Confronting America: The Cold War between the United States by Alessandro Brogi

By Alessandro Brogi

Through the chilly warfare, the us encountered unforeseen demanding situations from Italy and France, international locations with the most powerful, and determinedly such a lot anti-American, Communist events in Western Europe. established totally on new facts from communist documents in France and Italy, in addition to examine files within the usa, Alessandro Brogi's unique learn unearths how the us was once pressured via political competition inside of those center Western international locations to think again its personal anticommunist concepts, its snapshot, and the overall that means of yankee liberal capitalist tradition and ideology.

Brogi exhibits that the resistance to Americanization was once a serious try for the French and Italian communists' personal legitimacy and lifestyles. Their anti-Americanism used to be as a rule dogmatic and pushed by way of the Soviet Union, however it used to be additionally, at the most important occasions, sophisticated and ambivalent, nurturing fascination with the yankee tradition of dissent. The staunchly anticommunist usa, Brogi argues, came upon a winning stability to battling the communist probability in France and Italy by means of using international relations and fostering situations of light dissent in either international locations. eventually, either the French and Italian communists did not adapt to the forces of modernization that stemmed either from indigenous elements and from American impression. Confronting America illuminates the political, diplomatic, financial, and cultural conflicts at the back of the U.S.-communist confrontation.

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

Sample text

The PCF had started to consolidate cultural power during the Popular Front years, suffered several defections after André Gide’s denunciation of the Soviet purges and after the Nazi-Soviet Pact, then regained cultural ascendancy during the Liberation—in spite, and some would say in part because, of the communist-led épuration of several intellectuals through questionable trials. In fact, the dialectic between culture and politics in France had traditionally been broader and more autonomous than in most other European countries, a legacy that prevented the PCF from exerting as strong a cultural hegemony as the PCI.

34 This almost instinctive reverence of Moscow, as we will see, determined an almost equally mechanical condemnation of Washington, distorting some of the national themes behind Western communist anti-Americanism. But toeing the Soviet line was not as counterproductive as has been argued. Precisely because France and Italy were in the Western camp, the Communists in both countries enjoyed the advantage of not having to confront their promise of an alternative world with everyday reality. It was relatively easy for them to project, especially at the mass level, an idealistic image NATIONAL REBIRTH IN FRANCE AND ITALY 23 of a Soviet-dominated world and overemphasize the oppressive nature of the American presence.

Above all, democratic nationalism signified the right of the proletariat to represent national interests, as opposed to the decadent bourgeoisie, which was responsible for the March on Rome, Munich, and Vichy. For the French Communists there was a spiritual equivalence between their leader, former miner Maurice Thorez, who, underscoring his humble origins, proclaimed NATIONAL REBIRTH IN FRANCE AND ITALY himself a fils du peuple (son of the people), and the historic fille du peuple, Joan of Arc.

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