Western Europe after wwii

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Western Europe after WWII

I. Western Europe

A. General


- growth of conglomerates
- State involvement

: Britain

: France
: Italy
- Western European Social Democracy




1. Economic union

-immediately after WWII, European countries began to move their economies closer to each other

-this was partly a requirement of Marshall Plan and partly realization that individual countries were

too small to compete

- 1951:

- 1957:

: originally W. Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg

: France vetoed British entry twice and so it didn’t join until 1973

: supranational organization, standardization....

: evolved, and still exists as:

: formation

: borders

: currency

: there are concerns about loss of sovereignty, German domination, wealthy

nations supporting poor nations

: it helps Europe compete w/US but it also has problems (countries still try to

protect their markets -

: as of Spring, 2007:
2. Rise of the Christian Democrats; a European phenomenon

B. Britain

-despite Churchill’s war record, Conservatives lost 1945 elections

- Labour Party takes power, led by Clement Attlee, planned to get Britain back on its feet by:

1) Major reforms, mostly nationalization

2) Austerity program

3) Decolonization (partly to pay for reform)

This meant independence for:

-Three (3) important reforms:

1) Nationalized major industries: coal, RR, transportation, utilities, Bank of England, part of steel industry

-unlike other socialist nationalizations:

-approx 20% of economy left under control of private business interests...
2) expanded education and social security

3) national health care

- Conservatives with Churchill and others returned to power 1951-1964


: reaction to socialism

: the "American Alliance"
: 1957 -
: 1960's the "British disease" of economic inertia
: 1962, Kennedy-Macmillan Nassau Agreement

- Labour back 1964-1970, Harold Wilson... wage and price freezes, renationalization of steel

- conditions in 1950s and 1960s worse in Britain than in US or W. Germany

- British economic weakness

: industry became outdated (b/c IR was 1st in Britain, it was outdated 1st), obsolete plants



: “brain drain” of engineers and scientists who moved to US or Canada

-economic problems due to above problems meant that economy grew slower than in other

- Social and educational reforms

: Oxford and "red brick" universities"

: Comprehensive high schools

: National health plan reforms

- Immigration and rise of racism

: Immigration labor

: inner city neglect, high unemployment, drugs

-Britain was considered a popular culture trend-setter b/c of Beatles and Rolling Stones

-"Irish problem" reappeared in late 1960s... "The Troubles"

: IRA v. Royal Ulster Constabulary

:IRA strengthened and Protestants started “marching season” to celebrate Battle of the

Boyne and other victories of William III in 1690s

: 1969 -

: by 1972, violence between Protestants and Catholics in N. Ireland forced Britain to suspend

N. Ireland parliament and ruled it directly....

: Good Friday Agreement-George Mitchell

1970's... Edward Heath's Conservative gov't takes back power from the Labor Party

: 1973
: Miner's confrontation

Labour Party came back to power under Harold Wilson in , major issues included:

: Scottish devolution

: North Sea Oil

: Inflation and results

"The Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher, 1979-1992... return of the Conservative Party and a dominant leader in the 20th C in United Kingdom

: Thatcherism:

: 1982 Falklands War
: 1983-87 - reshaping of British economy

: Criticisms

: 1987 victory

: Mounting criticism led to resignation

John Major's Conservative government, the "appointed heir" of Thatcher is a disappointment, 1992

Tony Blair's "new" Labour Party wins in 1997 after voters disconnect with British Conservative's foreign policies



Gordon Brown takes over as Prime Minister... key issues:

D. France

4th Republic established after WWII and lasted until 1958

Led by de Gaulle then he retired in 1946
Politically it was a mess as govts collapsed quickly (e.g., there were 25 premiers)
Faced colonial rebellions in Algeria and Vietnam
War with Algeria caused chaos in politics and society --> some feared civil war and wanted a strong

leader --> de Gaulle returned


: nationalized key industries, increased social welfare policies

: industry and economy grew

Debacle in Vietnam and the defeat of the French

Dien Bien Phu

5th Republic started in 1958

: de Gaulle in power 1958-1969; had lots of power
: he was authoritarian and dedicated to making France strong

