In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviewed by:
  • Grand Designs and Visions of Unity: The Atlantic Powers and the Reorganization of Western Europe, 1955–1963
  • Aiyaz Husain
Jeffrey Glen Giauque . Grand Designs and Visions of Unity: The Atlantic Powers and the Reorganization of Western Europe, 1955–1963. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002. 326 pp. $19.95 paper.

As U.S. aid helped rebuild war-torn Europe during the onset of the Cold War in the late 1940s, a political settlement gradually took shape uniting the Atlantic powers against the threat of Soviet expansion. At its core was a new security system, anchored by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and a rearmed West Germany, that gave rise to a period of European prosperity and a new spirit of continental cohesion.

But the growing pains of the European integration process soon became glaringly apparent, in setbacks like the failure of the European Defense Community and its common military policy for Western Europe. A political struggle unfolded over the ensuing decade, pitting nationalist agendas and economic protectionism, on the one hand, against competing "grand designs" for a Euro-Atlantic community, on the other.

Grand Designs and Visions of Unity traces the history of that struggle from the perspectives of Britain, France, West Germany, and the United States. As a multi-archival study of competing national policies, the book closely fits the post-revisionist mold of the University of North Carolina Press's New Cold War History series. Jeffrey Giauque's analysis is both nuanced and balanced throughout, providing concise synopses of the diplomatic victories, defeats, and compromises that shaped the foundations of the earliest pan-European institutions of the postwar era.

The U.S. military buildup on the continent in the aftermath of the Korean War, and West Germany's admission into NATO, allayed West European security concerns, butBritish, French, and West German leaders soon clashed over proposals calling for varying degrees of political and economic union. Whereas Gaullist France, West Germany under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, and the rest of "the Six" sought a tariff-protected, supranational Common Market, Britain and "the Seven" were fiercely protective of national sovereignty over economic policies and sought instead the formation of a European Free Trade Area after 1956. The dispute, as Giauque shows, proved to be an agonizingly intractable one that impeded consensus until Britain finally entered the Common Market in January 1973 following de Gaulle's departure from office and French vetoes of three prior British bids to join.

Initiatives for political union posed their own challenges, even after the 1957 Rome Treaty and its implementation the following year. Here, Giauque argues, de Gaulle's arrogance again proved an impediment, one that derailed plans for political integration even after the French leader and his German counterpart had agreed on the rough contours of a proposal at a meeting in Rambouillet.

De Gaulle's reversal of course in 1962, stemming from his ultimate reluctance to [End Page 169] cede French freedom of action to intergovernmental authority, dealt the Fouchet Plan for a European confederation its fatal blow. Still, Giauque contends that the plan and its proposed concert of powers (and not the bilateral Franco-West German rapprochement that ended up taking hold in 1963) was the vision that most accurately represented de Gaulle's own "Grand Design" for Europe. The innate contradictions between de Gaulle's half-hearted multilateralism and the free hand that he refused to surrender, Giauque argues, inevitably led to the collapse of the Fouchet Plan as a workable solution.

Throughout all the negotiations on integration, a sense of continuity characterized national policies, according to Giauque—one that shaped both U.S. and European policies "while the Cold War had somewhat receded to the background" (p. 236). Although the influence of the looming Soviet threat may be open to debate, the book convincingly shows how the same strategic considerations affected policymakers throughout the years of conferences and summits. Policy shifts usually came about only after changes in national leadership, as the more amiable French and West German policies toward Britain after the departures of Adenauer and de Gaulle showed.

In sacrificing depth for breadth in this comparative study, Giauque has sifted massive reams of evidence...