Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Capitalism's Fellow Traveler: The Soviet Union, Bretton Woods, and the Cold War, 1944–1958

  • Oscar Sanchez-Sibony (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

This paper is a reinterpretation of the origins of the Cold War from a novel point of view: Soviet foreign economic policy. It questions two fundamental concepts that have formed the basis for our understanding of that conflict: Soviet autarky, and bipolarity. Soviet autarky has been the basis for an understanding of a “war” that, although never fought on military terms, needed two sides to be so conceptualized. Just as enemies in war can have no areas of meaningful cooperation, so did academics require of these Cold War rivals an all-encompassing enmity. To do so they came to consider the Soviet Union a camp apart, unconnected and hostile to the capitalist order. Scholars required a Soviet Union politically committed to autarky. Using archives from Moscow, however, the article argues that the Soviet Union was not autarkic by political choice and, at length, not autarkic at all. It followed a similar trajectory in international economic engagement as that of the countries in the so-called free world, and what's more, sought to do so. In other words, when one looks at the political economy of Soviet economic relations, the conceptual framework of bipolarity that sustains much of the work on the Cold War becomes difficult to maintain. Instead, I argue, an immensely powerful liberal world order acted on the Soviet Union in ways that should be familiar to scholars of global capitalism.

Copyright
Corresponding author
osanchez@umac.mo
References
Hide All
GARF Fond 5446: Council of Ministers of the USSR (Sovet Ministrov SSSR) at the State Archive of the Russian Federation (Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii).
RGAE Fond 413: Ministry of Foreign Trade of the USSR (Ministerstvo vneshnei torgovli SSSR) at the Russian State Archive of the Economy (Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv ekonomiki).
RGASPI Fond 84: Papers of Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan at the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi archive sotsial'no-politicheskoi istorii).
Applebaum Anne. 2012. Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe. New York: Doubleday.
Bockman Johanna. 2011. Markets in the Name of Socialism: The Left-Wing Origins of Neoliberalism. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Bohlen Charles E. 1973. Witness to History, 1929–1969. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Calleo David P. 1982. The Imperious Economy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Chernow Ron. 1990. The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance. New York: Grove Press.
Chuev Felix. 1993. Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee.
Cox Michael and Kennedy-Pipe Caroline. 2005. The Tragedy of American Diplomacy? Rethinking the Marshall Plan. Journal of Cold War Studies 7, 1: 97134.
Cumings Bruce. 2004. Time of Illusion: Post-Cold War Visions of the World. In Schrecker Ellen, ed., Cold War Triumphalism: The Misuse of History after the Fall of Communism. New York: The New Press.
Dohan Michael R. 1969. Soviet Foreign Trade in the NEP Economy and Soviet Industrialization Strategy. PhD diss., MIT.
Eichengreen Barry. 2008. Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Eichengreen Barry and Kenen Peter B.. 1994. Managing the World Economy under the Bretton Woods System: An Overview. In Kenen Peter B., ed., Managing the World Economy: Fifty Years after Bretton Woods. Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics.
Ellman Michael. 2000. The 1947 Soviet Famine and the Entitlement Approach to Famines. Cambridge Journal of Economics 24, 5: 603–30.
Frieden Jeffry A. 2006. Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Gaddis John Lewis. 1987. The Long Peace: Inquiries into the History of the Cold War. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gaddis John Lewis. 1997. We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History. New York: Oxford University Press.
Gorlizki Yoram and Khlevniuk Oleg. 2004. Cold Peace: Stalin and the Soviet Ruling Circle, 1945–1953. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Högselius Per. 2013. Red Gas: Russia and the Origins of European Energy Dependence. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Jackson Ian. 2001. The Economic Cold War: America, Britain and East-West Trade, 1948–63. New York: Palgrave.
Jensen Kenneth M., ed. 1993. Origins of the Cold War: The Novikov, Kennan, and Roberts ‘Long Telegrams’ of 1946. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press.
Judt Tony. 2005. Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945. New York: The Penguin Press.
Kaldor Mary. 1990. The Imaginary War: Understanding the East-West Conflict. Oxford: Blackwell.
Kenwood A. G. and Lougheed A. L.. 1992. The Growth of the International Economy, 1820–1990: An Introductory Text. London: Routledge.
Kolko Joyce and Kolko Gabriel. 1972. The Limits of Power: The World and the United States Foreign Policy, 1945–1954. New York: Harper & Row.
