Ladejinsky, Wolf Isaac

views updated


LADEJINSKY, WOLF ISAAC (1899–1975), U.S. agronomist. Born in Russia, he went to the U.S. in 1922. In 1935 he began his career as a specialist in Asian agricultural problems with the United States Department of Agriculture. In 1945 General Douglas MacArthur called him to Japan to oversee the land reform designed to replace the traditional Japanese feudalism by a modern democratic society. Ladejinsky became the driving force behind that program, which affected over 5 million acres and became one of the decisive factors in modernizing Japan's political, social, and economic structure. He also advised other governments in Asia on land reform, which he saw as the alternative to communism. He worked in China, Taiwan, India, Burma, Vietnam, Nepal, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Korea. During the Eisenhower administration Ladejinsky through an error in identity was classified as a security risk. This administrative error created a wide controversy and initiated a reform of the administration's security clearance procedures. During 1954–56 he served as agricultural attaché in various Far-Eastern territories, and during 1955–61 he worked on land reform and refugee settlement projects in South Vietnam. From 1964 on he was an adviser to the World Bank, and spent most of his time in India. He became one of the prophets of the "Green Revolution," but his high moral objectives were always permeated with a sense of the possible and the practical. He wrote widely on agricultural policy. He left his collection of Asian art to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

[Joachim O. Ronall]