The Marshall Plan and Cold War Political Discourse

  • James E. Cronin
Part of the Europe in Transition: The NYU European Studies Series book series (EIT)


The Cold War was not only a geopolitical alignment of states, but also a confrontation of rival social systems. Within each bloc it structured economic systems and constrained politics. In closing off certain options, however, the Cold War opened up others and nurtured political cultures and rhetorics that fit within the framework of Cold War politics. This paper examines the way the framework of the Cold War affected political culture in the West by reviewing who and what were excluded and who and what were encouraged. The conclusion, though tentative, is that prior work has focused too narrowly on the exclusions imposed by the Cold War political order and neglected the opportunities opened up, particularly in the center and center/left of the political spectrum, and the creative political work done there. The Marshall Plan thus needs to be understood as a critical moment when the Cold War, its constraints and opportunities, became real to Europeans.


Political Culture European Nation Social Market Economy Soviet Bloc Bretton Wood System 
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© Martin Schain 2001

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  • James E. Cronin

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