Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The buck starts here: The Federal Reserve and monetary politics from World War to Cold War, 1941-1951
by Wintour, Timothy W., Ph.D., Kent State University, 2013, 497; 3618842
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the role of the Federal Reserve System in the formation and conduct of American foreign relations between the Second World War and the Korean War. Specifically, it seeks to understand why Fed officials willingly subordinated monetary policy to the priorities of war finance during the former conflict, but actively fought for greater policy autonomy during the latter. Using a constructivist bureaucratic politics approach it examines how American central bankers understood the economic and political implications of both domestic and international policy developments. Drawing upon the perceived lessons of the interwar years, Fed officials believed that economic prosperity was a critical feature of a stable and peaceful international system. At the same time, however, they believed the situation was more complicated than a simplistic causal relationship whereby greater domestic growth resulted in greater international peace and prosperity. Instead, central bankers recognized that events in either the domestic or international political or economic arenas, if improperly handled, threatened to upset the delicate balance between prosperity and peace. The belief in these fundamental interconnections, while often not explicitly expressed, provided a coherent and logical guide to Fed policy, during the era, informing many of its internal debates and positions. This dissertation, therefore, represents the first attempt to understand the role of the American This dissertation examines the role of the Federal Reserve System in the formation and conduct of American foreign relations between the Second World War and the Korean War. Specifically, it seeks to understand why Fed officials willingly subordinated monetary policy to the priorities of war finance during the former conflict, but actively fought for greater policy autonomy during the latter. Using a constructivist bureaucratic politics approach to foreign policy analysis it examines how American central bankers understood the economic and political implications of both domestic and international policy developments. Drawing upon the perceived lessons of the interwar years, Fed officials believed that economic prosperity was a critical feature of a stable and peaceful international system. At the same time, however, they believed the situation was more complicated than a simplistic causal relationship whereby greater domestic growth resulted in greater international peace and prosperity. Instead, central bankers recognized that events in either the domestic or international political or economic arenas, if improperly handled, threatened to upset the delicate balance between prosperity and peace. The belief in these fundamental interconnections, while often not explicitly expressed, provided a coherent and logical guide to Fed policy, during the era, informing many of its internal debates and positions. This dissertation, therefore, represents the first attempt to understand the role of the American Federal Reserve System as an active participant in foreign policy-making, including its involvement in the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, as well as discussions over the 1946 British Loan, and the Marshall Plan. Additionally, this study bridges the gap between domestic and foreign affairs, demonstrating the critical interrelationships between those two areas.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Heiss, Mary Ann
Commitee:
School: Kent State University
Department: History
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: American history, Economic history, Public administration, Military history
Keywords: Cold war, Federal reserve, Foreign policy analysis, Foreign relations, Political economy, Second world war
Publication Number: 3618842
ISBN: 9781303873607
Copyright © 2019 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Cookie Policy
ProQuest