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What is The Containment policy?





February 1946: J. Kennan’s « Long Telegram »

March 1947: official statement of the Containment policy

ñrefusal of any further expansion or risk of expansion of the Soviet influence outside the former zone of influence that had been recognized at the Yalta and Potsdam conferences.

Acceptance of the definitive hold over Eastern Europe but refusal of any attempt to extend this area.




What are the reasons for The containment policy?


Reasons for the containment declaration:

- Mistrust toward Stalin

- US responsibilities in Europe after the withdrawal of the UK in March 1947

- Conviction that the only possibility to face a Communist expansion was to consolidate Western governments and re-industrialize Germany

Reactions to the Marshall Plan


France and Britain refused at first to give a definitive response to the ERP without having consulted the Soviet government

  • USSR at first showed to be interested: encouraged even Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia to take part to the program

But: main problem = the acceptance of this program would impose a form of economic control over the USSR

  • After June 1947 USSR considered the Marshall Plan as an economic tool against the Soviet influence in Eastern Europe

  • Stalin forced to a defensive economic and political strategy

  • 1949: creation of the COMECON (Council for Mutual economic assistance) after in 1947 the Soviet Union signed a series of bilateral agreements linking the Soviet Union with Eastern Europe.

    Communism considered only in terms of imposed dictatorship and military challenge → refusal to consider the political and national causes (decolonization, national movements)





The Marshall Plan (1947-1951) 


ñprogram of the US for rebuilding and creating a stronger economic foundation for the countries of Western Europe; US$13 billion in economic and technical assistance given to help the recovery of the European countries that had joined in the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC).


ñmeant a de facto partition of Germany into different economic zones → violation of the previous agreements;

ñBerlin was divided into 4 occupations sectors, with a common administration → From the end of 1947 onward the accentuation of the differences between the two superpowers made a common administration of Berlin impossible

The Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC)
  • European response to the American demand for a coordinating body in charge of the repartition of the Marshall aid

  • But had also very pragmatic goals :

    • Aimed to revive the German economy while limiting German independence

    • The OEEC was also the instrument to implant free trade and capitalism in Western Europe.

  • The US used the OEEC to press the European governments to liberalize 50% of the private exchanges in the primary sectors and the manufactured goods


First element of a western European united policy: the OEEC gathered meaning all the West European countries (sole exception: Spain). First elaboration of a united European economic programme.


Reluctance of the majority of the European countries to adopt the tariffs hampered the realization of a real European custom unification wanted by the USA.

Differences of conception between Britain and France, in particular, precluded the possibility for the OEEC to become the ground basis for a real European community




The consequences of the Truman Doctrine for the US Foreign policy:    


ñUS as hegemon in the West

ñEmphasis on the competition with the USSR, presented as a global conflict (need to convince the congress) → determine the whole US foreign policy

ñEnduring commitment in European affears

Opened the door to a US intervention in any civil or local conflict in the world

  • 11 June 1948: the US government could now seal regional alliances for collective defence systems outside of the American continent.

  • Same system as for the Marshall Plan → the condition to have access to the American help was the constitution of a coordinate plan of defence between the different European states.

    Different interests:

    • The European lacked of military means against the threat of a Soviet invasion.

    • the US was reluctant to engage its soldiers in Europe and to finance the European deficit for their protection.

    • For the European partners the defence line should be place directly on the Iron curtain. For the Americans on the contrary the defence system was at first based on Spain and Great Britain, which could serve as counter-attack bases.

    • Atlantic Pact was signed on March 1948, but excluded Germany

The Cold War in Asia

Within five years the US was confronted after the war to a situation it didn’t expected and which completely changed the situation in Asia:

1946: The beginning of the decolonization war in Indochina

1949: The victory of the Communists in China

1950: The break out of the Korean War


The Korean issue before the Korean war

  • Division between North and South at the end of the war, according to the respective military positions of the Soviet and the US armies at the end of WW2

  • Development of two opposed regimes: pro-Communist in the North; traditional dictatorship in the South

  • April 1948: nationalist uprisings against the US presence in the South, harsh repression

  • Semi civil war in the South; dictatorship of Syngman Rhee.