: centralized govt and economy

: he was skeptical of US diplomatic influence and cultural Americanization
: wanted France, not Britain, to lead new Europe

: refused to sign Nuclear Test Ban treaty and exploded 1st nuclear bomb in 1960

: pulled out of NATO and kicked out NATO troops in 1966
1968 massive student and worker riots in Paris (like other 1968 disturbances)

de Gaulle ended riots and made changes and then held a referendum to change constitution to

make further changes -->
1968 - 1974: Georges Pompidou and Gaullists' coalition with the Centrists

Administration marked by reconciliation; allowed Britain into Common Market 1973

Much industrialization and less socialist

Died unexpectedly in 1974

1974 - 1981: Valery Giscard d'Estaing and the French Republicans; Center Rightist

Attempts to modernize France's infrastructure

TGV trains

Turn to dependence on nuclear power

French foreign policy in former African colonies became more involved and even aggressive
Scandals involving him and African powers limited his effectiveness; the Bokassa Diamonds
1981 - 1995: Francois Mitterrand and the French Socialist Party

First socialist president and longest serving (14 years)

Member of the French Resistance during WWII; fought the Nazis actively

Master of parliamentary politics


At first, began several classic socialist programs

Nationalization of industries/transportation

Increase in minimum wages

Longer vacations and limited workweeks

Eliminated the death penalty

Tax on wealth (the Solidarity Tax)

.... but unemployment and inflation grew; partly a world-wide problem and partly policy

1982 - the famous Mitterand U-Turn

  • austerity and public spending cuts

  • turned to center: market reforms

Laid groundwork and completed Maastrict Treaty (1992): the EU!

Experienced growth of anti-immigrant sentiment
Rise of right wing elements and nativism

Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front

Racist, anti-Semitic party; fear of N. African immigrants and Islam
1995 - Present: Jacques Chirac and Gaullists defeated the Socialists

Resumed nuclear testing leading to global criticism

1996 - rejoined NATO

Growing fear of Americanization... "McDonalds"

Trimmed socials services and tried to reform socialist programs; met with massive strikes and

forced to back down

Increased backlash against immigration problem; waves of violence 2005 and 2006
C. West Germany

I. The German "Miracle"

Immediate post-war: deNazification program

US and Britain diligently tried to “denazify” Germany

Not thorough; needed leaders for rebuilding

Tried 2 million cases by 1948

Nuremburg Trails and worldwide quest of Israeli "Nazi-hunters"


Despite USSR plundering, W. German economy thrived after WWII

USSR dismantled ~300 factories before W. Allies occupied Germany and took factories back

to USSR as reparation payments

Marshall Plan rebuilt Germany

Due to WWII destruction, most German industry had to be rebuilt new in later 1940s;

starting over from scratch

Major cartels left alone; served as nucleus for rebuilding

Cheap labor - influx of refugees from eastern Europe provided this

No colonial empire to dismantle

No defense spending; security guaranteed by former Allies excepting USSR

Cooperation of all segments of population; guilt

Scarcity of goods worldwide made production profitable

Virtually no unemployment; too much to be done

Combination of free market economics with government assuming responsibility for social

welfare of the people

From 1950-1965, real wages doubled and work hours decreased 20%;

1965 unemployment = 1/2%

In 1950s and 1960s, Germany had a favorable balance of trade and low inflation

This economic growth benefited all classes and attracted immigrants from Italy, Turkey

II. Governments

1949-1969: Konrad Adenauer and the Christian Democratic Party; prosperity regained

Adenauer had been a mayor and had no Nazi connections

Wanted to reconcile with European neighbors, especially France

Supported and cooperated with U.S. policies; critics wanted a neutral, unified Germany

