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Europe's Troubled Peace
Political Studies

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Europe during wartime
  • ideological richness
  • absence of consensus (contrary to after WWII)

1939 democracy limited to Britain, France, Switzerland, some states in NW Europe + Scandinavia

>democracy part of problem


Rise Hitler Mussolini > response to failure of establishing a European order for security


1919 Treaty of Versailles
  • humiliation of GER without destruction of economic power
  • creation of weak smaller states in central and eastern Europe out of Austrian/Hungarian empire > future sphereof influence of GER + USSR
1925 Locarno Treaty
  • guarantee of western European borders
  • followed by stabilizing Weimar Republic
  • rescheduling of reparation

> first idea of a European Federal Union to overcome FRA-GER antagonism

Development early 1930s
  • rise of Hitler Germany
  • collapse League of Nations
  • great depression
  • revival of nationalism

> GB, FR pursue appeasement of Germany, mainly to pursue self interest


> Munich agreement 1938, aversion of war, GER receives CZ borderlands (Sudetenland)


> USSR opposed fascism in Spain but signed non-agression pact with Hitler (because west unable to detain him

Great depression
  • undermined confidence in democracies, raised credentials of communism (eg. France Popular Front)
  • reinforced existing social order (social division still apparent)
  • race and ethnicitiy gained new salience (Croatian vs. Serb-dominated Yugoslavia, Slovak vs. Czech domination in CZ)

> no economic plan for recovery (e.g. Keynes) in place, countries used short term remedies, tariffs, nationalization, currency devaluation)

Cultural significance

Esp. dictatorships used mass media and understood the use of culture to shape certain beliefs and a sense of community


> Cinecitta Italy

> Marches by Nazi Germany

Role of Europe in World

Europe remained preeminent force:

  • colonies (actions of imperial powers have worldwide implications, somewhat disadvantage)
  • economic advantages (raw materials / markets)
Europe 1939-42, German integration ideology

Most of Europe controlled by Nazis:

West: Atlantic (France), East: Caucasus

North: Norway, South: Greece


Operation Barbarossa 1941 > Sept. 1942 Stalingrad


Nature of german occupation: create german-dominated Europe, germanic races (eg Norway) could be incorporated, slavic one obliterated

Structure of Nazi occupation
  1. directly integrated into Germany (Western Poland, Alsace-Lorraine, Slovenia)
  2. local nationalist/fascist party remained or put in power with consent from Germany (Norway, Belgium)
  3. other local government remains in power with consent from Germany (NL, Denmark)
  4. France divided into occupied zone (NW, most of population) and free zone under collaborist Vichy-Regime


US enters WWII

initially of little significance

  • troops needed at least year for deplolyment
  • war with Japan stretched resources

Axis allies offered less support than Hitler envisaged (esp. Italy)


ranged from unavoidable support to active one

  • less active collaboration in eastern Europe, where Germany wanted to create Lebensraum, semi-germanic races received benefits
  • GER didn't use anti-semitism and anti-stalininism in eastern Europe effectively
  1. Relatively small number of wholehearted supporters (also from the left occassionally)
  2. Some use Nazi occupation to pursue own agenda, eg Petain to establish conservative rule in Vichy
  3. offered opportunities for minorities, eg. Slovaks and Flemish nationalists in Belgium

Powerful resistance armies in Yugoslavia, Poland, Greece and Albania > yet dependent on allied successes


  • some where authoritarian and nationalist (Stauffenberg)
  • some where anti-semitic (Poland)
  • some where active in own civil wars


Warsaw uprising encouraged by USSR, then crushed by Germans


In western Europe much weaker than in eastern Europe (communists major force) > generally important as foundation of new political structures

Battle of Stalingrad 9/1945

Major turning point

afterwards, Hitlers allies became enemies (Italy 1943, Hungary 1944, Romania 1944, Bulgaria, Finland)


D-Day 6 July 1944 opened second front > Germany squeezed in between allied forces



Defining political structure after WWII

western allies:

  1. considerable continuity with existing elites
  2. prevention of communist takeover sought

> not necessarily greater justice

> primarily exiled leaders important (de Gaulle, Norway, NL, CZ, PL)


>>> underlying tendency of conservative capitalism + welfare state

Neutral Europe

Belgium, NL, DK, NOR conquested despite neutral status > others not, but primarily because they could offer advantages to GER


  • Spain: pro axis (Franco)
  • Portugal: pro allies (Salazar)
  • Sweden: pro allies (coalition gov't)

generally most offered military and economic support to Germany, while eg. Portugal also assisted allies