  • May 1948: the North refused to hold the elections organized by the US on the future of Korea

  • June 1948 S. Rhee proclaimed the founding of the Republic of South Korea

  • September 1948: Kim Il Sung proclaimed the Democratic’s people republic of Korea in the North

  • mid-1949: both the US and the Soviet armies had withdrawn from Korea

Why did Korea became a strategic issue for the US?
  • August 1949 the Soviet successed in producing their own atomic bomb

  • Domino’s theory” in the US (according to which each victory of communists in a country would have repercussion on the neighbour’s nations)

  • April 1950: National Security Council resolution n° 68:

    • stated that the USSR could only understand the force, and that the Soviet policy should be contrasted by any means possible

    • recommended to develop the hydrogen bomb and to rapidly increase conventional forces, in order to offset the Soviet Union’s atomic bomb.

April 1950: North Korean offensive agaisnt the South, apparently without the consent of Stalin (but unclear)

After a UN resolution, in September 1950 US offensive against the North.


Development of military alliances

  • Pact of Rio with Latin-American nations (1947),

  • ANZUS Pact with Australia and New Zealand (1951),

  • Defense treaty with Japan (1951).

  • Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), stretching from Australia to Pakistan, in 1954.

  • Baghdad Pact (later the Central Treaty Organization -CENTO) in 1955, stretching from Pakistan to Turkey, on the model of the NATO


founding of the Kominform

  • Weakening of the old Imperial powers (French defeat in 1940; British bankruptcy in 1941; Japanese advance and independence propaganda in Asia)

  • Renforcement of the US leadership:

    • Historically, the US had based its identity on the rejection of colonialism

    • US trade’s expansion needed the dismantling of the colonial protectionist barriers

    • The promotion of new international organizations weakened the legitimacy of colonialism

  • Emergence of new stakes for decolonization in the US:

    • Colonization was seen as one of the causes for the Great Depression

    • US affirmation as superpower supposed more involvement in the world’s affears, also by supporting independence movements

    • Cold War context: French and British weakening and the fear for a Communist expansion imposed to intervene in non-European affairs

Diplomatic factors for decolonization for the USSR
  • Communist ideology condemned colonization as capitalist imperialism and advocated the liberation of oppressed people in the World.

  • USSR saw the decolonization as a way to undermine Western power and influence throughout the World

  •  But as Continental power, the USSR had less means to encourage liberation’s movements

  • Soviet influence was essentially moral and ideologic until the middle of the 1950’s

Atlantic Charter



  • 3rd point affirmed that all people had the right to self-determination and the “right to choose its own form of government and wanted sovereign rights and self-government restored to those forcibly deprived of them

  • 4th point condemned protectionist barriers → undermined the Commonwealth principle

The Atlantic Charter was incorporated in the DECLARATION OF UNITED NATIONS on January 1942

  • Self-government became a principle of the International law. Moral reference for the colonized people


Japanese actions in favour of an apparent liberation

  • In Indonesia, released native political prisoners from the Jails. Banned the use of Dutch language and promoted the use of native languages.

  • In Vietnam: granted Vietnam’s independence, albeit under Japanese tutelage.

  • In the Philippines and Burma: granted nominal independence in 1943.

  • In some cases, such as India and Burma, Japan helped arm train national armies to fight the British. 

Local factors in favor of decolonization
  • Emergence of new western-educated elites in the colonies

  • Economic role played by the colonies during WW2

  • Affirmation of a local social class  which furnished nationalist leaders:

    • Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Sukarno in Indonesia, Nasser in Egypt, Nkrumah in Ghana or Patrice Lumumba in the Congo.


*This combination of factors made that the wave of decolonization first concerned the Middle East and Asia

The Case of India
  • 1885 Indian National Congress. During WW2 was leaded by Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohandas Gandhi.

  • Ghandi promoted a non-violent contestation of the British colonial presence (refusal to pay British imposed taxes, work stoppages, hunger strikes).

  • Moral authority against the alleged superior western civilization.

  • 1942 “Quit India Movement”: civil disobedience movement calling for immediate independence.

  • In April 1942 the British promised a Dominion status (self-government but continuing membership of the British Commonwealth).

  • June 1945: first contacts with independence leaders to form a transition coalition pending the granting of independence after the war.

  • In July 1945, the British government agreed to the transfer of power to the Indian people as soon as possible and in the same time to preserve the unity of India. 

The Partition of India
  • Rise of the Muslim League (leaded by Mohammed Ali Jinnah) claiming for a separated Muslim State.

  • March 1946 British cabinet mission to India. Rejected the partition as unpracticable. Rise of communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.

  • March 1947: Lord Mountbatten is appointed to sort out the independence of India. Announced the deadline for independence in July 1948.

  • But because of increasing violences the independence and partition of India came into effect already in August 15, 1947.

