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Global DevelopmentA Cold War History$

Sara Lorenzini

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691180151

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691180151.001.0001

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Truman’s Dream

Truman’s Dream

When the Cold War and Development Met

(p.22) 2 Truman’s Dream
Global Development

Sara Lorenzini

Princeton University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins by looking at Harry Truman's speech during his oath taking for his second term as the thirty-third president of the United States of America on January 20, 1949. As the fourth point in his program, he launched a policy of making US scientific advances and industrial progress available to underdeveloped areas in order to fight misery, malnutrition, and illness. Truman's Point Four, as it soon became known, was presented as an absolute novelty. Enthusiastically acclaimed by his contemporaries, it is sometimes considered the start of a new era of world history. With Point Four, President Truman interpreted the spirit of the times and condensed ideas from many places, bringing together humanitarianism, the concept of development, and the Cold War. Moreover, Point Four has been described as the first case of implanting the Marshall Plan outside its original European framework. They shared the same goals: peace, plenty, freedom, and the hope of keeping communism at bay by offering growth as the cure for social hardship. The differences between the Marshall Plan and Point Four were, however, huge. Unlike emergency measures like the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and the Marshall Plan, and despite its limited funding, Point Four was meant to carry on for longer.

Keywords:   Harry Truman, scientific advances, industrial progress, Point Four, humanitarianism, development, Cold War, Marshall Plan, United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration

Fourth, we must embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas.


ON 20 JANUARY 1949, when Harry Truman came onstage at the Capitol and took his oath for the second term as the thirty-third president of the United States of America, he probably did not anticipate that his words would be included on the list of history’s most influential speeches. As the fourth point in his program, he launched a policy of making US scientific advances and industrial progress available to underdeveloped areas in order to fight misery, malnutrition, and illness.1 Truman’s Point Four, as it soon became known, was presented as an absolute novelty. Enthusiastically acclaimed by his contemporaries, it is sometimes considered the start of a new era of world history. But Truman’s dream did not come from a void. It condensed the experience, expectations, and projects of an entire generation of politicians, technocrats, and intellectuals, not just Americans, who had worked in reconstruction and relief after the war and were convinced of the need to build a Western political community at the onset of the Cold War.

Experiments in modernization and development in the 1920s and 1930s, colonial or not, had been primarily national. The move from national to transnational, from regional to global projection, happened after—and because of—the Second World War. This is why historiography identifies 1945 as a moment of political cleavage. Understanding the need to bring the international community together around a shared development assistance program, the United States made economic assistance a major foreign policy (p.23) tool. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was crucial in shaping this cooperative view of foreign aid. He framed his postwar policy and plans in global terms—as his letter to the US ambassador in Tokyo in January 1941 put it, “The problems we face now are so vast and so interrelated that any attempts even to state them compels one to think in terms of five continents and seven seas.”2 In his famous State of the Union Address that year, Roosevelt announced a plan to restructure the world according to the four freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, and freedom from want. The latter meant that the United States was ready to promote economic growth and well-being on a global scale.

Postwar development plans elaborated between 1942 and 1943 by the Advisory Committee on Postwar Foreign Policy, headed by Secretary of State Cordell Hull and his assistants Benjamin Sumner Welles and Leo Pasvolsky, were clear about the main features of the new international order.3 Crucial to the project was the organization of the United Nations. Hull and his team envisaged a regional structure, with each superpower responsible for an area—the four policemen in Roosevelt’s formula being the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and China. In the world the committee imagined, colonial empires would be replaced by a new regime of international trusteeship. Although this anticolonial radicalism was soon dropped in order not to prejudice relations with the British, the United States kept its promises, moving forward with independence for the Philippines once it was liberated from the Japanese occupation. A conservative anticolonialism, together with self-determination in the Wilsonian tradition and the fact that the United States had been a colony, was enough for other nations to credit it as an anticolonial power on the level of the Soviet Union, which had always claimed anti-imperialism as a foundational part of its identity.