Human and Physical costs

67% of jewish pop. gone (6 mil.), in PL 90% in NL 75%

>primarily in Nazi occupied western Europe

>often local support

>change of ethnic map in some countries, eg. Poland


USSR looses 27 mill. people > new legitimacy for communism


Yugoslavia: Croat Utasha attempted to clear country of Serbs


Britain financed war, "bankrupt victor"


France humiliated by occupation


Germany after WWII

7 million dead, approx. 3.2 mill civilians

  • only 6.5% of machine tools destroyed
  • postwar capital stock 1/5 higher than pre-war, due to Nazi investment programmes
  • huge remaining industrial potential
  • 3.5 million Germans expelled (Sudetenland)
Judgement after WWII
  • GER considered allied bombings war crimes
  • GER considered USSR atrocities war crimes

> no jurisdiction for such matters created

> precursor for current war-crime tribunals

  • US: strict screening of all Germans
  • UK: pragmatic screening, prioritising rehabilitation of German society (prevailed)
  • USSR: fundamental reform of capitalist structure

>2/3 of cases received immediate amnesty

> 50% of GER civil servants after WWII were former Nazis

General De-Nazification problems

Serious cleaning vs. quick pragmatical recovery


in easter Europe opponents werde disposed, using argument of de-nazification

Yugoslavia: Utasha + Chetnik

CZ: Tiso


not predominantly justice for victims


Europe between the Powers

US and USSR established themselves in Europe until 1990


cold war divisions already visible during wartime alliance (prime objective: hold coalition until war is over)


already 1944 USSR installes pro-soviet gov'ts in Romania + Bulgaria

Yalta 2/1945

Future Poland / Germany, USSR firmly established in Europe

  • Formation of UN
  • eastern border of Poland (Curzon Line), compensation in the west grom ermany
  • division of occupied zones in GER
  • France received own zone (carved out of western zone)
  • commission established to assign levels and distributions of reparation
Potsdam summit (7/8 1945)

largely inconclusive, reitareted or detailed earlier satements


> primarily signalled decline of grand alliance

After Potsdam summit

USSR destroys non-communist forces in Poland + Bulgaria (breach of Yalta Agreement)


>1946 iron curtain speech by Churchill


US public view:

  • quick postwar settlement (+ withdrawal of forces)
  • no serious issues in Balkans + eastern Europe
Civil War in Greece

US needed clear signal that serious peace-time effort was needed


Greece used as opportunity to fight against communism (1st ermegence of Truman doctrine)


US stood in for UK, supported totalitarian regime.


other POV: Europe lured US into perceived communist threat, which wasn't particularly dangerous

The German Question (Yalta Agreement)
  1. de-nazification
  2. democratization
  3. demilitarization
  4. decentralization

> aim: hinder future german aggression

Allied ideas in German question
  • France: small states, Rhineland under french control
  • USSR: fighting for control in occupied zones yet leaving space for neutral Germany under russian influence
  • USA: transform Germany into rural society
  • UK: pragmatic approach
Rfit in Alliance Relations

Allied Control Council (ACC) set up


1946 Gen. Lucius Clay orders no reparations to go eastward

> shift to economic rehabilitation of GER

> fear GER might be drawn to communism

Difference western/eastern occupation of GER

Initially substantial dismantling of German industry planned in west

> after foundation of FRG complete stop

> in west GER only 3.5% of gross fixed capital lost

> in east GER approx 30% lost


West did not allow parties, USSR yet:

> fared badly in elections due to occupation

> USSR resorted to more or less subtle measures of rigging elections or changing the outcome

Further division of GER (1947)

Jan 1947 Bi-Zone created (UK+US), French join 1949

> process set in motion for division FRG + GDR

> France shocked by quick german rehabilitation


London Accords 1948:

