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

By Alessandro Brogi | Go to book overview

3

Mastering Interdependence? Status, the “Third Force, ” and the Western Alliance

A SELF-RELIANT THIRD FORCE?

On July 8, 1948, at one of the meetings of the Washington Exploratory Talks for an Atlantic Alliance, the chief American representative, Acting Secretary of State Robert Lovett, gave his assessment of a “hypothetical nation in Western Europe, ” which he called “Neuralgia.” This nation, he explained, “was prepared resolutely to defend itself if it could obtain appropriate assistance.” Lovett went on saying that if “Neuralgia” “saw the U.S. associated with some European group to which it was not a party it might see only two alternatives, either to yield to Soviet pressure, or to appeal piecemeal to the U.S. for military assistance.” In order to avert either alternative, the United States had by that time resolved to participate in Europe's collective security arrangements.

Lovett's “diagnosis” of Europe's security problems in “neurological” terms made obvious the link between self-esteem and self-reliance in Europe. Those problems were presumably a symptom of a short-term, pathological condition to be cured, not the basis for a long-term alliance. While accepting overseas commitments, Washington remained devoted to the idea of creating an integrated, self-reliant Western Europe that would do away with the need for constant American assistance. That had been the main purpose of the Marshall Plan. Two months after its announcement, State Department Soviet expert Charles Bohlen wrote: “our main preoccupation now is just how to help Western Europe get on its feet

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Invitation and Pride 13
  • 2 - The Old Game 47
  • 3 - Mastering Interdependence? Status, the “third Force, ” and the Western Alliance 75
  • 4 - Mastering Interdependence? Status, Nationalism, and the European Army Plan 117
  • 5 - Mediterranean “missions” 171
  • 6 - A Question of Leadership 223
  • Conclusions 259
  • Bibliography 275
  • Index 305
  • About the Author 317
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