The global character of Roosevelt’s postwar vision translated into a series of interrelated projects. The word used back then was “reconstruction,” which was synonymous with “economic, social, and political development or progress.”4 Politically, reconstruction was centered on the United Nations; economically, it was based on international economic organizations, particularly the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), born in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference. Roosevelt, who did not intend to replicate Wilson’s failures, prioritized US participation in world government to avoid the threat of postwar isolationism.5

Using the New Deal as a model for the linkage between modernity and American-style participatory democracy was crucial to Roosevelt and his associates, who saw New Deal methods as a means of managing demobilization, humanitarian relief, and reconstruction. International aid was also (p.24) crucial, given the humanitarian crises in all the war theaters, particularly Europe and East Asia. Relief activity was placed in the hands of UNRRA, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, which was created specifically for this purpose in 1943 and heavily supported—with both personnel and resources—by the United States. UNRRA was directed by Herbert Lehman, a former Democratic governor of New York State, together with the extremely efficient Australian administrator Robert G. A. Jackson, former director of Allied Supplies in the Middle East. Between 1943 and 1947, UNRRA had twelve thousand employees in Europe and Asia and distributed hundreds of millions of dollars in aid. It created experts who went on to work for other American assistance plans or on the staffs of international organizations. This experts’ community built the framework of important networks of knowledge across the globe. Criticized by the US Congress for giving aid to the Soviet territories of the Ukraine and Belarus, UNRRA was liquidated in 1947, when its original mandate expired.6 The UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) was its natural successor, but the prospect of US funding going to the ECE was unacceptable to the US administration, which feared that US assistance to Central Europe would benefit the Soviet Union and its allies. As deputy secretary of state William Clayton commented, the United States “must run this show,” by which he meant that US funds should strengthen the Western alliance.7

Soon after the war, the Grand Wartime Alliance (US, UK, USSR) was just a memory as the Cold War dominated international relations. During the 1946 Paris peace negotiations, the United States and the Soviet Union confronted each other vehemently, emphasizing their differences. Anticommunism became explicit in the reasoning of US policy makers. George Kennan, the father of containment, the strategy that prescribed continuous surveillance of the Soviets and the vigilant application of counterforce at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points, was appointed assistant secretary of state under George Marshall. In May 1947, he suggested that US aid to Europe should be directed not to fighting communism as such, but to restoring the economic health and spiritual vigor of European society. This was the idea behind the Marshall Plan, the grand plan for economic aid to Europe announced shortly thereafter. “Our policy,” claimed Marshall in his famous speech at Harvard on 5 June 1947, “is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos.”8

The Marshall Plan, officially known as the European Recovery Program (ERP), has been described as the most ambitious aid plan in history. It lasted from 1948 until 1952 (ending a few months before its scheduled final date) and involved sixteen countries for a total expenditure of $13 billion ($146 billion at today’s prices), about 1.5 percent of the US GDP at the time. A huge effort (p.25) in terms of organization and vision, it had clear, albeit not always explicit, goals of containing the communist peril in Europe. Historians almost unanimously consider it a watershed and hold it responsible for both the onset of the Cold War and European integration.9 In addition, the Marshall Plan introduced concepts and methods that were later used in other situations. It helped consolidate transnational networks of experts, bringing together the most brilliant economists and social scientists on both shores of the Atlantic with the most stubborn managers of relief networks, both public and private. This multifaceted reconstruction effort extolled the New Deal and its ability to bridge modernity and participative democracy; it united different strands of modernization thinking and made them tools for global influence.10 Some conservatives worried about this New Deal revival. British foreign minister Anthony Eden, for example, feared that the United States, filled with missionary fervor, would impose a worldwide New Deal or see the TVA as an infallible model for shaping global society.11

While the Marshall Plan dealt with Europe, other areas, now left without UNRRA support, jostled for attention. Extending bilateral aid to East Asia and Latin America was often discussed, but it was not clear whether the Marshall Plan could be replicated elsewhere.12 Although there was moderate optimism in the form of belief that the New Deal experience could be universalized as a blueprint for liberal transformation with economic growth, it was clear that Europe’s situation was unique. The challenge there was to restore preexisting industry and return a labor force already trained in a modern cultural environment to work; the situation was quite different elsewhere. Some places seemed to have favorable prospects. In China, for instance, US business saw great opportunities, and a mission of the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA)—the agency administering Marshall Plan funding—was opened in China in 1948 to reach out to active groups, including local communists, to promote the United States as a good trading partner. Aid for the industrial and rural reconstruction of China was included in title IV of the 1948 Foreign Assistance Act, but the mission was closed down in 1949, after the consolidation of communist power and the birth of the People’s Republic of China.