> creation of state in western Germany

> Ruhr to be placed under int'l authority

> FR accepted GER could not be held down indefinitely


March 1948: USSR leaces ACC

June 1948: currency reform in west

> result:Berlin blockade, lost by USSR vital propaganda advantage for US

Marshall Aid

5 June 1947 speech by US Secretar of State George Marshall

  • crucial in terms of US commitment to western Europe
  • 1948-52 13 bn US$ aid
  1. connections between poverty and possible rise of political extremism seen
  2. Roosevelt idea of quick recovery through free trade regarded as failed
  3. Europe needed to develop into long-term stable trading partner
  4. Set-up of single market comparable to US
Distribution of Marshall Aid
  • UK 2.7 bn US$
  • France 2.4 bn US$
  • Italy 1.29 bn US$
  • Germany 1.29 bn US$

managed by European Cooperation Agency

Functions of Marshall aid
  • set-up of single market
  • hand powers to supranational body (CEEC, later OEEC)
  • connected to anti-communism (no support for communist gov'ts)
  • enforcment of US model: labour productivity and flexibility

supranational aspect rejected by Europeans


European integration slower then hoped by US


exact economic impact difficult to access, but also political impact

  1. Europe sought relief from soviet pressure on outlying countries (Norway)
  2. US weary of entanglement in Europe > Vandenberg resolution allowed US to participate in regional security initiative

5. April 1949 North Atlantic Treaty signed (12 signatories)

> Art. 5 only actions taken as deemed necessary (US safegurard)

  • no integrated command structure
  • co commitment to supply US troops
  • no extensive military aid

> all three came later


Agreement on Europe's division

Korean War 1950 as impetus to develop NATO into full military alliance


division of Europe largely agreeable to US and USSR because both retained sphere of influence (compromise?)


UK: defense in US hand, concentrate on colonies

FR: protected from USSR + Germany


> US power not necessarily imperial, because agreed by both sides

Reconstruction, underlying principle
  1. laissez-faire capitalism widely regarded as failure
  2. mixture of state-led modernization and free market
  3. in eastern Europe attempt for new economic and social order

national states widely restored (Yugoslavia, CZ) no serious integration attempts until 1950


1945-1950 achievements:

  1. estbalishment of liberal democracies
  2. economic recovery
  3. social welfare

> yet growing polarization, exclusion and cold war certainty


Emergence of center-right parties

Mobilized broad social and religios coaltions (key facto to set political change in motion)

  1. benefitted from church afiliation and authority
  2. consisted of left + right elements
  3. presented itself as christian-west alternative to atheist-east model
France, political situation

Tripartism: MRP + communists + socialists

> due to constitution which favoured pol. compromise

> coop with communists difficult (austerity measures, violence in colonies, american loans from Marshall aid)

> after support for strike, communists ousted


Third Force: MRP + socialists + radicals

> 9 May 1950 ECSC foundation

> abandoning of failed Germany policy

Germany, political situation

SPD supposedly strong yet weakened

> lost proletarian heartland

> had to compete in catholic areas

> Schumacher nationalist, anti-clericist + Marxist = unattractive


CDU under Adenauer ermeged, combining free-market (Erhard) with worker's representation


Basic law drawn up:

> weak president

> competencies for Länder

Italy, political situation

Democrazia Cristiana (DC) emerged with Vatican support (anti-communist, pro-western) > strong in north, weak in south


PCI (communist party), PSI (socialists)


after decisive win by DC it built clientele base in southern italy, consolidating its power

Objectives of western states

FR: catch up to GER economic power

GB: remain great power

IT: participate more in world economy, develop south italy


>> ultimately development depended on US aid, reason of US always to be considered, free market forces gained strength

> won elections

> favoured by US



> greater involvement of state, social welfare and regard for worker's rights promoted

Development Scandinavia

Norway opted for NATO inclusion (WWII invasion) Sweden wanted to maintain neutrality

Denmark close to east Germany


Nordic defence pact failed


> ascendancy of social democracy

> different economic development (Sweden already strong), Norway recovered quickly, Denmark slowly

Southern Europe

Salazar mainly civilian gov't (technocratic)


Franco relied on church, Army and Falangist movement

> church gained ground as axis powers weakened

> Franco busy balancing different factions


Salazar support for allies won him support, allowed to join NATO, Franco international pariah, yet anti-communism attractive to US > later deal on US military bases

Greece, political situation

Communist EAM fighted against GER, after withdrawal wanted to fill vacuum

> clashes with exiled forces from Britain

> no interference by Stail (considered British sphere)

> civil war 1946-49

> march 1947 USA takes place of Britan supporting greek army

> Stalin withdraw support from Tito who supported communist DSE in Greece, dissarray, combined with military forced collapse of DSE


true demcoracy only after end of dictatorship 1967-74

USSR situation

faced massive losses + consolidation of extended territory needed

> military development fostered

restoration through:

  1. widespread plundering of east Germany
  2. ferrocious labour discipline
  3. exploitation of peasants and Gulags