Agreed to pay reparations to Israel for Holocaust

Germany has full sovereignty returned, was rearmed and joined NATO in 1955 as a response

to communist threats after Korean War

1959 - German Socialist Party moved its positions more center (Godesburg Program)

  • limited planning

  • maximum of freedom in economic development

  • reform, not revolution

  • cooperation; abandon class struggle

  • comparison to:

1969-1974: Willy Brandt and the Social Democrats; a Liberal coalition government

Followed “Ostpolitik” = political focus was east, especially E. Germany

1970 - concluded separate Treaty of Moscow

1972 - 2 Germanys acknowledged each other in a treaty

Made a highly symbolic apology gesture by visiting a Holocaust memorial

Expanded social services; more movement towards ideal of social democracy

1974-1982: Helmut Schmidt

Codetermination Law

Major economic gains

World leadership reached in manufacturing

Automobiles, chemicals, machine tools, optics, communications equipment

German mark eclipses British pound as currency of choice

1979 - emergence of Green Party

Escalation of Cold War

Stationing of U.S. Pershing and cruise missiles

Soviet SS-20's

1982-1998: Helmut Kohl and Christian Democratic-Liberal coalition resurgence

Economic: more free market initiatives

Sought more integration of European states; worked well with French president Mitterand

The 10 Point Plan for Reunification

Revival of German pride under the CDU with U.S. support

Achieved reunification with East Germany!! MAJOR Success of his administration

Green Party and Social Democrats challenged him on environmental issues and lack of

support for working classes; too much focus on success of business at expense of

these other issues: The RED-GREEN Coalition

Embarrassments with U.S. as a partner: Reagan's Bitburg fiasco

Rise of German right after reunification

"Republicans" led by Franz Schonhuber (former SS officer)

Neo-Nazis and "skinheads"

1998 - 2005: Gerhard Schroder led the Red-Green Coalition to victory; New Socialism

1999 - building of Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

2003-2005: Germans became increasingly dissatisfied with Schroder's ties with the U.S.

after invasion of Iraq

2005 - Present: Angela Merkl and Christian Democrats return to power
C. Reunited Germany

New capital?

Tensions between old East and West; "Ossis" and "Wessis"

Ossis: loss of many social benefits, see westerners as boastful, insensitive, arrogant

Wessis: resent higher taxes to rebuild east, see easterners as lazy and backwards

Effects of privatization in former East Germany severe

High unemployment

Loss of welfare benefits

Loss of identity!

Purges of former East German secret police, the Stasi, were unpopular in east

Rise in immigration and asylum seekers creating enormous tensions, backlash of nativism and

increase in right-wing, neo-fascist/neo-Nazi/skinhead activities

E. Italy


1946: Italians voted to end monarchy b/c it collaborated with Mussolini and establish a republic

  • weak centralized government.... Why?

  • Strong element of regionalism

  • Catholic Church a major factor in all politics

  • North v. South tension still existed

Politically chaotic b/c there were many small political parties that won seats in parliament

based on # of votes.... SO no real majority in parliament and govts had to be coalitions (Israel has

this problem also)

Govt officials still tended to be corrupt and not trusted

Govts fell quickly (avg is slightly more than 1/year)

Two strongest parties were Christian Dems and Communists

Despite political instability, economy thrived in 1950s and 1960s

Still problems with under-developed south

Tourism and fashion were major industries

Political events of importance....

1962-63: Call for social reform in Italy by Pope John XXIII through the Catholic Church

1962: Pope issued Pacem in Terris; called for peace and collaboration with the left
Emergence of Euro-Communism in 1970's

1970's and 80's: terrorist unrest and formation of the Red Brigades

PM Aldo Moro assassinated

Decline of Christian Democrats

Fall of communism; was their major justification of being in power

Scandals and corruption: "Clean Hands" campaign v. Mafia assassinations

1992: center-right coalition led to election of Silvio Berlusconi (Go Italy!)

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