By Patrick J. Hearden
University of Arkansas Press
World War II gave the United States an unprecedented opportunity to reshape the world according to American interests. During the war, the State Depart-ment assumed the primary responsibility for planning this new political and economic framework.
The book’s author, Patrick Hearden, analyzes views whose origins lay in the idealistic internationalism expressed by Wilson at Versailles after World War I, but whose aims were essentially pragmatic. In spite of fierce rivalries among powerful policymakers, they agreed on the fundamental principles. These men favored a system based on liberal capitalism, in which foreign markets could absorb surplus American products. This would allow America to avoid overproduction and unemployment without government intervention in its economy.
Hearden explores the motivations of American policymakers as they wrestled with the problems of the day: the reconstruction of Europe, the rehabilitation of Germany and Japan, and the decolonization of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. His work affords a fascinating perspective on the dynamics of American power in the modern world.