Abstract: Building the Network: Raw Materials Shortages and the Western Bloc at the Beginning of the Cold War, 1948-1951

Sara Nocentini


The object of this paper is to show how the distribution of strategic materials among the Western Bloc countries from the beginning of 1948 until the end of 1951 was turned from potential competitiveness into an opportunity to strengthen alliances. I first describe the procedure adopted by the United States for controlling their exports to the Western European countries during the period preceding the Korean War, pointing out the key role played by the Marshall Plan "network." Next, I focus on U.S. mobilization for the Korean War and the changes it introduced in procedures for distributing strategic materials. I give particular attention to the establishment of the International Materials Conference, an enlarged network, which was an important tool not only to deal with the trade-off between rearmament and economic growth, but also to obtain the support needed for its implementation.

BEH On-Line Paper