Convinced that the right mix of planning, investment, and technology could produce economic growth everywhere, social scientists tended to minimize differences among backward countries. There was not yet a clear demarcation of development as a concept exclusively or mainly for underdeveloped areas outside Europe. The feeling was rather of a certain permeability. Developed and backward areas naturally cohabited, and development recipes were universally applicable and transferable from one setting to the other. Lord Hailey, a high official in the British Colonial Office, for example, argued in 1944 that the same treatment be used for backward areas in the British Isles (p.26) and the colonies, and that achieving better standards of living in underdeveloped areas had to become a priority for reconstruction.13 Reconstruction and development became intertwined, so that the World Bank, the international organization originally intended to restore the existing economy, inherited both tasks.

Point Four

With Point Four, President Truman interpreted the spirit of the times and condensed ideas from many places, bringing together humanitarianism, the concept of development, and the Cold War. In slightly more than twenty minutes in his inaugural address, he emphasized the “four major courses of action” for US foreign policy: “continue to give unfaltering support to the United Nations and related agencies … continue our programs for world economic recovery … strengthen freedom-loving nations against the dangers of aggression,” and, as a fourth point, “embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas.” The speech started with a clear and resounding indictment of the “false philosophy of Communism,” which, he claimed, was “based on the belief that man is so weak and inadequate that he is unable to govern himself ” and which decreed “what information he shall receive, what art he shall produce, what leaders he shall follow, and what thoughts he shall think.”14 Truman explicitly linked the Marshall Plan, the plan for aid to Greece and Turkey (the March 1947 Truman Doctrine), and Point Four, which he introduced as a natural evolution of American thinking on foreign aid and reconstruction, claiming that Point Four had been in his mind “and in the minds of the government for the past two or three years, ever since the Marshall Plan was inaugurated.”15

This picture, which envisions Point Four as a sort of obsession of his administration, is clearly exaggerated, given that—as historian Louis J. Halle recounts—it was added to the address on the eve of the speech.16 Nevertheless, Point Four was not just a last-minute rhetorical gimmick. It was worked out beforehand by some of Truman’s aides, who pledged to construct a positive picture of American global commitment, starting with the Marshall Plan. Among them was the plan’s author, journalist Benjamin H. Hardy. In 1948, Hardy had written a report on the use of technology as a weapon against international communism. He believed that the United States had to invest in technological progress in order to capture world public opinion.17 Notwithstanding the US State Department’s skepticism, Hardy’s ideas triumphed.

The launch of Point Four was a success. It transmitted the idea of discontinuity, allowing the United States to claim it was new. Newspaper headlines (p.27) trumpeted Point Four, and the Truman administration immediately began turning the slogan into concrete measures. Planning and promoting Point Four, including plans to finance it, started straightaway and at an intense pace. How should it articulate the relationship between technical assistance and capital, between private and public, between American and international initiatives, and ensure the protection of investments?18 Truman recalls in his memoirs: “I immediately instituted a series of conferences on the subject of how best to implement the Point Four program and ordered the Secretary of State to direct the planning necessary to translate the program into action.”19 He insisted that it be made clear that the interests of recipients would prevail over the interests of US business, and that recipients would make do with their own means, because American experts were there to instruct them on using resources efficiently.

In October 1949, at a business lunch to promote Point Four, Truman described his dream of launching TVA-like programs to transform vast areas in the Middle East, Africa’s Zambezi basin, and the South of Brazil, all of which would require a massive injection of capital. Opinion within the administration was divided, with some convinced that private capital would flow in and others envisioning major state involvement. Among the latter was economic adviser Walter Salant, who was convinced that Point Four had to take more inspiration from the Marshall Plan and export capital along with know-how. Major investments, he maintained, were indispensable for creating the markets that would sustain European and US export ambitions in the long run. Institutionally, Point Four needed an ad hoc agency modeled on the ECA, the Economic Cooperation Administration of the Marshall Plan, he thought. The State Department argued instead for offering mostly training, with local costs of specific projects covered by recipients, as the Soviet Union had done in Central Asia.20 In this view, aid was mainly education, offering models of community development.21 The State Department won, and the idea of capital financing was put aside.

Point Four was presented to Congress in July 1949 with an appropriation request of $45 million. It took Congress almost a year to pass the Act for In­ ternational Development, approving it on 5 June 1950. The $29.9 million appropriated for the first year included funding for nationalist China, Palestine, and UNICEF. The Technical Cooperation Administration (TCA) was in charge of Point Four technical assistance. It was constituted within the State Department and was headed by Henry Garland Bennett, who was assisted by a consultative committee, presided over by Nelson Rockefeller, that worked to involve civil society. NGOs participated with projects in education, training, and public health.

