- European Integration and the Cold War: Ostpolitik-Westpolitik, 1965–1973
This compilation of essays attempts to bridge the historiographical gap between the role of Western Europe in the early Cold War and the development of the European integration process in the 1960s and early 1970s, concentrating on the foreign policies of the main Atlantic partners. In an essay on France, Georges-Henri Soutou sets out to contrast the European and Cold War policies of Presidents Charles de Gaulle and Georges Pompidou during the 1965–1973 period. De Gaulle’s concept of détente rested on the premise of a “new European security system, not unlike a modernized Concert of Europe” (p. 12), that would include the Soviet Union but not the United States. Within this system France would be guaranteed the greatest possible freedom of action through privileged Franco-Soviet cooperation, the containment of Germany, and leadership of Western Europe, organized through interstate collaboration. Conversely, Pompidou’s vision was that of a collaborative Western world. Although he was not an Atlanticist and was committed to upholding French independence, Pompidou did not wish to induce a U.S. withdrawal from Europe. His strategy did not rely on tacit cooperation with the USSR. Instead, it was built on the possibility of “France’s leadership of Western Europe and on a central role between the two sides of the Atlantic as the first European partner of the United States” (p. 23). Garret Martin looks at a crucial period, from September 1967 to April 1968, exploring how the mounting frustrations of France’s Eastern policy were intimately connected to growing isolation vis-à-vis its Western partners in matters pertaining to French withdrawal from the integrated military command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the reform of the international monetary system.
Wilfried Loth’s chapter on the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) focuses on the crucial relationship between Chancellor Willy Brandt and President Pompidou in relation to the evolving pattern of East-West relations and the possibility of building a more political Europe that would be able to assert itself more clearly from the United States on the question of détente. Loth concludes that the relationship produced the emergence of the European Community as “an independent actor in détente” (p. 63). Andreas Wilkens’s chapter explores the radicalism of the FRG’s Social Democratic government, tracing its evolution from Brandt’s formative years as mayor of Berlin in the 1950s and early 1960s. Wilkens argues that Brandt’s Eastern policy was rooted in the early success of the FRG’s Westpolitik. Wilkens maintains that West “Germany’s European policies evolved according to their own criteria and did not really intersect” with other issues related to the Cold War (p. 78).
Turning to Britain, Helen Parr’s essay identifies the reasons for Harold Wilson’s belated conversion to the idea of European integration and elucidates how the Labour government hoped to prevent de Gaulle from vetoing Britain’s latest bid to enter the European Economic Community (EEC) just as he had earlier vetoed Harold Macmillan’s application. Seeking to reverse the UK’s isolation, British policymakers [End Page 135] strove to “manage the rise of German power, to prevent the spread of Communism across the West, to prolong Western Europe’s ties to the Atlantic and to ensure that America remained committed to the defence of Western Europe” (p. 100). Parr demonstrates that the question of EEC membership was one of the aspects of early European integration for which the connections with the overarching Cold War were most clear. Ultimately, according to Parr, de Gaulle’s veto signified the end of French domination of the EEC. James Ellison’s chapter studies Anglo-American relations in the context of the two countries’ response to de Gaulle’s March 1966 decision to withdraw France from NATO’s integrated military command. According to Ellison, despite asymmetrical tactical approaches, “the Americans and the British shared a common vision of the architecture of the West and a mutual resistance to de...