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Paul G. Hoffman

Paul G. Hoffman: Architect of Foreign Aid

Copyright Date: 1985
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Paul G. Hoffman
    Book Description:

    Having gained fame and success in business, Paul G. Hoffman went on to become involved in a wide range of public concerns. In this new and revealing biography Alan R. Raucher provides the first assessment of Hoffman's entire career, beginning with his rise to the presidency of Studebaker and his success in applying progressive management to lift it from bankruptcy to profitability. A firm believer in the automobile, Hoffman became known as a sales genius, as a promoter of the new human relations approach to labor management, and as the industry's apostle of automotive safety.

    Raucher follows the movement of Hoffman's career into the broad public arena. Having developed a reputation as a progressive industrial statesman, Hoffman was a logical choice in 1948 to become the first administrator of the Marshall Plan, a key position in which he used economic foreign aid primarily to rebuild Western Europe in order to contain the spread of Communism. As the Cold War continued he came to regard economic foreign aid as a necessary sacrifice and dismissed all suggestions that the U.S. actually gave away billions of dollars in order to promote its own prosperity.

    Hoffman became convinced that foreign aid could promote peace and prosperity, especially through economic development in the poorer countries. As the first president of the new Ford Foundation, as a confidant of President Eisenhower, and as a top of¬ficial of the U.N. Secretariat from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, Hoffman continued to confront the problems of the emerging Third World in a career that sheds light on the rise of the powerful development establishment and on its attitudes and policies.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6141-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. 1 Making A Million Selling Cars
    (pp. 1-9)

    When he attracted national attention as a public figure, journalistic profiles sometimes suggested that Paul G. Hoffman (1891–1974) fit the much admired model of the self-made American businessman. But, a stickler for accuracy; he eventually set the record straight. He certainly did not start from humble origins in rural or small-town America to become a millionaire by his own efforts. More typical of successful businessmen of his time, he came from a background that gave him distinct advantages, both material and cultural.

    Paul Hoffman was born in Chicago, the boom city of late-nineteenth-century America. Rebuilt and still growing after...

  6. 2 Apprenticeship in Corporate Management, 1925-33
    (pp. 10-21)

    Hoffman accepted his new position at Studebaker with at least mixed emotions. He was uncertain about forsaking the role of independent entrepreneur to become a corporate executive; furthermore, he regarded southern California as his real home and did not want to leave. Neither did his wife.

    Dorothy Brown Hoffman seems to have resembled, Paul’s mother in many ways. She was also a midwesterner with roots in New England, a dedicated Christian Scientist, and a woman of strong character. Originally from Michigan, she had moved with her family to southern California and met Paul there while home for vacation from Wellesley....

  7. 3 Bringing Studebaker Back, 1933-48
    (pp. 22-41)

    Paul Hoffman, who loved being a businessman, ran Studebaker for fifteen years, beginning in 1933. Compared with the three giants of the industry—GM, Ford, and Chrysler—which produced about 90 percent of American cars, Studebaker was always small; compared with other American businesses, however, it was not. With capital investments of tens of millions of dollars, it operated large plants employing several thousand workers. In an oligopolistic industry, Hoffman tried to prove that the right kind of management could achieve profitability for a company that was not gigantic.

    Hoffman’s achievements at Studebaker during the 1930s and 1940s established his...

  8. 4 The Search for Stability and Growth, 1933-48
    (pp. 42-63)

    During the fifteen years that he led Studebaker, Paul Hoffman also emerged as an articulate voice for business within the public arena. Though not an original thinker, an intellectual, or even a well-educated person in a formal sense, he was intelligent and hardworking. He learned by reading a lot and by contact with a broadening circle of acquaintances and friends. Despite the fact that he found writing difficult, on the big issues of the day he expressed himself with clarity and cogency

    A low-keyed and amiable salesman, he knew how to sell himself and his ideas. With his naturalness, exuberance,...

  9. 5 The Marshall Plan, 1948-50
    (pp. 64-79)

    Scholars have usually portrayed the Marshall Plan as a policy of enlightened national self-interest. Within the framework of the containment of Communism, the United States pursued peace and prosperity by unprecedented generosity toward potential economic competitors. During a period of domestic shortages and inflation, it gave the countries of Western Europe billions of dollars so that they could reconstruct their economies and reestablish normal trading patterns.

    Recently, some scholars have charged that the policies of the Economic Cooperation Administration differed significantly from its own rhetoric and the conventional view. According to one leading revisionist work, the ECA actually pursued a...

  10. 6 The Ford Foundation, 1951-53
    (pp. 80-99)

    Given his performance as chairman of the CED and as administrator of the Marshall Plan, Hoffman seemed perfectly suited for the presidency of a major private foundation. By the time he assumed his new position, older foundations such as those created by Andrew Carnegie and the Rockefellers had already established rules for operating within the U.S. and abroad. Their wealthy founders and benefactors had turned over control to professional administrators, so-called philanthropoids who embraced the principles of nonpartisanship, scientific objectivity; and pluralism to retain tax-exempt status and to avoid political harassment. Hoffman brought to the Ford Foundation not only administrative...

  11. 7 Studebaker Strikes Out, 1952-56
    (pp. 100-119)

    In the fall of 1950, when Hoffman announced that he was resigning from the ECA to become president of the Ford Foundation, news commentator Eric Sevareid made an astute observation. He said that Hoffman—like Averell Harriman, James Forrestal, Robert Lovett, John McCloy; and others—had become too successful to remain satisfied with the rewards of business achievement. Men of that caliber craved the headier challenges of public affairs.¹ The Ford Foundation and the Eisenhower campaign had provided those challenges for Hoffman, but in 1953 he had to seek new endeavors.

    Almost sixty-two years old and independently wealthy; Hoffman returned...

  12. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  13. 8 “Waging Peace” With Trade and Aid
    (pp. 120-132)

    For the first six years of Eisenhower’s presidency, even while chairman of Studebaker and chairman of the Fund for the Republic, Hoffman stood close to the administration as a voice for liberal internationalism. A personal friend of the President and an acquaintance of many key members of the administration, he gently coaxed and prodded them to “wage peace” by enlightened policies. In particular, he sought to alert the administration, Congress, and the American public to the changes sweeping across Asia and Africa. He did not want the United States to stand on the side of reactionaries and imperialists obstructing the...

  14. 9 The U.N.’s Development Programs, 1959-71
    (pp. 133-154)

    In January of 1959, Hoffman began his new career as a top-ranking official of the U.N. Secretariat. Though nearly sixty-eight years old, he looked and felt younger and still wanted the challenge of worth while work. His post at the U.N., constantly changing and some times frustrating, kept him active and alive by forcing him to grow intellectually He remained at what he called his “most fascinating job” for thirteen years, finally retiring in December 1971 at nearly eighty-one years of age.¹

    When Hoffman retired,Fortuneobserved, “More than any single individual Paul G. Hoffman deserves to be regarded as...

  15. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  16. Conclusion
    (pp. 155-166)

    A man of the Establishment and a progressive—that is how Paul G. Hoffman should be remembered. In business and in public affairs he headed important institutions and stood close to those with greater power, sharing many of their values, attitudes, and limitations. Yet even while he sought to preserve the American system, he also helped to change it. Within his multifaceted career he demonstrated a capacity for recognizing modern trends and new ways of coping with them. By his deeds and his talents as a promoter and publicist, he gave progressive attitudes wider currency; especially within the Establishment.


  17. Notes
    (pp. 167-192)
  18. Essay on Sources
    (pp. 193-202)
  19. Index
    (pp. 203-208)