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  • American and the Intellectual Cold Wars in Europe: Shepard Stone between Philanthropy, Academy, and Diplomacy
  • Derek Lundy
Volker R. Berghahn , American and the Intellectual Cold Wars in Europe: Shepard Stone between Philanthropy, Academy, and Diplomacy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001. 362 pp.

The debate over the U.S. war in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 has highlighted a conflict of far-reaching implications—the festering rift between the United States and some of its key European allies. This transatlantic divide is not a recent phenomenon. The new and old worlds have eyed each other suspiciously since as far back as the XYZ Affair in 1798, and the antagonism has waxed and waned throughout the twentieth century. European counties have often decried U.S. naïveté, prompting Americans to grumble that "old Europe" has long since passed its zenith as the economic, military, intellectual, and cultural center of the world.

Using the life of American diplomat Shepard Stone as a backdrop, Volker Berghahn has added an important chapter to the account of the often tumultuous U.S.-European relationship. From many different angles, he examines the little- studied transatlantic intellectual and cultural relationship during the Cold War. Although this relationship—the war for "hearts and minds"—was not as prominent as the Cold War military balance, it was aimed at an important and complex goal that by many measures the United States never fully achieved.

Born to Jewish immigrants, Shepard Stone studied in Berlin during the Weimar era. He quickly became a Germanophile and a staunch opponent of Nazism before joining the The New York Times as a European expert. During the war, he left his journalism career and became the director of the Office of Public Affairs for the U.S. High Commission in Germany (HICOG), where he was involved in helping to rebuild prewar Germany and promote American culture in Western Europe. Much of this work consisted of developing transatlantic institutional and personal networks. Not only did HICOG build German democratic institutions, foster a free press, and facilitate cultural exchanges, but Stone also helped develop personal relationships between leading intellectuals across the Atlantic.

Later, when Stone went to work for the Ford Foundation, he continued to develop transatlantic ties and became primarily involved with the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an international organization with no endowment of its own that projected an image abroad of American culture as diverse and vibrant. Stone fought an uphill battle at the Ford Foundation to help fund the Congress and the liberal journals it sponsored across Western Europe. He eventually left the foundation to help the Congress's foundering successor, the short-lived International Association for Cultural Freedom.

By pasting together a highly detailed account of Stone's professional life—the perfect vehicle for tracing the cultural and intellectual transatlantic relationship— Berghahn has shed light on the bureaucratic underpinnings of government andphilanthropic cultural initiatives during the Cold War. Berghahn shows us the [End Page 152] inner workings of the organizations with which Stone was associated, while at the same time laying out the intellectual reasoning behind the various organizations and projects.

Surprisingly, Stone spent much of his time struggling to keep his projects alive. The Congress for Cultural Freedom always had funding trouble, and its days were numbered as soon as word leaked out that most of its finances were coming from theU.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Moreover, the International Association for Cultural Freedom never really got off the ground, and Stone eventually left to join the Aspen Institute.

Although Berghahn's account of these events is interesting, his real contribution is the scrutiny he gives to the intellectual and cultural differences between the United States and Europe during the Cold War, an overlooked point that reverberates to this day. The United States had two tasks at hand within the cultural conflict of the Cold War, and Stone was involved in both: mobilizing Europe against Communism and combating the prevalent anti-Americanism among Europeans. After the fall ofBerlin, the United States was undoubtedly the most powerful democracy in theworld. Not only did its military and its economy eclipse those of its allies, butAmerican mass culture, in the form of Hollywood films...