Confronting America: The Cold War between the United States and the Communists in France and Italy

Confronting America: The Cold War between the United States and the Communists in France and Italy

by Alessandro Brogi


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Throughout the Cold War, the United States encountered unexpected challenges from Italy and France, two countries with the strongest, and determinedly most anti-American, Communist Parties in Western Europe. Based primarily on new evidence from communist archives in France and Italy, as well as research archives in the United States, Alessandro Brogi's original study reveals how the United States was forced by political opposition within these two core Western countries to reassess its own anticommunist strategies, its image, and the general meaning of American liberal capitalist culture and ideology.

Brogi shows that the resistance to Americanization was a critical test for the French and Italian communists' own legitimacy and existence. Their anti-Americanism was mostly dogmatic and driven by the Soviet Union, but it was also, at crucial times, subtle and ambivalent, nurturing fascination with the American culture of dissent. The staunchly anticommunist United States, Brogi argues, found a successful balance to fighting the communist threat in France and Italy by employing diplomacy and fostering instances of mild dissent in both countries. Ultimately, both the French and Italian communists failed to adapt to the forces of modernization that stemmed both from indigenous factors and from American influence. Confronting America illuminates the political, diplomatic, economic, and cultural conflicts behind the U.S.-communist confrontation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469622118
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 12/01/2014
Series: The New Cold War History
Pages: 552
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Alessandro Brogi is professor of history at the University of Arkansas and author of two previous books, L'Italia e l'egemonia americana nel Mediterraneo and A Question of Self-Esteem: The United States and the Cold War Choices in France and Italy.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Abbreviations x

Introduction 1

1 The Communists and National Rebirth in France And Italy, 1944-1946 13

2 Confronting the Communists in Government The American Response, 1944-1947 53

3 Polarized Confrontation: U.S. Aid and Propaganda versus Cominform in France and Italy, 1947-1950 87

4 Communist Peace Campaigns And American Psychological Warfare, 1948-1955 122

5 The Cultural Cold War at its Peak Mass Culture and Intellectuals, 1948-1956 157

6 Diplomatic Maneuvering Communist and American Interplay of Foreign and Domestic Policies during the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations 201

7 Redefining Oppression The 1960s, from Affluence to Youth Protest 244

8 Redefining Interdependence The Eurocommunism of the 1970s and the U.S. Response 302

Epilogue cultural and political decline 347

Conclusion 382

Notes 399

Bibliography 473

Index 509

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Alessandro Brogi's impressively researched and convincingly argued book will furnish readers with a comparative dimension from the recent past for today's varieties of anti-Americanism. Confronting America is an extraordinary work of scholarship and deserves the highest praise."--Richard Drake, University of Montana

"The struggle that emerged in Western Europe--specifically in France and Italy--with the onset of the Cold War is the subject of this sound and original analysis. Particularly striking is its demonstration of the vigor and efficiency of the communist propaganda operation."--Charles Cogan, Harvard University

"This is a genuine tour de force. Brogi shows brilliantly how the powerful Communist Parties of Italy and France threatened American hegemony in postwar Europe and how Washington tried to forge an integrated diplomatic, economic, and cultural response. America emerged victorious in the psychological cold war, however, as a result of spontaneous modernizing, democratic, and self-critical forces within itself."--Irwin Wall, University of California, Riverside, and author of The United States and the Making of Postwar France, 1945-1954

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