A Question of Self-Esteem: The United States and the Cold by Alessandro Brogi

By Alessandro Brogi

Using archival fabrics from all 3 international locations, this primary comparative learn of French and Italian kinfolk with the us throughout the early chilly battle indicates that French and Italian objectives of prestige, or status, crucially affected the formation of the Western Alliance. whereas consciousness to open air appearances had a protracted ancient culture for either ecu international locations, the thought was once compounded by means of their humiliation in global conflict II and their consequent worry of extra demotion. merely by way of selling an American hegemony over Europe may perhaps France and Italy aspire respectively to achieve continental management and equality with the opposite nice eu powers. For its half, Washington rigorously calibrated concessions of mere prestige with the extra mammoth problems with foreign roles.

A fresh pattern in either U.S. and eu historiography of the chilly struggle has emphasised the position that America's allies had in shaping the post-World conflict II overseas method. Combining diplomatic, strategic, fiscal, and cultural insights, and reassessing the most occasions from post-war reconstruction to the center jap crises of the past due Fifties, Brogi reaches significant conclusions: that the U.S. helped the 2 allies to recuperate adequate vainness to deal with their very own decline; and that either the French and the Italian leaders, with consistent strain from Washington, steadily tailored to a inspiration of status now not dependent exclusively on nationalism, but in addition on their ability to advertise, or perhaps grasp, continental integration. With this specialize in picture, Brogi eventually indicates a history to trendy altering styles of diplomacy, as civilizational values develop into more and more very important on the price of extra generic indices of monetary and army power.

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Extra resources for A Question of Self-Esteem: The United States and the Cold War Choices in France and Italy, 1944-1958

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Both arguments confirmed American reservations about the Italians’ sense of democracy. Washington pressed for early elections precisely to help close the gap between rulers and ruled. 55 But the argument behind both requests was the same: the Communists would make hay of a punitive peace as well as of early postwar elections. Consequently, it was not only with political—and eventually financial—support that the United States endorsed the center parties in Italy. It also resorted to its traditional sense of “mission,” undertaking the role of “educator” toward the emerging Italian democracy, a conduct that would reach its peak during the campaign for the first national elections of the Italian Republic in 1948.

Moreover, the survival instinct of the defeated often required humbleness and subservience. The French after D-Day may have been fickle and, at times, intractable; Italians, men and women, were even “too welcoming,” as a British report noted in April 1945, ready to accept their liberators in their homes, but less willing to defend their country with honor51 (the Resistance fighters were at best a ragged, bandit army, in the Anglo-Saxon view). Some American officials strove to provide a more fair portrait of the Italian population, though still within the narrow confines of enduring clichés.

15. This is a phenomenon Alfred Grosser has first emphasized with regard to France’s Fourth Republic: see La IVe République et sa politique extérieure. 3rd. ed. Paris: Armand Colin, 1961. 16. For accounts reevaluating the diplomatic leadership of the French Fourth Republic see esp. Hitchcock, France Restored; Lynch, France and the International Economy; Frank, La hantise du déclin; Jasmine Aimaq, For Europe or Empire? French Colonial Ambitions and the European Army Plan. Lund: Lund University Press, 1996.

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