For Europe or empire? French Colonial Ambitions and the European Army Plan
Sammanfattning: This study deals with the furst attempt at postwar European integration in the defense and foreign policy fields. The European army plan was laid forth by Paris in 1950 after Washington demanded a German contribution to Western defense. Claiming that she could not accept a German presence in NATO, France instead drafted a plan for a supranational, European army. This ill-fated proposal occupied much of the political debate both within Western Europe and between France and the United States until 1954, when the European Defence Community Treaty was buried, ironically in the same state that had conceived it, by the French National Assembly. Research has generally concentrated on the European arena when analyzing this episode. A basic premise of this study is that the European army plan must be approached from a broader global perspective. The proposal is here positioned within a wider context involving the major postwar processes of the emergence of the transatlantic partnership, European integration, and decolonization. The thesis is that it was not merely the fear of German rearmament that prompted Paris to pursue a European army option rather than a NATO solution. Instead, the author highlights the significance of French colonial ambitions, specifically against the background of the Indochina War, coupled with the nature of Franco-American relations. The study involves two approaches. First, American hegemony over Western Europe and the particular dynamics of this relationship form a core of the study. It is argued that the nature of the transatlantic relationship granted France a certain leverage over the United States, particularly since Washington made clear that European unity was a foremost foreign policy priority. Secondly, patterns of image-construction and the importance of perceptions to foreign policy making are discussed in order to illuminate the French view of both the colonial arena and America's position in this context. A significant portion of the study is dedicated to tracing the evolution and crystallization of French views of America as a disturbing factor in the colonial world even after Washington began supplying France with assistance in the Indochina War, and this analysis is taken back to World War II. The connection between the European army plan and the Indochina War in Franco-American diplomatic interaction is then traced for the years 1950 to 1954.
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