Several projects were started within Point Four: antimalaria campaigns in Chimbote (Peru) and Shan (Burma, now Myanmar), and rural development (p.28) initiatives in Haiti, Mexico, Jordan, and India. Lauchlin Currie, a key New Deal figure, criticized Point Four, maintaining that the undertakings were limited and improvised—for one thing, experts were sent according to recipient request, not a general development plan.22 From the very beginning, the Point Four administration suffered from excess bureaucracy and did not seem to be run effectively; in 1950, the new Mutual Security Agency (MSA) absorbed its activities. Point Four did, however, do well as a brand. In 1956, for example, the German Krupp company launched a new initiative called the Krupp Plan or “Point Four and One Half ”: it invited a consortium of private businesses to join it in offering technical assistance for profit-making projects.23 The plan never took off.

Point Four has been described as the first case of implanting the Marshall Plan outside its original European framework. Both were masterpieces of political communication, born as empty shells to be filled with policies. They shared the same goals: peace, plenty, freedom, and the hope of keeping communism at bay by offering growth as the cure for social hardship. Technology was the key to increasing production and this, in turn, would grant peace and prosperity. Both programs were built on cooperation and the goal of strengthening regional alliances among countries identified with Western democratic values. The similarities between the two plans were also clear to the Soviets. Pravda commented that the two were complementary programs for economic expansion disguised by the rhetoric of anticommunism. The Soviet Union never failed to denounce Point Four as a variety of US imperialism intended to “seize the colonies and underdeveloped areas of the world in toto.”24

The differences between the Marshall Plan and Point Four were, however, huge. Unlike emergency measures like UNRRA and the Marshall Plan, and despite its limited funding, Point Four was meant to carry on for longer. It was part of an economic development plan undergirded by “the expectation that better economic conditions would be more conducive to democratic institutions, and to a more peaceful world.”25 It was intended to prove that capitalism was better equipped than socialism to ameliorate the lives of the poor and underprivileged. ECA economic officer John D. Sumner maintained that development policy had to show that democracy was the best route to economic progress and political freedom.26 Another key difference was that the backward countries were not offered the same conditions as Europe. Since resources were expected to come from private sources, the key point was to create the right environment for investments by taming nationalist and leftist tendencies among peasants and workers. Even though, as Truman pointed out, technical assistance was not “against Communism or anything else,” it was made to serve as an antidote for communism. In Truman’s words, “the Point Four program … was a positive plan of self-help for any country that wanted (p.29) it. It recognized the historic fact that colonialism had run its course and could no longer be made to work for a few favored nations.”27

With the escalation of the Cold War after the birth of the People’s Republic of China and the outbreak of the Korean War, anticommunism became increasingly important. In 1950, the United States began intensely publicizing Point Four as a way to counter communist threats, with the aim of convincing politicians, public opinion, and academics of its usefulness. In March 1950, “Aiding Underdeveloped Areas Abroad,” a special edition of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, came out to explain the program and its goals. Willard L. Thorp, the economist in charge of Point Four, and his working group wrote most of the articles, which covered a series of topics, including relations with colonial powers in Europe and the Marshall Plan.28 The July issue, “Formulating a Point Four Program,” gave further details.29

Studying Backward Areas: Social Scientists, the Marshall Plan, and the Limits of the Cold War

An emerging epistemic community came to exist around the issue of development. Centered in the United States, it interpreted development as a cooperative task of the international community.30 The language of Point Four seemed to be purposely crafted to attract believers, activists, and internationalists of various kinds who were likely to be enticed into government service by the prospect of a universal mission. This community had been engaged in earlier projects, particularly UNRRA. Samuel Hayes recalls that Point Four was “heavily dominated by technical people—educators, agricultural extension people, public health people” who focused on their own specialty more than the broader picture.31 For anthropologists, in contrast, who did not see development as a culturally neutral and universally desired norm, the project was a nightmare that would do violence to traditional cultures.32 Point Four enthusiasts made no bones about this. Willard L. Thorp, assistant secretary of state for economic affairs, insisted on the cultural elements of development: it was necessary to change people’s habits and convince them to use new techniques.33 US experts had to plant their ideas in the minds of their partners, while convincing them that these ideas were their own original aspirations. Allen Griffin, former member of the ECA mission in China and then head of a special study mission in Indochina, maintained that the United States had to promote democratic (read: anticommunist) choices. It needed to provide a modern education that would supplant religious traditions that favored submissive attitudes, which hindered opposition to authoritarian rule.34 NGOs identified education as the key to bringing local cultures into fruitful dialogue with the West.35

