Review of International Studies

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‘Reconstruction’ before the Marshall Plan


ANDREW J  WILLIAMS 

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As is often the case when a concept gets a new lease of life in the newspapers there has been a resurrection of interest in recent times in the concept of ‘reconstruction’. The current American administration has now undertaken not one but two major wars that have resulted in the need for reconstruction since 2001 when George W. Bush took up office in the White House. In the previous few years there were major reconstruction efforts undertaken in Bosnia (after the 1995 Dayton Accords) and in Kosovo (after the war of 1999), to name but the most obvious. Historians have to some extent taken up this cue and have been producing edited books and even full length monographs on the ‘lessons’ that we might learn from historical reconstruction efforts. There has also been a great use of conscious historical analogy by President George W. Bush. One classic example of the recent past by President Bush in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute elicited an indignant response from a number of historians in the Financial Times on the dangers of historical analogy.