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Journal of Cold War Studies 4.4 (2002) 114-118

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Book Review

France Restored:
Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe, 1944-1954

William Hitchcock, France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe, 1944-1954. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998. 291 pp. $49.95.

Partisans of the European Defense Community (EDC) remained in a state of nostalgia long after the EDC's demise at the hands of the French National Assembly on 30August 1954. The EDC, they believed, would have been the way to solder France and Germany together in perpetuity by that most supreme of instruments, a fused army. This was to be done by the "Monnet method" of taking away sovereignty partially and en douceur and placing it in a bath of communities, secretariats, and courts, as hadbeen done with the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) of a few years earlier. [End Page 114]

In truth, however, the rush toward the EDC was prompted by a desire to save the ECSC. In the aftermath of North Korea's invasion of South Korea, Jean Monnet "knew that the question of [West German] rearmament would not be postponed" (p.140). If West Germany were to enter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and rearm, it might, in drawing closer to the Western Alliance, cast off the supranational strictures that the ECSC had imposed. "To protect the Schuman Plan, therefore [said Monnet], France must take the initiative and propose the participation of Germany 'in a federated organization for the rearmament of western Europe'" (p.140).

The motivation of Monnet, Schuman, and others of that breed of Euro- peanists—comparable, one might say, to the cohort of "Wise Men" in the United States at the time—was a mix of altruism and power lust, as William Hitchcock observes:

The EDC would forestall German entry into NATO; it would have the backing of the broader Western Alliance of which it would be a part; and it would provide a common defense built on Franco-German and European solidarity.... French influence in Europe would be enhanced both by the creation of a web of guarantees and controls over Germany and by a stable, integrated, and unified Europe based on a Franco-German entente.... French officials calculated that European integration would serve the national interest by enhancing economic recovery, containing Germany, and strengthening French influence in world affairs. (pp.165, 178, 204)

The "Monnet method," Hitchcock argues in France Restored, grew out of a "planning consensus" that Monnet had developed in his program for the economic revival of France after World War II: "This approach to international relations—one that sought to build a transnational consensus in favor of stability without resolving fundamental and persistent national antagonisms—harkened back to the planning consensus that Monnet had urged on state, labor and industry in the first years following the war." (p.208)

The emphasis was on both words: planning, as in central planning, dear to the French mind long before "scientific" Marxism came along; and Monnet's own particular style of consensus—getting people to work together and pooling their talents across government ministries, without regard to hierarchies. Monnet's long established devise was "to unite men, to solve the problems that divide them, and to persuade them to see their common interest." (See Jean Monnet, Memoirs, trans. by Richard Mayne, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978, p.221.)

Hitchcock's masterfully researched work is much more than a political and diplomatic history of the first ten postwar years. It is an economic history as well, and indeed it would have to be, considering the outlook of the French rulers at the time:"[Robert] Schuman saw that France could attain many of the economic controls over Germany that were deemed vital to French security but they had to be couched in the language of planning and productivity" (p.4). As John Lewis Gaddis points out in a preface to the book: "By documenting the linkage between France's...