(p.30) Within this community of social scientists, attention quickly moved from topics such as hygiene, health, education, employment, and urban quality of life to the economy. Academics had discovered poverty, and this discovery led to the gradual sacralization of economics.36 In a talk held in Buenos Aires in the late 1950s, Italian top manager Aurelio Peccei, who would become famous as a founder of the Club of Rome (a think tank concerned with the predicaments of growth), observed that modernity had turned misery, once seen as normal, into something morally unacceptable.37 Economists elaborated ad hoc tools that were thought to be able to read hunger, poverty, and development as comparable and measurable issues.38 Their concepts of poverty built on the discovery of per capita income and the progress in comparative statistics. Constructing a universal index for measuring wealth had been a topic for cutting-edge research in the interwar years in Central and Eastern Europe, with the work of Polish economist Ludwik Landau standing out.39 British economist Colin Clark was fundamental in further promoting a standard GDP.40 Thanks to new aggregate tools of measurement, national or regional situations could be compared to common standards, bringing a revolution in poverty awareness. When in 1948 the World Bank set the threshold for poverty at $100 in annual GDP per capita, suddenly many were identified as poor and in need of assistance. Using economic-statistical language for a definition of well-being allowed underdevelopment to be read not as something ontologically different from development, but rather as one of its stages and thus a condition that could be acted on.

The Marshall Plan was the trait d’union between the tradition of foreign aid and development. Technocrats involved in the Marshall Plan had a special role in shaping the new discourse of development.41 As Paul Hoffman, head of the ECA from 1948, one of the fathers of the UN Special Fund for Development in 1958, and later the first director of the United Nations Development Programme, explained in 1951: “We have learned in Europe what to do in Asia, for under the Marshall Plan we have developed the essential instruments of a successful policy in the arena of world politics.”42 Point Four used the new expert network that the Marshall Plan had put in place. It is intriguing to study the links between the Marshall Plan—that is, development and modernization through European reconstruction—and the new civilizing mission in underdeveloped areas.

The case of Italy shows the limits of the American approach to development. In the early years of the Cold War, Italy was a case study for the way regional development policies could be turned into global models for use in backward countries.43 The Mezzogiorno was a laboratory of the kind envisaged by economist Eugene Staley in the 1930s, a place to export the “model TVA.” David Lilienthal and his Development and Resource Corporation were active on the (p.31) Italian scene during postwar reconstruction.44 Paul Narcyz Rosenstein-Rodan, a prominent economist in the Austrian School, well known for his works on marginal utility and the hierarchical structures of wants, saw Italy as the ideal laboratory for development. In the 1930s, he moved to Britain and then to the United States, where he worked as a consultant for the Marshall Plan.45 In 1947, he followed the Italian case at the World Bank and became confident that Italy was indeed an ideal place to test comprehensive strategies aimed at turning a condition of backwardness into an asset, the perfect bridge between reconstruction in Europe and development in backward areas.46 In his 1950 report on the development program of southern Italy, he was highly appreciative of the Italian development plan for the South, including the creation of the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno (Fund for the South), designed in May 1950 to promote economic growth in southern Italy, judging it the broadest and most attractive regional development plan in the world.47 Italy thus received additional development funding.

In the 1950s Italy’s southern provinces came into the spotlight because of the World Bank’s commitment. For pioneers in development, the case was especially attractive.48 Italy had a typical dual economy, of the kind described by W. Arthur Lewis during this period.49 It was an ideal place to implement a plan that aimed at creating the preconditions for industrial development, starting with infrastructure. Albert O. Hirschmann, then working on the Federal Reserve Board, begged for an invitation to Italy in a letter to Italian economist and politician Manlio Rossi-Doria.50 In his memoirs, Hollis B. Chenery recalls his period in Italy in the early 1950s as crucial. As a chief economist for both the State Department and ECA, he worked on input-output models to heighten the case for program lending.51 The UN Economic Commission for Europe, presided over by Gunnar Myrdal, also devoted special attention to Italy in its study of depressed areas and how to promote development in them.52

