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Jean Monnet pp 86-113 | Cite as

Jean Monnet, the United States and the French Economic Plan

  • Irwin M. Wall

Abstract

It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of Jean Monnet in the history of the postwar reconstruction of Western Europe. In many ways Monnet’s ideas shaped the structure of the economy of postwar Europe, and consequently, determined much of its political evolution as well. Monnet’s influence was not a reflection of any specific position he held. He was first, head of the French Supply Council, the economic purchasing mission that coordinated French imports from the United States to France under Lend-Lease. In January 1946 he became head of the Commissariat du Plan, a newly-created structure to oversee the rebuilding of the French economy, attached directly to the Prime Minister’s office. From that position he later went on to assume the presidency of the European Coal and Steel Community. During the actual work of constructing the European Common Market from 1955–7 he held no official position at all, rather leading a pressure group, the Action Committee for the United States of Europe. Monnet was neither politician nor technocrat, nor a charismatic leader of the masses.

Keywords

French Government American Negotiator Marshall Plan American Pressure Petty Bourgeoisie 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    See the discussion in Richard Kuisel, Capitalism and the State in Modern France (New York, 1981).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Phillippe Mioche, Le Plan Monnet: Genèse et Elaboration (Paris, 1985) 47–52.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Francois Bloch-Lainé et Jean Bouview, La France Restaurée 1944–54: Diologue sur les choix d’une modernisation (Paris, 1986) 76–89.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Alan Milward, The Reconstruction of Western Europe, 1945–51 (London, 1984) 38–62.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    See Thomas G. Paterson, Soviet-American Confrontation: Postwar Reconstruction and the Origins of the Cold War (Baltimore, 1973).Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    Michel Margairaz, ‘Author des accords Blum-Byrnes: Jean Monnet entre le consensus national et le consensus atlantique’, Histoire, Economie et Société, 3 (1982), 439–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 18.
    Jean Monnet, Memoirs (trans. Richard Mayne) (New York, 1978) 253.Google Scholar
  8. 20.
    For the ‘pessimistic’ interpretation of the Blum-Byrnes agreements see Annie Lecroix-Riz, ‘Négociation et signature des accords Blum-Byrnes (Octobre 1945–Mai 1946) d’après les Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères’, Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, XXI (July–September 1984), 417–48. Lacroix-Riz argues that despite the often ‘humiliating’ terms, France was constrained by the accords to enter into a Western bloc dominated by the United States. I have agreed with Lacroix-Riz on her negative assessment of the agreements, but contested her conclusion that France joined an American-dominated bloc: see Irwin M. Wall, ‘Les accords Blum-Byrnes, la modernisation de la France et la guerre froide’, Vingtième Siècle, 13 (January–March 1987) 45–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 21.
    See John Gimbel, The Origins of the Marshall Plan (Stanford, Ca., 1976), 41–9. Also Irwin M. Wall, L’Influence américaine sur la politique française, 1945–1954 (Paris, 1989) 79–94.Google Scholar
  10. 22.
    Frances M. B. Lynch, ‘Resolving the Paradox of the Monnet Plan: National and International Planning in French Reconstruction’, Economic History Review, 37,2 (May 1984) 229–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 26.
    See Monnet’s letter to Robert Schuman in Jean Monnet-Robert Schuman, Correspondance 1947–1953 (Lausanne: Fondation Jean Monnet, 1986) 26–8.Google Scholar
  12. 33.
    Quoted by Robert Frank, ‘Contraints monétaires, désirs de croissance et reves européens (1931–1949)’, in Patrick Fridenson et André Straus, Le Capitalisme Francais, 19e et 20e siècle: Blocages et dynamismes d’une croissance (Paris, 1987) 229.Google Scholar
  13. 35.
    See Harry Price, The Marshall Plan and its Meaning (Ithaca, N.Y., 1955).Google Scholar
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    An interesting confirmation of a sort of the work of John Gimbel, The Origins of the Marshall Plan, op. cit.Google Scholar
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    Benoit Frachon, Au Rythme des jours: Retrospective de vinqt années de luttes de la CGT, T.I., 1944–54 (Paris, 1967) 433.Google Scholar
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    Gerard Bossuat, ‘Les risques et les espoirs du Plan Marshall pour la France’, Etudes et Documents (Paris, 1989) 213.Google Scholar
  17. 46.
    See the discussion in Chiarella Esposito, ‘The Marshall Plan in France and Italy, 1948–1950: Counterpart Fund Negotiations’, (unpublished dissertation, State University of New York at Stony-brook, 1985). Also, Irwin Wall, L’Influence américaine sur la politique francaise, op. cit.Google Scholar
  18. 47.
    See Jean-Pierre Rioux, The Fourth Republic, 1944–58 (Cambridge, 1987) 180.Google Scholar
  19. 48.
    See the discussions in John Sheahan, Promotion and Control of Industry in Postwar France (Cambridge, Mass., 1963), and Warren C. Baum, The French Economy and the State (Princeton, N.J., 1958).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 51.
    Annie Lacroix-Riz, ‘Credits américains et coopération européene (1949–1954)’, in Patrick Fridenson et André Straus, Le Capitalisme francais, 19e–20e siècle: Blocages et dynamisme d’une croissance (Paris, 1987) 327–53; Alan Milward, The Reconstruction of Western Europe, 391.Google Scholar
  21. 52.
    Raymond Poidevin, Robert Schuman, homme d’Etat, 1886–1963 (Paris, 1986) 249–72.Google Scholar
  22. 53.
    George Ball, The Past Has Another Pattern: Memoirs (New York, 1982); Papiers Jean Monnet, Dossier G. W. Ball, AMG 10/6.Google Scholar
  23. 61.
    See Edward Fursdon, The European Defense Community: A History (New York, 1980). Also Irwin Wall, L’Influence américaine sur la politique francaise, 1945–1954, op. cit.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Douglas Brinkley and Clifford Hackett 1991

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  • Irwin M. Wall

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