Bonds closely examines the process of bipartisanship in the creation and passage of the Marshall Plan in 1947-48, as the Truman administration confronted the first Republican Congress since 1929. The significant effect of process on policy and the evolving Cold War is illustrated, offering new insights into that confrontation.
Employing extensive archival research, Bonds examines the reciprocal relationship of effect between domestic and international politics, which cannot be understood adequately without examining the process of making policy. As Bonds demonstrates, this is a messy contest requiring that policy be adapted or compromised to fit the existing political alignment. It is illustrated most clearly in a situation of differentiated control of the White House and Congress, when a bipartisan consensus must be developed, as in 1947-48.
Bonds also examines the development of the Cold War, and the process of passing the Marshall Plan is shown to have been a significant factor in the recognition of confrontation on both sides. The notion that the Marshall Plan was a plan to achieve world economic dominion, or to find a market for surplus U.S. goods is debunked, and Bonds disputes the charge that Truman and Marshall deliberately produced a war scare to increase defense budgets. He also contests the argument that the United States depended on the atomic bomb to deter the Soviets in the early Cold War period and demonstrates that Truman and Marshall had no concept at all of a National Security State in 1947 and early 1948. Instead, they sought a national militia system and firmly suppressed military appropriations in favor of a balanced budget. This is a provocative work for scholars and students of American politics, international relations, and diplomatic history.
About the Author:
JOHN BLEDSOE BONDS is Adjunct Professor of History at The Citadel. Professor Bonds served 26 years on active naval duty, with two ship commands, his last Navy tour was as Deputy Dean, Center for Naval Warfare Studies, Naval War College. He has published numerous articles in Naval Institute Proceedings.