The Association for the Development of Industry in Southern Italy (Associazione per lo Sviluppo dell’Industria nel Mezzogiorno; Svimez), a think tank created in December 1946 for the study of industrial development in backward Italian areas, was especially active. Rosenstein-Rodan was a member of its board (1954–1982) and worked with its Center for the Study of Economic Development (Centro per gli Studi sullo Sviluppo Economico), which trained experts and officials in developing countries.53 The International Study Congress on Backward Areas (Congresso Internazionale di Studio sul Problema delle Aree Arretrate), held in Milan in October 1954, is the perfect place to see how Italians dealt with the development discourse of the early 1950s.54 Organized around the discussion of the Italian case and its progress, the congress featured a special role for the state as an engine for development.

Point Four and its language were everywhere: the sense of mission, the stress on cooperation, the role of technology, the promotion of democracy, (p.32) and the distance kept from colonial policies—these were all present in Milan. But the Milan conference also revealed the differences between Italian planners and the Americans who wanted to make their country a model for development. Italian social scientists preferred the public sector over the private sector and paid attention to anthropological elements and cultural specifics. They signaled discontent with US expertise and its one-size-fits-all approach and were resistant to standardized solutions imposed from above. They made it clear that they were not willing to serve as a laboratory for models designed abroad, especially not TVA-like policies. David Lilienthal soon abandoned the idea of working in Italy and used Italian technicians for his company’s projects elsewhere. The ideas discussed at the conference clearly favored industrial development, following the lead of the arguably charismatic and symbolic figure of Italian developmentalism, Pasquale Saraceno. The Italian case, he contended, proved that developing agriculture and providing infrastructure were not enough to ignite the big push, the decisive move toward self-sustained growth theorized by Rosenstein-Rodan.55 Foreign experts at the congress wanted to legitimize the Italian political economy just as much as they wanted to provoke scientific discussion. Italy’s prospects as a worldwide model were severely limited by the lack of any real success story to tell, as Italy never fully completed the move from recipient to donor country.56 Good only for a certain stage of development, the model was neither applicable to nor applied in former Italian colonies or in countries that were significantly poorer or less developed than Italy. The only case study on colonial areas offered in Milan was a report on Somalia from the Trusteeship Administration (Amministrazione Fiduciaria Italiana della Somalia, AFIS), which was disconnected from the fil rouge of the conference—that is, the state as a key agent for development through industrialization. As for the Cold War, the most notable sign of tension was the almost complete absence of participants from the Eastern Bloc. The only country representing socialist development was Yugoslavia. No contribution touched on development in backward areas in the Soviet Union; no significant mention was made of the socialist countries. The proceedings of the conference clearly show how, notwithstanding the pressure of the bipolar conflict, Cold War rhetoric and development discourse still had separate dimensions. In the 1950s, the reference to communism was not yet central to the development discourse. The case of Italian social scientists is paradigmatic of European resistance to fully identifying with US development strategies. The problems the United States encountered later, including the inability to fully make development a crucial weapon in the arsenal of the Cold War, echo the troubles of these early days.


(1.) Harry S. Truman, Memoirs, vol. 2 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1955–56), 230–239.

(2.) “President Roosevelt to Ambassador Grew, Letter of 21 January 1941,” in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States (hereafter FRUS), vol. 4 (1941), 8.

(p.184) (3.) Christopher D. O’Sullivan, Sumner Welles, Postwar Planning, and the Quest for a New World Order, 1937–1943 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), chapter 5, accessed 17 May 2014, http://www.gutenberg-e.org/osc01/.

(4.) Economist Horace Belshaw, longtime collaborator of the FAO, quoted in Ekbladh, Great American Mission, 94.

(5.) Ronald Steel, “1919–1945–1989,” prologue to The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 Years, ed. Manfred F. Boemeke, Gerald D. Feldman, and Elisabeth Glaser (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 22; David Reynolds, “FDR’s Foreign Policy and the Construction of American History, 1945–1955,” in FDR’s World: War, Peace, and Legacies, ed. David B. Woolner, Warren F. Kimball, and David Reynolds (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 16.

(6.) Jessica Reinisch, “Internationalism in Relief: The Birth (and Death) of UNRRA,” Past and Present 210, suppl. 6 (2011): 258–289.

