THE WESTERN ALLIANCE: European-American Relations Since 1945 by Alfred Grosser

THE WESTERN ALLIANCE: European-American Relations Since 1945

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Since American entry into World War II, European politics has been inextricably tied to the U.S.; but, of course, ""Europe"" is less than a unified whole. Le Monde columnist Grosser--a Frenchman of German descent--therefore includes in his history as much material on relations between European states as between them and the U.S. Grosser, moreover, is attentive to the European vision of America--as prosperity incarnate or a nightmare of naked capitalism--built up before the war. The most important of these views was the French caricature of American cultural poverty which, coupled with the separate French revolutionary tradition, set the stage for French independence vis-à-vis American policy. While the immediate postwar period is dominated in Grosser's chronicle by America, Great Britain, France, and Germany, with less attention to Italy, in time France and Germany move more and more to the fore. He sees the French, conscious of their own weakness, courting the USSR as a buffer against the U.S., while West Germany, despite its growing economic power, becomes the principal agent of U.S. policy. There are other important discontinuities as Grosser surveys the impact of the decline of European colonialism and the rise of American imperialism, together with the strains in U.S.-European relations resulting from the international monetary consequences of Vietnam. This is itself tied to the increasing awareness of Europeans, especially after Vatican Il, that Europe's growing prosperity has shifted the principal area of conflict from east-west to north-south. Grosser's chronological narrative includes all the main events and themes of U.S.-European and intra-European politics, including the Suez crisis, French stubbornness on NATO and the EEC, American economic penetration of Europe, the so-called scientific ""brain-drain"" of Europeans to America, etc. There are no shocking revelations, but Grosser knows his material intimately, and any American who wants to begin to understand how Europe and European-American relations got to where they are today would do best to start here.

Pub Date: April 11th, 1980
Publisher: Seabury