Journal of Cold War Studies 6.2 (2004) 71-73
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Volker R. Berghahn, America and the Intellectual Cold Wars in Europe. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001. 400 pp. $39.50.
Cultural diplomacy, long a staple of great-power foreign policy, entered America's repertoire during the early Cold War years. Previous books by Frank Costigliola, Richard Kuisel, and Frances Stonor Saunders have documented Washington's official and unofficial efforts to counter Soviet power and, especially, to mobilize the West European allies. In America and the Intellectual Cold Wars in Europe, Volker Berghahn, the Seth Low Professor of History at Columbia University, who has written extensively on modern German history and postwar U.S.-German relations, examines the remarkable career of Shepherd Stone. As a journalist, military-intelligence officer, and foundation official, Stone conducted an almost single-handed effort to forge strong transatlantic cultural links while building a Western bulwark against European and global Communism.
Stone was uniquely suited for his historical role. Born Shepherd Arthur Cohen, the grandson of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, in 1908, he was raised in comfortable circumstances in Nashua, New Hampshire and enjoyed four happy years at Dartmouth College, where he acquired the social skills and connections that graced his long life. Stone's second formative influence came during his years of study in Germany from 1929 to 1932 in the waning days of the Weimar Republic. During that time the young man, who had changed his name to Stone, imbibed the cultural and intellectual riches of Berlin and Heidelberg, completed a doctoral dissertation on German diplomacy toward Poland, and also met his future wife, Charlotte Hasenclever- Jaffé. Upon returning to the United States, Stone, choosing journalism over an academic career, used his contacts to land a job at TheNew York Times, where he distinguished himself as a reporter and analyst of Nazi Germany. His contacts in Germany also enabled him to rescue his Jewish in-laws at the last minute, in 1941, from Hitler's tightening noose.
Once the United States entered World War II, Stone, serving as an army intelligence officer, participated in the Normandy landing, the American advance through [End Page 71] France and Belgium, and, in October 1944, the invasion of Germany. During his thirteen-month stint in the postwar U.S. military administration in Germany, Stone helped revive the German press and opposed the harshness of the occupation. Despite the appalling evidence of the Third Reich's crimes, including the murder of his Lithuanian relatives, Stone placed himself squarely in the "anti-Shirer camp" that sympathized with the "other Germany" and insisted that America's mission was not to punish the civilian population but to win its hearts and minds. He thus established a positive reputation among older Germans by, for example, helping to exonerate his former professor, and the future Federal Republic president, Theodor Heuss, for having published a few articles in Josef Goebbels's Das Reich.
After briefly resuming a journalistic career, Stone returned to Germany in 1949 as director of public affairs under the U.S. high commissioner for Germany, John J. McCloy. For the next three years, Stone expanded his dense network of German and European social and political contacts. In this tense McCarthyist era, he tried to sell the United States to a still skeptical audience in the new, semi-sovereign West German state while continuing to monitor its press and subsidize liberal publications.
Berghahn, in his five middle chapters, interrupts his chronicle of Stone's personal career to examine the broader context of the man's endeavors. Berghahn first discusses the long Western intellectual tradition that had opposed mass democracy and that, after World War II, challenged U.S. claims to cultural as well as political leadership. He then introduces the Paris-based Congress of Cultural Freedom (CCF), founded by antifascist, anti-Communist intellectuals both to counter the cultural elitists and pessimists and to compete against Moscow's populist appeals by creating a European and global network of exhibitions, congresses, and publications extolling freedom and countering authoritarianism. After this, Berghahn turns to the...