    Partition between India and Pakistan (which at first integrated also Bengladesh)80 millions of people found themselves suddenly in regions where they were now a religious minorityFlood of 15 millions refugees, estimated 1 million deadAssassination of Gandhi by an Hindu extremist in January 1948

French Indochina

Obstacles to a peaceful decolonization:

  • Humiliation of the defeat, which led to the magnification of the national honour in the French army

  • Attempt to conserve an international influence by permitting a kind of semi decolonization maintaining a specific influence in the colonies

Local forces:
- Vietminh (League for independence of Vietnam) leaded by Ho Chi Minh. Influence of the Communist ideology

  • US pressures at the end of the war to force France to grand independence to Vietnam

  • fear among the Vietminh of a Chinese expansion to annex the Tonkin

  • On September 1945, Ho declared the Independence of Vietnam in Hanoi, referring to the French declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen.

  • Bombing of Haiphong in November 1946 by the French Navy

*Consequences of the Indochina war in the International relations:

  • Growing anxiety in the US before what was seen as a Communist expansion

  • The commitment of the USA against the colonisation changed radically.

    • Where decolonisation appeared to be executed in accordance with the American interest, the US supported it.

    • Where, on the contrary, the independence process may cause a new instability benefiting to the USSR, the USA decided to support the colonial powers. 

      • At the end of the Indochina war, in 1954, 43% of the French expenditures in Vietnam were paid by the USA. For the next 25 years Southeast Asia became a focal point of the Cold War.


      • Clear misunderstanding of the division inside the so-called Communist bloc

      • Miltary victory of the Vietminh at Dien Ben Phû in may 1954 



  • Eisenhower considered the Indochinese Peninsula as having a decisive role in the sharing of spheres of influence in Asia

  • After Stalin’s death, the USSR was seeking for an agreement, especially concerning Germany

  • Indochina as bargaining issue in the Cold War.

Chinese position:

  • China preferred to have a Vietnamese ally, but at the same time preferred to keep this ally in a relative weak position, in order to favor Chinese influence in the whole Indochinese Peninsula.

  • On the other hand, China was willing to appear as a moderation factor in Asia, in order to an unavoidable protagonist of the negotiations in Asia

  • China’s Foreign minister, Zhou Enlai, proposed the division of Indochina


  • Two dictatorships → US thus committed itself with an unpopular and repressive regime in the same time that it pretended to represent the “free world”

  • At the same time, the end of the war appeared to be the first successful example of the possibility to find an agreement with the enemy in USSR and in the USA → turning point in the Cold War. 

The Bandung Conference

Meeting of Asian and African states, most of which were newly independent, on April 18-24, 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia

Nehru issued the five principles every state had to accept to take part to the conference (the Pan-Shila):
1) Respect of the territorial integrity
2) Respect of the sovereignty of each state;
3) Non-aggression;
4) Equality between each state;
5) Pacific coexistence.

  • expressed the idea that each country should have the choice of its own policy without being involved in the conflict between the 2 superpowers

Main leaders: Nehru*, Zhou Enlai, Sukarno* and Nasser

  • Results of the Bandung’s Conference: Symbolic emergence of the Third World in the International relations. But no concrete unity.


  • 3 different tendencies were opposed:
    a) the pro-western countries like Pakistan or Turkey,
    b) the pro-Soviet or pro-Communist countries like China, North Vietnam and North Korea;
    c) the “non-engaged” or non-aligned countries, like India, in favour of the neutralism.


  • The opposition between these 3 different conceptions made that no concrete result was reached at Bandung. Constrained the USA and the USSR to reconsider their position outside Europe.
    But this 3rd world appeared also immediately to be divided and relatively weak.

Third World Nations
  • Concept forged by the French demographer A. Sauvy in reference to the « Third estate » in the French Revolution.

  • Common features:

    • former colonisation or submission to another power

    • problem of economic development and therefore of poverty.

  • They also are mainly characterized by slow pace of industrialization, low levels of per capita income, low literacy levels but high rate of population growth and low levels of infrastructures.

  • The 29 countries present at Bandung represented 50% of the World population, but only 10% of the global wealth.



  • Stabilization in Europe and Asia after an exhausting confrontation.

  • Emergence of newcomers on the international stage claiming for a new diplomacy and the boycott of the military alliances with the great powers.

  • Decolonization process →  new situations of instability and regional conflicts, and weakening of the former colonial powers.

  • Dramatic development of the armaments → necessary codification of the use of nuclear weapons and new international rules.

Other factors:

  • The change of the government’s staff in the US and the USSR in 1953 (coming to power of Eisenhower in January 1953; death of Stalin in March 1953).

  • The  global economic growth and a more accurate sensibility toward the economic conditions of life in America and in the Soviet Union.



