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Started by KanKhaderKhanKan on Jul 3, 2018 1:30:08 PM
Why didn't Britain make a success of it's allocation of the Marshall Fund but Germany did?

Don't get me wrong, the post-war Attlee government has alot of wonderous achievements to it's name with the two important ones being the founding of the NHS, NATO, slum clearance and a welfare state. However when it came to post-war industry the Attlee government and the subsequent British governments of the 1950s royally squandered their opportunity to improve British industry.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/marsha
ll_01.shtml


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Plan

France & Germany on the other hand made a roaring success of it.

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KanKhaderKhanKan - 03 Jul 2018 13:39:43 (#1 of 120)

Furthermore we discuss this topic further I'd like to nail this following myth:

Germany & France got more Marshall Fund money then Britain.

Rubbish. Britain in the post-war period received the most amount of money from the Marshall Fund.

So what one of the factors that contributed to the stagnation of Britain post-WW2? Well according to the above Beeb link:

It was this victor's psychology that deluded both Labour and Conservative politicians into believing that Britain - at the centre of the Commonwealth and the Sterling area - could have a future that was similar to her past.

Despite Keynes warning this was dumb thinking.

The French and German tenders for Marshall Aid resemble today's four-year business plans, being detailed technocratic strategies which give clear priority to investment in reconstructing industry and infrastructure. However, the British tender, originally drafted by a senior Treasury civil servant, resembled an Oxbridge economist's prolix prize-essay - with a tour of the world's economic horizon and Britain's place within it.

Shoddy/bungled planning another.

In 1950, Britain's investment in industry and infrastructure came to only 9 per cent of GNP, as opposed to Germany's 19 per cent. Thus the actual total of the investment was a fifth less than the German total...more autobahns had been constructed in Germany, whilst the German rail network - and the French and Italian - had been totally re-engineered, with all the main lines electrified.

Inadequate commitment to 'infrastructure building' was an additional factor. Germany, through carefull planning, had managed to re-build it's dilapidated infrastructure within a decade of the war ending due to high amounts of infrastructure spending. Britain on the other hand was still using Victorian infrastructure.

As this little excerpt shows the Germans were also busy creating, albeit eventually failing, science councils to formulate policy:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:101570
8903590


UK under Attlee (then the governments of Churchill &Eden in the 50s) on the other hand, it seems, didn't have a nowhere near as active industrial policy as the government of Adenauer.

tasselhoff - 03 Jul 2018 13:43:10 (#2 of 120)

I think there's also the fact that France and Germany put their best brains into engineering, whereas for us it's seen as a second rate intellectual discipline.

Arjuna - 03 Jul 2018 13:44:32 (#3 of 120)

Germany had its national debt wiped out

SheikYerbouti - 03 Jul 2018 13:47:01 (#4 of 120)

As Attlee said more than once, why be a nation of shopkeepers when you can aspire to be a nation of estate agents and management consultants?

TheExcession - 03 Jul 2018 13:49:36 (#5 of 120)

When your infrastructure and industry have been smashed to bits, you're essentially building anew from scratch with more modern replacements.

Christ, I can just about remember seeing working steam engines in industry in the UK in the early 1980s.

HerrWalrus - 04 Jul 2018 19:13:54 (#6 of 120)

This man had some input..

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Erhard

AlanII - 04 Jul 2018 19:22:38 (#7 of 120)

Christ, I can just about remember seeing working steam engines in industry in the UK in the early 1980s.

A friend' s father was the last man alive who understood how to keep a certain type of 19th century boiler running and, after his retirement would regularly get phoned and begged to come in and sort a problem out. That was the mid-eighties. I suspect that such stuff was not uncommon.

frantastic - 04 Jul 2018 19:23:16 (#8 of 120)

the two important ones being the founding of the NHS, NATO, slum clearance and a welfare state. - perhaps it was our inability to count.

rgtstoppedcounting - 04 Jul 2018 19:32:11 (#9 of 120)

When your infrastructure and industry have been smashed to bits, you're essentially building anew from scratch with more modern replacements.

This is critical. Germany was politically as well as economically prostrate. France was, pre-ww2, not really a fully developed industrial economy, and while she suffered from even worse delusions of post-imperial grandeur than the UK, unused capacity was greater.

That said, all this 'why can't everyone be more like Germany' stuff is a load of wank.

rgtstoppedcounting - 04 Jul 2018 19:33:25 (#10 of 120)

Also: 'its', ffs.

HerrWalrus - 04 Jul 2018 19:35:27 (#11 of 120)

Britain still had the option/burden of telling its colonies what stuff to export, what goods to import from Blighty. Germany had to make stuff that the world was willing to buy. Like Japan it grew by making products the world wanted.

brooklyn - 04 Jul 2018 20:13:03 (#12 of 120)

curse the luck! we came in on your side, not the German, and so we didn't flatten you.

which is to say: despite this conventional wisdom, surely you're in a better position to succeed if you start with something, rather than with nothing?

HerrWalrus - 04 Jul 2018 20:18:33 (#13 of 120)

The US didn't do too badly either with the fallout of the German defeat. Not a few scientists and technicians were taken across the pond to help modernise US industry.

Bonusy - 04 Jul 2018 20:18:46 (#14 of 120)

Can't recall the source, but I remember a story about British engineers or managers of industry (maybe both) being shown around and offered the spoils of war in Germany, and turning them down on the basis that they obviously weren't as good as the British offerings. I think it was the Volkswagen Beetle they declined, in favour of the Morris Minor they were developing (NB unreliable may have filled in details with made up bits)

HerrWalrus - 04 Jul 2018 20:21:59 (#15 of 120)

Didn't the Brits help to build new car assembly plants in their part of occupied Germany?

TheExcession - 04 Jul 2018 20:24:56 (#16 of 120)

Yep, the VW plant was put back in action by the British.

Bonusy - 04 Jul 2018 20:27:44 (#17 of 120)

Could have had it all

barkis - 04 Jul 2018 20:31:02 (#18 of 120)

If Churchill hadn't insisted on destroying the Colossus machines we'd have had a head start in the computer industry.

Then we had a head start in the computer industry anyway and threw it away.

HerrWalrus - 04 Jul 2018 21:01:28 (#19 of 120)

Not bad in the crypto-analysis field, but attempts to migrate Manic Miner to Colossus have so far failed to yield fruit...

KanKhaderKhanKan - 05 Jul 2018 17:36:49 (#20 of 120)

Germany was politically as well as economically prostrate. France was, pre-ww2, not really a fully developed industrial economy, and while she suffered from even worse delusions of post-imperial grandeur than the UK, unused capacity was greater.

Here's the thing: German/French businessmen & civil servants were WILLING to learn from American production techniques, Brits weren't, and what's more the Germans spent atleast 20% of their GDP on infrastructural projects, Britain around 10%.

Nothing stopped the UK government of that time and the 50s from imitating Germany & France. It's the post-war attitude/mentality of the British ruling class that let Britain down and the most intelligent members (e.g. Keynes) realised that this would cause alot of problems in the future.

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