IN ITS unending endeavor to create order out of chaos the human mind tries to establish guiding principles, to circumscribe the desired goals and direct the course of events. But the interplay of the innumerable factors that change the world in which we live tends to frustrate the most ingenious theories of economists and scholars. The year 1950 reminded all of us once again what severe limitations hamper forceful and concerted action by even such a large group of nations as is engaged upon the most ambitious program of economic recovery ever known--the program of repairing the devastations of war in Europe and infusing strength into the West European nations. The nations concerned could not have hoped to accomplish this by their own resources. They were prostrate after the liberation and seemed an easy prey for aggression and Communist infiltration unless the United States made funds available for economic and financial recovery. This the United States did.
In the circumstances, any considerable military effort would only have impeded and frustrated the execution of the economic plan. For several years, therefore, Western Europe remained practically without military defenses of any sort, apart from the Allied forces of occupation stationed in Germany--and the first task of those troops was to control the beaten enemy and not to defend the frontiers of Western Europe. The general concern lest a military rearmament program upset the precarious balance of national economies was so great that even when the danger from the East induced the Benelux countries, France and England to conclude the Brussels Treaty in March 1948 they were careful to contemplate only such increases in military effectiveness as did not affect economic viability. Western Europe's hope was that there would be time to complete the work of economic recovery and initiate the related work of European integration, so that military strength might then be built on a sound economic basis.
Gigantic progress has indeed been made in the field of economic coöperation. Ambitious schemes of European
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