Confronting America: The Cold War between the United States and the Communists in France and Italy

Synopsis

Throughout the Cold War, the United States encountered unexpected challenges from Italy and France, two countries with the strongest, and determinedly most anti-American, Communist Parties in Western Europe. Based primarily on new evidence from communist archives in France and Italy, as well as research archives in the United States, Alessandro Brogi's original study reveals how the United States was forced by political opposition within these two core Western countries to reassess its own anticommunist strategies, its image, and the general meaning of American liberal capitalist culture and ideology. Brogi shows that the resistance to Americanization was a critical test for the French and Italian communists' own legitimacy and existence. Their anti-Americanism was mostly dogmatic and driven by the Soviet Union, but it was also, at crucial times, subtle and ambivalent, nurturing fascination with the American culture of dissent. The staunchly anticommunist United States, Brogi argues, found a successful balance to fighting the communist threat in France and Italy by employing diplomacy and fostering instances of mild dissent in both countries. Ultimately, both the French and Italian communists failed to adapt to the forces of modernization that stemmed both from indigenous factors and from American influence.Confronting Americailluminates the political, diplomatic, economic, and cultural conflicts behind the U.S.-communist confrontation.