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TheCanadian Review of American Studies, Volume 12, No. 1,Spring 1981 Varieties of InternationalHistory HansW.Gatzke. Germany and the United States: "4SpecwlRe/ationship "?Cambridge, ~ass.: Harvard University Press, 1980, 314 + xu pp. Ph,llisKeller.States of Belonging: German-American /nt~llectuals and the First World Wm: Cambridge,Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979. 324 pp. Melvvn P.Leffler. The Elusi11eQuest: America'.5 Pw:mit of Euroiiean Stability and French Security, 1919-1933. ChapelHill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979. 409+xvipp. David S!lduss.lvfenace in the West: The R1:5e of French 4mi-Americanismin Modem Times. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1978. 317 + xxii pp. John McDermott Europeanshave viewed the United States from its inception with profound ambivalence.Some, like Goethe, saw it as a model embodying the best hope forthefuture of mankind; others, like Napoleon and Kaiser Wilhelm II, saw it as the future seat of world power against which Europe would have to combinein one way or another. Yet others, like de Tocqueville, while convincedthat the United States held the key to the future, were distressed by themateralistic, conformist democracy they found and consequently exhibiteda sense of cultural superiority toward the new world. Meantime, the MonroeDoctrine notwithstanding, America made no real diplomatic or politicalimpact upon Europe until the end of the ninteenth century, when theRepublicemerged as the worlds' leading industrial power and, as a result ofitswarwith Spain, an imperial and naval power to be reckoned with. At a timeEuropean tensions were leading toward war, Great Britain was the firstpower to seek accommodation with the United States, 1 a course of actionwhich contributed to America's disposition in Britain's favor in 1914. American relations with the other two major powers of Western Europe, France and Germany, lacked the special quality that existed between the two English-speakingnations. The fact that France and Germany were each other'shereditary enemies added another dimension to their relations with theUnited States as both competed for its support from 1914 to 1916 and 102 John McDermou throughout the 1920s. Their actions signified the enormous influence the United States came to wield in European affairs from the outbreak ofWorld War I to the accession of Franklin Roosevelt to the presidency in 1933,the period of main concern in the series of books reviewed in this essay.The series is nicely balanced, since two books concern Franco-American and two German-American relations; moreover, within each category, one book isin the field of social-intellectual history, while the other concerns political and economic relations. This essay will examine these contrasting approaches to American relations, first with France, then with Germany. Franco-American cultural and political relations have swung betweenthe poles of attraction and repulsion. Alliance and close cultural relationsin the eighteenth century were followed by an undeclared naval war duringthe French Revolution and a state bordering on hostility during the American Civil War. The French have been in the van of critics of American societ\. but the twentieth century has witnessed the Americans and French onth-e same side in two world wars. Yet relations in recent years have been farfrom smooth: Charles de Gaulle virtually withdrew from active participation in the western alliance, and recently France has taken a leading role in frustrating American diplomacy in regard to the Iranian hostage-taking crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Indeed, a sense of sturdy independ· ence from American domination has marked French policy in the post-war era, a subject treated from an intellectual standpoint in the first book under review. David Strauss's Menace in the West examines anti-Americanism as deve!· oped by French intellectuals who travelled in North America and wroteof their experiences over the past two hundred years. The book defines anti· Americanism as an ideology based on opposition to the values, institutions and practices of American society, rather than opposition to particular, American policies which might run counter to French interests at any parti·' cular time. Although the book traces opinions of the United States fromtht eighteenth century to the present, it concentrates on the period from 1917to 1932 as crucial in the development of the contemporary French viewof America. For it was during this time that American "mass culture...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 101-112
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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