Date of Award

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Winson Chu

Committee Members

Aims McGuinness, Christine Evans


Economic Nationalism, Foreign Policy, Marshall Plan, Multilateralism, Postwar Germany, U.S. State Department


This study examines how a firm belief in the economic doctrine of multilateralism triggered a powerful policy-determining crusade within the U.S. State Department. This doctrine was fundamental to the establishment of postwar foreign policy toward Germany. It was present in 1939 during early planning meetings and lasted through to the 1948 division of Germany. The equitable application of multilateralism as a basis for foreign policy determination was not initially accepted by other sectors of the U.S. Government; but over the course of this period State Department officials were able to overcome intergovernmental resistance. Motives for postwar planning for Germany were based on concerns over the growth of economic nationalism, which had led to a dramatic decrease in international commerce during the 1930s. This paper follows the web of multilateral foreign policy implementation as it weaves it way through the early planning process, interdepartmental disagreements, severe problems during the military occupation, and finally an impasse with the Soviets over occupied Germany.