chapter  4
29 Pages

Reconstruction until the Marshall Plan

We have grown familiar in recent times with speeches by American Presidents

about ‘reconstruction’, a concept that has become a central part of the currency

of contemporary IR. Yet the liberal idea that you should defeat your enemy and

then re-build his economy in order to make the vanquished state and society

see the future in a less militaristic way is one that has only developed since the

First World War. It is certainly the case that after previous wars, such as those

against revolutionary France, it was seen as essential to bring the reprobate

defeated state back into the society of nations. Talleyrand was given equal billing

with Britain, Russia and Prussia at the discussion that led to the Treaty of Vienna in

1815. But to actually reconstruct a defeated enemy is a more modern concept. And,

as was shown in the last chapter, the discrediting of reparation as a tool to pre-

vent future wars was beginning to lead to the changed logic of ‘reconstruction’.