A Very Philosophical War: The Global New Deal and Its Critics

David Ellwood

in The Shock of America

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780198228790
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741739 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of Modern Europe

A Very Philosophical War: The Global New Deal and Its Critics

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This chapter is divided into three main sections. Firstly, it embraces emergence of a vast American determination to reform the world so as to eliminate the roots of Europe's ability to b ring war and revolution to it. The vision, developed in acts such as Lend Lease and conferences such as Bretton Woods, was based on three key principles: multilateral trade liberalization, reformed collective security, raising living standards everywhere. These ideas of the postwar universe were far more important to Roosevelt than the in's and out's of his relations with Stalin, Churchill, de Gaulle or whoever, and ran through much of the vast American popular debate on the future role of the US in the world. Secondly, the chapter looks at response of the British and French leadership in particular to the emergence of this design. The British understood rightly that it contained a mortal threat to the British Empire; the other colonial powers, including the Dutch, soon fought it too. There was much disdain for American naivety, and at the same time fear of the extreme ruthlessness the Americans brought to dealings over markets, currencies, raw materials, civil aviation etc. Thirdly the chapter considers speculation of European intellectuals on the world after the war and America's possible place in it. In general these people wholly underestimated the new American will to power, and ignored its contents, all agreeing that the age of free enterprise capitalism was finished in any case, and collectivisms of various types would take over. The exile component in America and elsewhere poured scorn on these ideas, but they dominated resistance and anti-fascist movements everywhere. One thing the Europeans all agreed on was that the popular masses would never go back to the miseries of the pre-war era, and that expectations for a better life had risen, not least because America had shown the way.

Keywords: Four Freedoms; Lend-Lease; Atlantic Charter; British; French Empires; de Gaulle; Churchill; Orwell; E H Carr; Hayek

Chapter.  27702 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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