(7.) “Clayton Memorandum,” 27 May 1947, in Ellen Garwood, Will Clayton: A Short Biography (Austin: University of Texas Press, [1958]), 118–121.

(9.) Literature on the Marshall Plan is abundant. For an iconic reading, see Greg Behrman, The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe (New York: Free Press, 2007); for a critical attitude, see Alan S. Milward, “Was the Marshall Plan Necessary?” Diplomatic History 13, no. 2 (1989): 231–252.

(11.) O’Sullivan, Sumner Welles, chapter 5; Mark Mazower, Governing the World: The History of an Idea (New York: Penguin Press, 2012), 200.

(12.) “Oral History Interview with John W. Snyder,” Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, accessed December 2016, https://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/snyder31.htm.

(13.) William Malcolm Hailey, The Future of Colonial Peoples (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1944), 52.

(14.) The text is widely available, including at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, https://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/50yr_archive/inagural20jan1949.htm.

(16.) Louis J. Halle, “On Teaching International Relations,” Virginia Quarterly Review 40, no. 1 (1964): 11–25.

(17.) Hardy’s Use of U.S. Technological Resources as a Weapon in the Struggle with International Communism is quoted in Ekbladh, Great American Mission, 97–98.

(18.) Michael A. Heilperin, “Private Means of Implementing Point Four,” in “Aiding Underdeveloped Areas Abroad,” special issue, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 268 (March 1950): 54–65.

(20.) Sergei Y. Shenin, The United States and the Third World: The Origins of Postwar Relations and the Point Four Program (New York: Nova Science, 2000), 59.

(21.) “Oral History Interview with Douglas Ensminger,” Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, accessed 20 May 2014, http://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/esmingr.htm.

(p.185) (22.) Lauchlin Currie, “Some Prerequisites for Success of the Point Four Program,” in “Formulating a Point Four Program,” special issue, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 270 (July 1950): 102–108.

(23.) “Zusammenarbeit mit Entwicklungsfähigen Ländern,” Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts (hereafter PA AA), B58 Ref. 407, 10; the plan was sketched by Robert Murphy (State Department), Struve Hensel (former assistant secretary of defense), and Berthold Beitz of A. Krupp.

(24.) Sergius Yakobson, “Soviet Concepts of Point Four,” in “Aiding Underdeveloped Areas Abroad,” special issue, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 268 (March 1950): 130.

(25.) “Oral History Interview with Joseph D. Coppock,” Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, accessed December 2016, https://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/coppockj.htm.

(26.) Sumner called it “the problem before us in South Asia.” Sumner was chief economic officer, China Mission, Economic Cooperation Administration, 1948–1949. Quoted in Marc Frey, “Indoktrination, Entwicklungspolitik, und “State building”: Die Vereinigten Staaten in Südostasien 1945–1961,” in Barth and Osterhammel, Zivilisierungsmissionen: 342.

(28.) Willard L. Thorp, “The Objectives of Point Four,” in “Aiding Underdeveloped Areas Abroad,” special issue, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 268 (March 1950): 22–26.

(29.) “Formulating a Point Four Program,” special issue, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 270 (July 1950).

(30.) Marc Frey, “Neo-Malthusianism and Development: Shifting Interpretations of a Contested Paradigm,” Journal of Global History 6, 1 (2011): 77.

(31.) “Oral History Interview with Samuel P. Hayes,” Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, 22, accessed December 2016, https://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/hayessp.htm.

(32.) For this view, see Escobar, Encountering Development; Wolfgang Sachs, ed., The Development Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge as Power (London: Zed Books, 1992).

(33.) Willard L. Thorp, “Practical Problems of Point Four,” in “Formulating a Point Four Program,” special issue, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 270 (July 1950): 95–101.

(36.) Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-politics, Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002).

(37.) Aurelio Peccei, “Un gran problema de nuestro tiempo: Los países subdesarrollados,” Buenos Aires, 1959; Aurelio Peccei, “Como enfrentar los problemas de los paises subdesarrollados: Conferencia pronunciada en la Escuela Nacional de Guerra el 14 de julio de 1961,” Buenos Aires, 1961.

(38.) Nick Cullather, “The Foreign Policy of the Calorie,” The American Historical Review 112, no. 2 (2007).

(39.) Małgorzata Mazurek, “ ‘Crossroads of Capitalism’: Eastern Europe, Ludwik Landau and His Interwar Vision of Global Inequalities,” Stan Rzeczy, Anti-disciplinary Journal, no. 1 (2017): 127–143.

