Historians have largely explored interwar agricultural policies in their national dimension, emphasizing the spread of the protectionist measures and the increasing state interventionism. If the first wave of globalization of the modern era had encouraged the integration of world agricultural markets, since the mid-1920s states devoted greater attention to the management of stocks and the dynamics of the domestic markets. However, it was hard to cut off an economy from the world even for nationalist and fascist governments. Barriers and bilateral agreements could regulate the trade flows, but each country had in fact specific needs of foreign inputs, products or capitals. Moreover, knowledge networks encouraged the circulations of ideas and models beyond ideological boundaries.
Organizing the interconnections of the agricultural markets seemed in fact to be the common concern of the administrations, farmers’ associations and other actors in the interwar years, more than the effort to insulate the national level. Comparing case studies from different countries, the present session intends to investigate the complex interaction between domestic policies and international markets. Contributions will explore the way international dynamics shaped the elaboration and the chronology of the national agendas. They will study the institutional frameworks and tools developed to mediate between the national and the world spheres. This perspective will finally allow us to analyze the meaning of “food sovereignty” in countries where agricultural imports and exports were a crucial component of the balance of payment and could thus influence development processes, through the availability of capitals and inputs.