Posthumous Coronation and Détente: The Year of Europe
In the 1950s and the 1960s the United States had totally dominated Europe. After that the situation changed. We had no objection to Europe unifying itself and that it assert itself more. Our objective was to give a new emotional content to the Atlantic alliance. At the beginning of our initiative, we expected this would lead to a summit in several months' time. We were not expecting an esoteric and theological drafting exercise which would last a year and a half.
Henry A. Kissinger on the Year of Europe. 1
The year 1973 marked a transition and a departure from the period of détente between the two superpowers ("under the sign of détente, destabilization gained little by little, resulting in a new cold war" 2), and also a period of adjustment in relations within the Western camp.
After a period of total incomprehension between Lyndon Johnson and Charles de Gaulle which saw the withdrawal of France from the NATO-integrated command, the American administration, represented by the tandem of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, was reputed to be better disposed toward Europe and especially France. On the French side Georges Pompidou had come to the Elysée Palace hardly several months after Nixon was installed in the White House. It was discontinuity within continuity: down deep, Georges Pompidou did not want to hear of Charles de Gaulle, but he had need of the Gaullist "barons."
In 1965, in the middle of a decade marked overall by stormy relations between Washington and Paris, Henry Kissinger wrote a book on the Atlantic alliance, The Troubled Partnership. In it is a chapter devoted to France. Without knowing