Leffler Melvyn P. 1992. A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Leffler Melvyn P. 2007. For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War. New York: Hill & Wang.
Maier Charles S. 2010. The World Economy and the Cold War in the Middle of the Twentieth Century. In Leffler Melvyn P. and Westad Odd Arne, eds., The Cambridge History of the Cold War. Vol. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mee Charles L. 1984. The Marshall Plan: The Launching of Pax Americana. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Mikoyan Anastas Ivanovich. 1999. Tak bylo: Razmyshleniia o minuvshem. Moscow: Varius.
Ministry of Foreign Trade. 1967. Vneshniaia torgovlia SSSR: Statisticheskii obzor, 1918–1966. Moscow: Izdatel'stvo “Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia.”
Ministry of Foreign Trade. 1971, Vneshniaia torgovlia SSSR za 1970 god: Statisticheskii obzor Moscow: Izdatel'stvo “Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia.”
Ministry of Foreign Trade. 1982. Vneshniaia torgovlia SSSR, 1922–81: Iubileinyi statisticheskii obzor. Moscow: Izdatel'stvo financy i statistika.
Narinsky Mikhail M. 1994. New Evidence on the Soviet Rejection of the Marshall Plan, 1947: Two Reports. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center, Cold War International History Project, Working Paper 9.
Naumkin Vitalii et al. , eds., 2003. Blizhnevostochnyi konflikt: Iz dokumentov arkhiva vneshnei politiki Rossiiskoi Federatsii. Vol. 1. Moscow: Mezhdunarodnyi fond “Demokratiia.”
Nove Alec. 1992. An Economic History of the USSR, 1917–1991. London: Penguin Books.
Pechatnov Vladimir O. 1995. The Big Three after World War II: New Documents on Soviet Thinking about Post War Relations with the United States and Great Britain. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center, Cold War International History Project, Working Paper 13.
Pechatnov Vladimir O. 2010. The Soviet Union and the World, 19441953. In Leffler Melvyn P. and Westad Odd Arne, eds., The Cambridge History of the Cold War. Vol. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Plokhy Serhii M. 2010. Yalta: The Price of Peace. New York: Penguin Books.
Poiger Uta G. 2000. Jazz, Rock, and Rebels: Cold War Politics and American Culture in a Divided Germany. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Reinhart Carmen M. and Rogoff Kenneth S.. 2009. This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Roberts Geoffrey. 2006. Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939–1953. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Sanchez-Sibony Oscar. 2010. Soviet Industry in the World Spotlight: The Domestic Dilemmas of Soviet Foreign Economic Relations, 1955–1965. Europe-Asia Studies 62, 9: 1555–78.
Schenk Catherine R. 1998. The Origins of the Eurodollar Market in London: 1955–1963. Explorations in Economic History 35, 2: 221–38.
Siegel Katherine A. S. 1996. Loans and Legitimacy: The Evolution of Soviet-American Relations, 1919–1933. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky.
Spaulding Robert Mark. 1997. Osthandel and Ostpolitik: German Foreign Trade Policies in Eastern Europe from Bismarck to Adenauer. Providence: Berghahn Books.
Steil Benn. 2013. The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Stone Randall W. 1996. Satellites and Commissars: Strategy and Conflict in the Politics of Soviet-Bloc Trade. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Treml Vladimir G. 1983. Soviet Dependence on Foreign Trade. In NATO Economics Directorate, External Economic Relations of CMEA Countries: Their Significance and Impact in Global Perspective. Colloquium. Brussels: NATO.
Triffin Robert. 1960. Gold and the Dollar Crisis: The Future of Convertibility. New Haven: Yale University Press.
U.S. Department of State. 1966. Foreign Relations of the United States Diplomatic Papers, 1944. Vol. 4. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
U.S. Department of State. 1967. Foreign Relations of the United States Diplomatic Papers, 1945. Vol. 5. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
U.S. Department of State. 1972. Foreign Relations of the United States. Vol. 3. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Waltz Kenneth. 1979. Theory of International Politics. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.
Westad Odd Arne. 2005. The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Williams William Appleman. 1959. The Tragedy of American Diplomacy. Cleveland: World Publishing Company.
Wood Robert E. 1994. From the Marshall Plan to the Third World. In Leffler Melvyn P. and Painter David S., eds., Origins of the Cold War: An International History. London: Routledge.
World Bank. 2012. World Development Indicators. At; http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/TG.VAL.TOTL.GD.ZS/countries.
Zhang Shuguang. 2001. Economic Cold War: America's Embargo against China and the Sino-Soviet Alliance, 1949–1963. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press.
Zubok Vladislav and Pleshakov Constantine. 1996. Inside the Kremlin's Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 36
Total number of PDF views: 320 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 943 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 17th January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.