After World War II, Western Allied and German agricultural experts largely agreed both on the desirability of reinvigorated industry and on the changes needed to maximize agricultural output in hungry occupied western Germany. Drawing on the reports and correspondence of American and German economists and agronomists to explore the continuities between American and German ideas of agricultural efficiency both during and after the war, this article shows that the Allies had three key goals in managing postwar German agriculture: to maintain stability; to keep Germans fed; and to encourage agriculture’s market orientation. Keeping Germans fed would enhance stability, while encouraging agriculture’s market orientation would, they hoped, undercut the danger of German militarism once and for all by tying German farmers to a global economy and mitigating the possibility of agricultural autarky. While Allied planners feared that German farmers hewed to an autarkic ideal that protected their rural way of life above all, they were mistaken: German farmers prioritized their livelihoods, whether or not they were able to practice them along traditional lines.

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