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An investigation of economic characteristics of some major disasters and recoveries of modern times. Four periods are covered in detail: Russian war communism, 1917-1921; the American Confederacy, 1861-1865; Japan, pre- and post-World War II; and Germany, pre- and post-World War II. Emphasis is on the mechanism of collapse, whether the source was technological or organizational, and on what forces promoted or hindered recovery.

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of the RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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