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Western Europe, the Cold War and Decolonization

Adjusting to a Diminished World Role

ACM Tijsseling

on 18 March 2014

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Transcript of Western Europe, the Cold War and Decolonization

Session 8
Western Europe, the Cold War and Decolonization

Adjusting to a Diminished World Role
Dr A.C.M. (Anna) Tijsseling

Europe under the Mushroom Cloud
Decolonization: The Eclipse of European Power
The Movement for European Unification
After the Berlin blockade ended in May 1949 with the United States, Britain, and France still grimly holding on to the Western occupation sectors of the city, the Cold War frontiers were frozen for a generation. Further Soviet gains in the West (assuming that the Soviets really wanted more territory beyond Berlin) were now possible only by outright military action that risked American massive retaliation. The Americans were equally reluctant to disturb the East European status quo, as U.S. restraint showed during the uprisings in East Berlin, Poland, and Hungary. The high cost of change on both sides locked the two Cold War blocs into a precarious stability (Paxton and Hessler, 2012: 481).
The Solution

Bertolt Brecht

(Summer 1953 (published in 1959 in West German newspaper Die Welt))

Uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
Die Lösung

Bertolt Brecht

Nach dem Aufstand des 17. Juni
Ließ der Sekretär des Schriftstellerverbands
In der Stalinallee Flugblätter verteilen
Auf denen zu lesen war, daß das Volk
Das Vertrauen der Regierung verscherzt habe
Und es nur durch verdoppelte Arbeit
zurückerobern könne. Wäre es da
Nicht doch einfacher, die Regierung
Löste das Volk auf und
Wählte ein anderes?
‘Distant though it was, the Korean War [1950-1953] affected Europe deeply’ (481):
- small European troops to United Nations force in Korea
- stimulation European economic growth
- re-armament of Germany within new Western anti-Communist alliance.
The road to integration?
From tradition and hierarchy to Enlightenment
Revolutionary 'isms'
Conservative nationalism
New Imperialism
First World War
Second World War
Louis Napoleon (1908-1873)
Napoleon III (1852-1870)
Appropriating nationalism
Universal suffrage as a conservative tool
History: Western Europe: The History of Western Europe after 1945
‘The Cold War conflict was as bitter as war.’ (479)

- economic penetration
- intellectual persuasion
- subversive propaganda
- traditional forms of political and military influence (479)