Eisenhower became president of the US, in a context of critics against the former administration, accused to be to weak in Asia

Death of Stalin

Chance for Peace” speech: Eisenhower defined the new orientation of the US foreign policy by denouncing the arms race as the main obstacle to the US economic growth.


CIA backed coup in Iran


Coup in Guatemala



  • May 1955 visit of Khrushchev in Belgrade to reassume diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia after the condemnation of Tito by Stalin.

  • In April 1956 dissolution of the Kominform. Sign of détente in the eastern bloc.

    • But this moderate liberalization threatened to destabilize the East bloc.

  • June 1956, violent uprising by Polish workers in Poznan. Election of the Communist reformist Gomulka in October → constrained the USSR to negotiate trade concessions and troop reductions.

  • 23 October  to 10 November 1956: Hungarian uprising. Led to the a brutal repression by the Red Army and the reaffirmation of the Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe.

Absence of reaction in the West → confirmation of the stabilization of the spheres of influence. 

  1. Increasing support of the old colonial powers, on behalf of the fight against Communism, but also because Washington feared that independent states would not be able to bring stability.

  2. Open support in favour of dictatorships in South Korea, South Vietnam, but also Latin America.

  3. Conviction in the 3rd World that the US’s policy had to be only oriented toward the defence of US financial and economic interests. The affirmation of the 3rd world went against the direct control of the natural resources in the world by the US. 

THE US STRATEGICAL “New Look” after autumn 1953

reduction of spending for conventional forces and the increase of nuclear research and armament.

Because of:

  • Theory of the massive retaliations

  • Cost of conventional forces

  • Massive use of nuclear weapons was now a priority in case of conflict. Strategy of the all or nothing. The prospect of a nuclear war was therefore now more real than ever.

  • The European partners had to increase their armies. Remilitarization of Western Europe at a very high level.

  • General need to limit the expansive arms race and concentrate on the domestic economies.

  • British pressures for a Détente.

  • Increasing weight of the United Nations Disarmament Commission.

  • The USSR proposed to establish an international control organ to supervise a comprehensive disarmament program

  • Atom for Peace” speech held in December 1953: Eisenhower proposed to create an Atomic Agency with peaceful purposes.

  • Soviet proposal of a “no first use agreement”, refused by the US

  • Open sky” proposal made by the US on July 1955.


Such proposals were more an attempt to undermine the defence strategy of the other bloc than real peace projects. But they permitted to re-launch the talks between the superpowers




Cuban missile crisis


Khrushchev’s strategy consisted in:

ñpresent himself as the defender of a small and vulnerable state.

ñgive the Soviet nuclear parity thanks to the medium range missiles in Cuba

ñenhance the international prestige of the Soviet Union.

ñGive insurance to the Soviet military

ñPossible US reactions:

ñto launch a pre-emptive air strike against the missile sites, with the risk of triggering a nuclear war.

ñto invade of Cuba, but It would give Khrushchev no other choice than retaliations measure.

ñto impose a blockade of Cuba to all ship suspected to carry missile components


ñBoth sides realized that the constant state of confrontation had been in part responsible for the nuclear showdown.

ñTime had come for a constant and constructive dialog. And indeed the relations between them improved shortly thereafter.

ñThe most notable achievement was the partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963, which forbade nuclear testing in the atmosphere. 


The European construction depended on:

  • The spread of a federalist ideal in the public opinions, lowering the weight of the former nationalists

  • The will of the political elites and the intellectuals, to promote the creation of supranational bodies and to reaffirm a form of autonomy against the USSR, and, in a lesser extent, toward the US.

  • At the level of the governments, the will to find new solutions to compensate the relative weakness of the single states. In the same time, the context of the Cold War fostered the will to establish a closer cooperation in the military and economic sectors




European Construction: 3 different ways




ñThe federalist one, based on the ideal of common values and supra-nationality, i.e. the establishment of a supranational power over the single states

ñThe intergovernmental one, based on a closer cooperation between the states, but maintaining the sovereignty of each

ñThe so-called functionalist approach, i.e.  the pragmatic and progressive establishment of sectors of cooperation, with supranational bodies having a limited competence to precise targets


The 4 main arguments in favor of a European construction already at the end of WW2 

  • The crisis of the sovereign state in Europe due to the two World wars

  • The failure of the League of Nations had demonstrated the necessity of establishing a supranational federal government

  • The need of an international cooperation to face the reconstruction and the potential crises

  • The need of a coherent and coordinate policy in the context of the Cold War


The intergovernmental approach to European construction 



  • In March 1943, Winston Churchill had proposed the establishment of a European Council in charge of a closer cooperation between the different European Allies.

