Post-War Recovery and Government Intervention

Documents from [1945] to [1975]

Identity Statement

Created By
HAEU Reference Code
Extent and Medium

6 files

Reference Archivists

Carr, Mary

Content and Structure


Attempts to maintain agricultural production levels marks the period from 1939 to 1945, despite the difficulties caused by labour shortages and lack of supplies. The task proved impossible and by the end of the war production levels had been drastically reduced particularly in continental Europe, Britain was the only country where the food situation was remarkably better due to a prepared Plan under the Ministry for Food. After the war, the main objective was to increase agricultural production levels as quickly as possible, with the aid offered under the Marshall Plan, recovery was quick and Europe went from a case of shortage to surplus. Recovery came in the shape of new technology, education and new techniques despite the fall in the agricultural population throughout Europe.
In the immediate post-War period, income guarantes were given to farmers, price supports were introduced or were amended and credits and subsidies were offered. From the mid-1950's, since production increases were no longer needed, the emphasis changed to agricultural efficiency and selective expansion. Most European countries gave income or price guarantees to farmers due to the problem of low-incomes. Importing countries were able to maintain their prices and support farmer's incomes by limiting imports, until their own markets became saturated by home produced goods. Agricultural exporting countres, were harmed by the restrictions imposed on their exports, and often had to diversify their agricultural to meet new demands. Increasing involvement by governments in supporting agriculture was facing opposition, the problems it caused of maintaining through subsidy a large domestic agricuture, led eventually to the Common Agricultural Policy, whereby Western European countries decided to unify to reach a common policy for agriculture

Allied Materials


Notes and Remarks

See Michael Tracy's book: Government and Agriculture in Western Europe 1880-1988, 3rd ed. (1989)

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