USSR as arbitrer

USSR engaged as arbitrer for competing national interests

> Romania received Transylvania

> Lithuania lost independence, gained former capital Vilnius

> Stalin sanctioned liquidation of minorities


USSR often only viable partner (cold war divisions)

> reinforcement of local communists

> prewar elites largely discredited (collab. with Nazis)

> land reform, nationalisation, expulsion of minorities

USSR undercuts Yalta

Yalta guaranteed non-communist share of gov't

> key ministries often in communists hands

> extra parliamentary pressure put on (eg army)


Poland: peasants party is undercut, leader Mikolaijczyk expelled

CZ: communist party already strong, measure to reinforce majority further

unwanted leaders disposed (Gomulka (PL), Rajk (HUN))


> competition in political system pointless

> convergence towards stalinist model

> rapid collectivization of agriculture

> diversion of resources into heavy industry


Non-aligned states - Yugoslavia

Divided mainly by Croat resentment of Serb rule

> Tito envisaged unity through economic modernization and social equality

> fear of soviet invasion also factor


Fallout with USSR in 1948, blockade:

> independent land ownership reinstated

> received western aid


Shows that non-alignment in cold war was possible

non-aligned states - Austria

ended war under 4 power administration


coalition of Socialists and People's Party (were fierce enemies) succeeded in keepin attempts of power takeover at bay

non-aligned states - Finland

Lost 12% of territory and 13% of national wealth

faced USSR demands for reparation + legalization of Communists (+ large border with USSR, made USSR force to reckon with)


> Stalin behaved moderate and principally just demanded relatively soft neutrality

Consolidating western Europe
  • general political stability: christian-democrat gov'ts in GER, UK, IT, stable coalitions in NL, AT, only exception. France, overthrow of 4th republic
  • general fear of communist threat, further emphasized by politicians > emergence of Atlanticist movement
  • emergence of criticism of cultural dominance of the US
  • restricted role of women, legal equality generally achieved, yet not de-facto
The economic boom of the 1950s
  • unprecedented economic boom through
    • Marshall aid, military assistance, private investment
    • US production techniques
    • European Payments Union, later EEC
    • workers kept at bay through participation
  • WGER especially export oriented, basis already existent
  • FR dependent on middle eastern oil + drain on workforce/economy by war in Algeria > fall of 4th republic
  • UK performed poorly due to outdated machinery and poor politics
Consequences of the economic boom
  1. move to cities, fewer people in agriculture
  2. material wealth highly regarded (cars, fridges, TV)
  3. more people invest in holidays
  4. higher disparities between urban and rural regions
From Korea to Berlin
  • Berlin wall as sign of accepted borders
  • equilibrium due to military strength of USA
  • generally lesser risk of war, NATO fully developed
The Suez crisis

reinforced FR resentment against US + UK (expected more durable support) > reason for anti anglo-saxon stance by de Gaulle


signed beginning of loosing influence of EU + followed by loss of colonies

The Berlin crisis

Generally seen as test of resolve of JFK by Krushtshev

> essentially stabilizing power relations

> cold war moves on to Latin America, Asia + Africa

No experiments - political situation in 1950s

Conservative gov'ts in place

  • anti-communist
  • pro-capitalist
  • pro-NATO

proven to be very durable


GER: rift between Gaullist (Adenauer) and Atlanticists (Erhard), little concern about Nazis in civil service, Spiegel affair led to downfall


IT: several coalitions, all under leadership of DC, widespread patronage to ensure power. Socialist party accepted as coalition partner


UK: Tories remained in power, social-democratic party divided, Suez crisis dislodges PM, but not Tories (Eden steps down) > reaction Macmillan: EEC application

Background Algerian War

rebellion started by National Liberation Front (FLN), Algeria department of France, exit difficult


fractious centre-right gov'ts in 4th republic, promised reforms in Algeria not undertaken by Guy Mollet


Battle of Algiers military victory for FR but propaganda victory for FLN, growing econ.costs, de Gaulle appointed PM

De Gaulle at helm

de Gaulle establishes 5th republic with considerable presidential power


outlines Algeria solution which brings up settlers and army against him, under growing UN pressure, dispoeses Algeria quickly

Social democratic alternative

Social democrativ movement largely marginalised in western Europe, christian democrats also represent workers rights


Turning point: Bad Godesberg Programme of SPD, discards most of ideological heritage, positioning itself as party for all Germans, UK follows suit


Austira + Sweden sign of social-democratic governance as possible

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