‘[T]he Soviets supported movements for ethnic separatism and colonial independence in the Western sphere; the Americans broadcast encouragement to dissidents behind the Iron Curtain and supported anti-Communist regimes around the world. Both sides struggled for the upper hand in the emerging new nations of Africa and Asia.’ (480)
International rivalry
The Conference of Berlin (1884-1885) a.k.a The Scramble for Africa
Three wars between France and 'Germany', 1870-1945
1870-1871: Franco-Prussian War
German victory: Proclamation of German Empire in Palace of Versailles
1914-1918: First World War
Allied victory: Treaty of Versailles
1940-1945: Second World War
Allied victory: Conference of Potsdam
Source: http://www.cartoons.ac.uk
Daily Mirror, 07 Jun 1954
‘Europeans thus had to adjust simultaneously to economic and military dependence on the United States and to territorial and geopolitical decline. Once mighty empires shrank back to the borders of the original nation-states.’ (481)
‘[B]y the mid-1950s, the Cold War amplified every colonial struggle into an arena for superpower competition. The United States was favorably inclined to colonial self-determination, for reasons of both sentiment and self-interest, as long as nationalist leaders remained aligned with the West, while the Soviet Union and Communist China sought to link ‘national liberation’ to revolutionary communism. For Europeans, superpower involvement both deepened the humiliation of imperial retreat and intensified concerns over the morality of imperial power.' (482)
Founding Fathers (from left to right): Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt, Sukarno of Indonesia and Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia
Non-Alignment Movement
by the way...
‘Britain had emerged from the war financially crippled but victorious, its citizens’ national pride powerfully reinforced by their role in the defeat of Hitler. In this context, it is not surprising that doubts about the legitimacy of British imperial rule took some time to surface in Britain, or that the British put down insurrections in the colonies through their traditional combination of arbitration and force.’ (482)
Britain: From the Empire to the Commonwealth
India as an exception to the rule: ‘Britain’s Labour Party, in power from 1945-1951, had a historic commitment to Indian self government, and passive resistance of many Indian political leaders during the war had convinced even ardent imperialists that British rule there was no longer tenable.’ (483)
‘A major turning point in Britain’s imperial policy was the Suez crisis of 1956. (...) Making matters worse, the canal itself was now entirely obstructed by Egyptian-sunk blockships; the British had to endure not only censure abroad and bitter recriminations at home, but also six months of gasoline rationing, with a car mileage limit of 200 miles a month.’ (484)
Following the Suez crisis, 1956:
- dramatic scaling back of military commitments
- winding up Malayan and Kenyan operations
- redeploying colonial forces to Great Britain
- 1959: abolishing universal military service
- granting African colonies independence
‘The Suez crisis was less of a turning point for France than it was for Britain. This was not because the denouement was any less humiliating for France, but rather because it was overshadowed by considerably more traumatic defeats. Before the Suez, there was Dien Bien Phu, and afterward, the surrender of Algeria.’ (484)
France: Decolonization and War
‘Algeria is sometimes described as France’s Vietnam: a protracted and ultimately unsuccessful conflict that provoked a painful questioning of France’s motives and self-image. Particularly on the Left, a major casualty of the war was the concept of France’s civilizing mission. The war, like the American’s war in Vietnam, came to seem unwinnable because French power could be maintained only through methods that destroyed its legitimacy.’ (487)
Algerian Putsch, 1961
European integration
Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Rome
Merger Treaty of Brussels
EMU and EP
Maastricht Treaty
Schengen Convention
Original Six
European Economic Community (EEC)/ European Court of Justice
European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)
Expo 58 (Brussels)
Newspeak: 'humanity'
Peaceful nuclear power
Depicts: Cold War rivalry
'USA Pavilion. Everything they do we can better'
ECSC, EEC, and Euratom: European Community (EC)
European Monetary Union
1st election European Parliament
This treaty turns the European Community into the 'European Union' (EU). The Treaty includes developments for monetary union and a chapter on social policy (the UK secures an opt-out from both). It also introduces the concept of EU Citizenship, which gives Europeans the right to live and vote in elections in any EU country.
The Schengen Convention allows EU citizens to cross national borders without visa or passport checks. France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the Benelux countries are the first to drop border controls (except on the EU's external borders). With the exception of the UK and Ireland, other member states follow later.
US: Marshall Plan --> OEEC (1948)
structural impetus
Czech coup (1948)
Berlin blockade (1948)
threatening impetus
Paxton and Hessler, 492: Initial response: old fashioned military alliances (mutual defence agreements).
- Treaty of Dunkirk, 1947 (Britain and France)
- Treaty of Brussels, March 1948: Britain, France, Benelux

Treaty of Brussels-countries were no match for SU...
(see: Military developments)
The Vandenberg Resolution, June 1948
‘A major shift in Washington was the Senate resolution of June 1948, sponsored by Arthur Vandenberg, Republican senator from Michigan, who converted from isolationism. (...) [A] striking departure from the rapid American withdrawal of troops in 1918 and 1919 and in 1945 and 1946, and from the political isolationism of the prewar Republican Party.'
British foreign secretary Ernest Bevin led the way in creating a five-nation defense coordinating command (...). Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery (...) set up an international command staff (...) outside Paris (...) in 1948. By then, Bevin and Spaak were exploring the idea of a much broader collective defense arrangement against the Soviet Union. The result was NATO, created on April 4, 1949. NATO went far beyond the traditional European military alliance. It committed the United States, for the first time, to a long-term military partnership outside the Americas in peacetime. Together with Canada and ten European nations, the United States agreed to a twenty-year alliance in which ‘an attack upon one’ of the members in Europe, North Africa, or North America would be considered an ‘attack upon all’ (Article 5).’
Two thorny issues:

1) Who belonged to the free world?
(Semi-Fascist Portugal belonged to NATO from the beginning...)

