chapter  4
24 Pages

Planners versus Enterprisers: The Free W orld at Hom e during W orld War II

As the United States entered World War II, the debate over the ideological influ­ ence of socially oriented intellectuals and policy specialists reached new levels of acrimony. At stake was the nature of American war aims and the role of continuing political and cultural innovation at home. Were shadowy New Deal administrators and advisers plotting a “glorified worldwide WPA?” as Roosevelt critic Hamilton Fish, Jr. charged.1 Were sinister strangers to the American Way about to use the wartime emergency to impose social experiments and collectivist policies on an unsuspecting populace and a powerless Congress? Chapter 4 grounds the assault on policy advisers and academic planners upon congressional efforts to control domestic bureaucracies such as the Office of Price Administration, the National Resources Planning Board, and the Rural Electrification Administration. Although questions of expanded government power and federal spending energized such activities, the political and cultural allegiances of New Deal personnel became an increasingly important focus of wartime controversy. Anti-intellectual rhetoric mirrored severe anxieties over the plight of traditional power brokers, the maintenance of economic and cul­ tural orthodoxy, and the survival of democracy in a period of overwhelming change and uncertainty.