chapter  XI
27 Pages

The 1949 recessions and the Divergence of Britain and Little Europe

In chapter 8 it was emphasized how vigorous was the expansion of western Europe's foreign trade from the nadir of 1 945 . The expansion of exports, however, was by no means equal even between countries which had had similar experiences during the war. Given the difference in emphasis in national economic policy and the erratic nature of the trade and payments mechanism, especially in the first three post-war years, this is not surprising. But the overall powerful upward trend of growth of western European exports is unmistakable . Even so, in 1948 only the United Kingdom and Switzerland had a higher level of exports than in 1938, which had itself been a year in which exports had been at a relatively low level. Much, therefore, depended on the continuation of this vigorous upward trend through 1 949 and beyond.