2) Combined question of what to do with West Germany and how far should European nations go in submerging individual sovereignties in a supranational body?
(If Germany were re-armed, would German officers then command French or Dutch or British troops within NATO? Should European soldiers be organized by national units or should a genuine European army be formed in which German, French, British, Italian, Belgian, and Dutch soldiers mingled in the same unit?)
Paxton and Hessler, 493-494
‘After [the French voting down the proposal of a European Defence Community (EDC)], the French got what they least wanted. Not only was Germany rearmed, but also a separate German army was re-created only ten years after Hitler’s death.’
First attempt to found common political institutions for Europe (Strasbourg, France). Annual meetings in Strasbourg ‘better known for gastronomy and abstract language than for any independent political force’ (489)
‘As the British political scientist Wilfrid Pickles observed, the Council of Europe resembled a real parliament about as much as an adulterous weekend at Brighton resembled marriage: ‘it offers some of the pleasures but none of the responsibilities’.’ (489)

Conclusion --> movement for European unity:
- other path than parliamentary path
- proceed without Britain
- supranational institutions on economic level with limited functions. (489)
May 1949, The Council of Europe
From Schuman to De Gaulle
De Gaulle, NATO and the Cuba Crisis

The architects of post-war Europe

Unionism (by detour)
France: Robert Schuman (Christian-democrat)
Germany: Konrad Adenauer (Christian-democrat)
Belgium: Paul-Henri Spaak (anti-communist Socialist): 1st president of OEEC; secretary-general NATO
Italy: Alcide de Gasperi (Christian-democrat)
Schuman plan (ECSC) radical departure from other moves toward European unity:
- completeness limitedness of integration proposed
- sidestepped deadlocked debate between federalists and unionists
- functions of economic planning were new: did not amputate precious prerogatives from existing states nor trespass on sensitive areas of military command or political choice
- political terms: dramatic gain in terms of transcending old nationalisms
- economic terms: efficient exploitation of coal and steel, regardless of national boundaries.
- most striking novelty: High Authority (setting and regulating prices, levying fees to cover costs, technical criteria as basis for investment decisions). (490)
‘The Cuban missile crisis of 1962 underscored the limits of military integration. The superpowers did not go to war over the crisis, but they came within a hair’s breadth of doing so. In making their decisions, they made no pretense of consulting their European allies. (...) So de Gaulle had reasons for his feeling that the integrated command papered over American unilateralism.’ (495)
'The French went a separate way, not entirely by choice: The United States refused to provide technical defense information to the French government, deemed less secure than the British.'(495)

De Gaulle consumed by restoration of his country’s grandeur. (495)
Impetus for restoring country’s grandeur:
- withdrawal from Indochina- withdrawal from Algeria
- Suez crisis
- rejection of American command of NATO forces (495)

From 1958 onwards, De Gaulle began removing French armed forces from the NATO integrated command.
- 1959: pulled out fighter aircrafts squadrons and French Mediterranean fleet.
- 1963: removed Atlantic and Channel fleets from NATO command
- 1966: withdrawal of all French participation from NATO integrated military structures

1966: NATO HQ moves from Paris to near Brussels (495).
De Gaulle:
not necessarily anti-American: support for Kennedy during Berlin and Cuba crisis in 1961 and 1962
not anti-NATO: France was still member of NATO, but he did not accept integrated military command.
1964: De Gaulle extends diplomatic recognition of communist China
increased foreign aid, surpassing US level per capita basis
toured Latin America
denounced American intervention in Vietnam
1966: paid lavish state visit to Moscow, offering Russians ‘detente, entente, and cooperation’

‘For all the anger de Gaulle evoked in the United States, he is best understood as a subtle player of balance-of-power Realpolitik in the European tradition.’ (497)
Cuban missile crisis:

October 1962: US planes discover SU ballistic missiles in Cuba (as close to US border as US missiles in Turkey were to SU border)
Kennedy blockades island and demands immediate withdrawal of SU missiles
Threat: Air strikes against USSR; invasion of Cuba
Situation: highest level of alert; loading nuclear missiles onto US aircraft in Europe.
Unclear communication; time pressure; fatigue
Desire for diplomatic settlement; controlling own partisans of overreaction
Kruschev: turned sixteen Cuba-bound Russian ships around in midocean because Americans agreed not to invade Cuba
Kennedy: acceptation of communist Cuba, secret agreement to remove missiles from Turkey
France's separate way
The symbolic significance of the Cuba Crisis (1962)
De Gaulle: anti-American?
If Russia and the Communists should win the next world war, many American men would be sterilized.

In case the Communists should conquer, our women would be helpless beneath the boots of the Asiatic Russians.
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