(p.186) (40.) Daniel Speich, “The Use of Global Abstractions: National Income Accounting in the Period of Imperial Decline,” Journal of Global History 6 (2011): 7–28.

(41.) Daniel Speich-Chassé, “Towards a Global History of the Marshall Plan: European Post-War Reconstruction and the Rise of Development Economic Expertise,” in Industrial Policy in Europe after 1945: Wealth, Power and Economic Development in the Cold War, ed. Christian Grabas and Alexander Nützenadel (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 187–212.

(42.) Paul G. Hoffman, Peace Can Be Won (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1951), 65; see Alan R. Raucher, Paul G. Hoffman: Architect of Foreign Aid (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1985).

(43.) Sara Lorenzini, “Ace in the Hole or Hole in the Pocket? The Italian Mezzogiorno and the Story of a Troubled Transition from Development Model to Development Donor,” Contemporary European History 26, no. 3 (August 2017): 441–446.

(44.) Elisa Grandi, “ ‘Una TVA per il Mezzogiorno’: David Lilienthal e reti transnazionali nei piani di sviluppo della Cassa per il Mezzogiorno,” Annali della Fondazione Ugo La Malfa 27 (2012): 215–232.

(45.) Jagdish N. Bhagwati and Richard S. Eckaus, eds., Development and Planning: Essays in Honour of Paul Rosenstein Rodan (London: Allen and Unwin, 1972), 7.

(46.) Luigi Paganetto and Pasquale Lucio Scandizzo, La Banca Mondiale e l’Italia: Dalla ricostruzione allo sviluppo (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2000), 118.

(47.) Leandra D’Antone, “L’interesse straordinario per il Mezzogiorno (1943–1960),” in Meridiana, no. 24 (1995): 17–64. See Michele Alacevich, The World Bank’s Early Reflections on Development: A Development Institution or a Bank? Development Studies Working Papers, no. 221 (Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano, January 2007).

(48.) Gerald M. Meier and Dudley Seers, Pioneers in Development (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984).

(49.) W. Arthur Lewis, “Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour,” Manchester School of Economic and Social Studies 22, 2 (May 1954): 139–191.

(50.) Albert O. Hirschmann to Manlio Rossi-Doria, 13 July 1952, in Manlio Rossi-Doria, Una Vita per il Sud: Dialoghi epistolari 1944–1987, ed. Emanuele Bernardi (Rome: Donzelli Editore, 2011), 63–65. On this also see Jeremy Adelman, Michele Alacevich, Victoria de Grazia, Ira Katznelson, and Nadia Urbinati, “Albert Hirschman and the Social Sciences: A Memorial Roundtable,” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development 6, no. 2 (2015): 265–286.

(51.) Hollis B. Chenery, “From Engineering to Economics,” Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, no. 183 (December 1992); minutes and working materials are in collections of the Harvard University Archives, Faculty Archives, Papers of Hollis Burnley Chenery, unprocessed accession, Accession 12810, Box 2.

(52.) Pasquale Saraceno, Veniero Ajmone Marsan, Franco Pilloton, and Beppe Sacchi, eds., Economic Effects of an Investment Program in Southern Italy (Rome: Tip. F. Failli, 1951); also Ricerche sullo sviluppo economico dell’Europa meridionale: Tre studi della Commissione Economica per l’Europa, Nazioni Unite—Divisione economica e sociale, ed. Svimez (Rome: [publisher unknown], 1956).

(53.) Valeria Vitale, “L’attività della SVIMEZ dal 1946 al 1991,” Rivista economica del Mezzogiorno 14, no. 2 (2000): 569, 604.

(p.187) (54.) Atti del congresso internazionale di studio sul problema delle aree arretrate, Milano, 10–15 ottobre 1954 (Milan: Giuffrè, 1954–56). An analysis is also in Claudia Villani, La trappola degli aiuti: Sottosviluppo, Mezzogiorno e guerra fredda negli anni ’50 (Bari, Italy: Progedit, 2008), 106–119.

(56.) Elena Calandri, “L’Italia e la questione dello sviluppo: Una sfida tra anni sessanta e settanta,” in L’Italia nella costruzione europea: Un bilancio storico 1957–2007, ed. Piero Craveri and Antonio Varsori (Milan: FrancoAngeli, 2009), 267–290.