for the Soviet Union.'
Gaddis expounded on the effects of `romanticism residing within authoritarianism.' - `Stalin appears also to have hoped for an `invitation,' especially in Germany, perhaps elsewhere in Eastern Europe, possibly even in Japan. It never came.' First, `Stalin's economic policies caused Soviet presence in those regions came across as exploitative, and this generated resentment among the very people whose loyalty he had hoped to win.' Second, `the semi-sanctioned mass rapes took place precisely as Stalin was trying to win the support to the German people.' Gaddis explained that `in the absence of clear orders, falling back upon their own domestic standards of acceptable behavior. The rules of civil society implicit in democratic politics made the humanitarian treatment of defeated enemies seem natural to the Western allies.'
The case of Germany's division demonstrated the paradox of `Stalin's illusion that ideology sooner or later would override nationalism and bring all Germans, by their choice, into the socialist camp' and elements of control and dependence. His `March 1952 proposal for a 4-power conference to arrange free elections throughout Germany' though was not a `missed opportunity' for reunification. `The insistence on dependency shows up clearly in Stalin's attitude toward German reunification: he was for it only if Moscow could run the resulting state' since `only a Germany under Moscow's control could, with any reliability, ensure Moscow's Soviet Union's safety.' The proposal simply `represented a last fragile hope on Stalin's part that he could achieve this outcome by popular consent and without a war.'
One peculiar aspect of the exchanges between the two superpowers and their allies was that `imperializers have never simply acted upon the imperialized; the imperialized have also had a surprising amount of influence over the imperializers.' In the east, `Kim Il-sung exaggerated to both the Russians and the Chinese the degree to which each supported what he himself wanted to do.' Germany's influence was even more pronounced: `Once their country was divided, the Germans' weakness itself became a strength: by being on the verge of collapse - and, as time went on, by simply threatening to collapse - West and East Germans could raise the specter of a former enemy falling under the control of a future enemy anytime they wanted.' Once the Soviet committed to an East German state, the next best alternative to total control of the country, GDR's Ulbricht `maneuvered himself into a position of strength by being weak' as he sabotaged Soviet opposition to his policy of rapid socialization by inciting labor revolts culminating to the execution of Beria, Stalin's pretender.
On nuclear weapons and the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy era marked `a departure form Eisenhower's practice, which had been to substitute the fear of war for war-fighting strategies, thereby obviating the need for them' and ushered `an apparent stalemate - a tacit agreement to compete within the single arena in which the Soviet Union was still capable of putting up a respectable fight.' `Kennedy's refusal to compromise on Berlin as his advisers prepared the defense of Western outposts through its nuclear weapons' reversed Eisenhower's policy that `military superiority guaranteed neither national nor international security.' In spite of this, `Kennedy: repeatedly pushed for compromise: `We can't very well invade Cuba.' `Explicit assurance his brother Robert Kennedy gave Ambassador Dobrynin that the administration would soon remove the Turkish Jupiters and a pledge not to invade Cuba' effected a settlement that `was itself a compromise, not a clear-cut victory for either side; the long-term effect was not so much to humiliate the Soviet Union as to bolster its image as an equal to the United States in a Cold War that would continue for another three decades.' It also conveniently sidestepped the `gross deficiencies in the Soviet Union's ability to feed, clothe, and house its own people, or to manage its alliances, or to influence those beyond the reach of its own military control.'
Gaddis posited that `Stalinism was the highest form of Marxist-Leninism and the latter could not function without at least elements of the former.' First, `the Russians, coming out of an authoritarian tradition, knew of no way to deal with independent thinking other than to smother it.' This held true even during de-Stalinization when `Khrushchev appears to have considered only a top-down method' of managing reform and `in the all-important agricultural sector, his policies failed miserably because of his resistance to local experimentation.' In such logic, the Soviet system `survived only by balancing contradictions, and that resolving these might wreck it.' Therefore, `De-Stalinization severely weakened Khrushchev's authority over communism elsewhere,' and as the execution of Imre Nagy demonstrated, he `had to be ruthless to hold his alliance together.' Precisely because of the growing disparity between Lenin-Marxism and the west, `the briefest experiment with de-Stalinization had set off centrifugal tendencies in Eastern Europe that ended in bloodbath.'
The collapse of the Soviet Union demonstrated that `diversification of power did more to shape the course of the Cold War than did the balancing of power: Deficiencies in other kinds of power- economic, ideological, cultural, moral- caused USSR to lose its superpower status.' `Democracy proved superior to autocracy in maintaining coalitions.' Contrary to the Soviet methods, `Truman and Eisenhower handled NATO much as they did the Congress of the US: Americans saw little contradiction in pursing independence and integration simultaneously, because their own domestic system had long since achieved that most sustainable balance between these tendencies that the word had yet seen.' `Reviving Germany and Japan while transforming those countries into democracies along the way may have been the most successful of all United States initiatives during the Cold War, in that democratization proved to be such an effective method of stabilization.'
`The important difference between the two great Cold War coalitions, which is that one was resilient and the other brittle. NATO, was an organic alliance: it proved to be deeply rooted, in tune with its environment, capable of shedding branches and limbs when necessary without serious damage. But both the Warsaw Pact and the Sino-Soviet alliance seem today to have been inorganic, even crystalline, in character: they were impressive to look at and hard when touched, but under strain they shattered easily.'