In this thorough and lively study, Allen Matusow, tracing the history of government policy on food and agriculture during the Truman administration, relates the process by which the United States government overcame disharmony among its own politicians and farmers to save Europe from famine in the years immediately following World War II.
The Department of Agriculture, which had asserted that “food will win the war and write the peace,” was often reluctant to believe its own slogan. Elucidating the policies involved in postwar planning for both foreign trade and domestic farm production, Matusow shows how the memorable fear of huge surpluses created by the Depression in the 1930s had affected the attitudes of government officials toward agricultural planning and production from 1945 to 1952.
Interpreting the origins and defeat of the Brannan Plan, the author finds remnants of that policy evident in the current adoption of production payments. Farm Policies and Politics in the Truman Years offers new insight into the creative agricultural policy which emerged, from hesitant beginnings, in Truman’s second term.