  • September 1949 at Zurich: Churchill proposed to Germany and France the creation of the United States of Europe.

  • January 1949 founding of the Provisional United Europe Committee, a lobby charged to spread out the ideal of a European Union


  • 17 March 1948: Treaty of Bruxelles or Bruxelles Pact (UK, France and Benelux) for military, economic, social and cultural cooperation; Became in 1954 the Western European Union (WEU)




European Construction: Other factors


ñAlready in 1944, constitution of a common market between Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands → creation of the BENELUX

ñMarch 1948: Italy proposed a custom union with France

ñ16 April 1948 creation of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) to respond to the ERP (European recovery programme or Marshall Plan)

ñEstablishment of the European Payments Union (EPU) on July 1950 in the frame of the OEEC

ñ Evolution from bilateral trades to multilateral trades


Toward the Hague Congress of May 1948 

  • May 1947: Churchill created the United Europe Movement, a private organization gathering British politicians and businessmen who promoted the idea of a European confederation on the model of the Commonwealth.

  • In June 47, French deputies created the French Federalist parliamentary group, under the initiative of the European Federalist Union (EFU).

  • In July 1947, first at Gstaad, Switzerland, to create the European parliamentary Union

Den Haag

May 1948

800 representatives from 17 countries (including from Eastern Europe), presided by W. Churchill.
Among them: K. Adenauer, A. Eden, and the future French president F. Mitterrand

Two different positions in Den Haag:

  • The French, Belgians, Italians, Dutch and the majority of the representatives of the Trade Unions were favourable to the federalism.

  • The British and Scandinavians : more traditional line based on better cooperation between the governments and the parliaments.

Debates about the constitution of a common market, the elaboration of a common social legislation and the founding of a European parliament

→ The Congress provided the means to heighten public opinion for European unity.

→ On 20 July 1948, French Foreign Minister G. Bidault proposed the creation of a European Assembly and a customs and economic union.






ñProposed by the English Foreign minister Ernest Bevin. Initially seen as the base to create a so-called British Third Force or Third World Power.

ñOn January 1948 Bevin proposed the creation of a European Custom Union under British leadership.


ñThe British treasury and the Board of Trade feared it would accelerate the decline of the British economy in a time of deep crisis

ñThe rise of the Cold War favoured the military considerations

ñ At the end of 1948 Britain privileged the “US-British Special Relationship” instead of a European cooperation. 


The council of Europe


May 5, 1949


  • Treaty of London signed by ten states (Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

  • Aimed to give a political basis for a Western European bloc based on a traditional inter-governmental approach, but with a specific European Parliament

  • Adopted in 1950 the European Convention on Human Rights

  • Creation of a European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg


The French initiative:


ñNeed to re-launch the European process after the British withdrawal

ñNeed to integrate and control Germany through international bodies

ñNeed to reconstruct the devasted economy

ñNeed to break the progressive isolation of France among the Allies

ñIn September 1948 France proposed to the Ministerial Council of the Brussels Treaty Organization a European parliament , to create European institutions

May 8, 1950: After the proposal of J. Monnet, R. Schuman proposed the creation of a Coal and Steel European Community *Final treaty signed in April 1951  bet. Germany, France, Italy and Benelux.

May 1952: Signature of the European Defence Community (ECD) Treaty bet. France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux.

August 1954: the French Parliament rejected the EDC Treaty

Paris Treaty

October 23, 1954

Recognized the German sovereignty

Accepted the West German integration into the NATO

Enlarged the Western European Union (WEU). 

Conference of Messina

June 1955


  • Focus on a custom union

  • Extension of the sector-by-sector approach

  • Raised once again the question of the British integration




Treaties of Rome (Definition, Date and Countries) 


March 1957






(France, Germany, Italy & Benelux):



ñCreation of a European Economic Union

ñCreation of a common Nuclear Agency

ñThe new European order has therefore to be based only on economic considerations, living aside the question of a common policy

The power of decision was shared between:

ñA council of ministers

ñThe Commission, a supranational organization

ñA Parliament, at first only with consultative power

The suffrage in the Commission would then determinate the nature of the system:

ñEither unanimity (classic intergovernmental system)

ñOr the rule of the majority (supranational sovereignty)


The British counter-Europe 


In January 1958, Britain created its own free trade area, the FTA.

It comprised:

  • Britain

  • Austria

  • Denmark

  • Norway

  • Portugal

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland.


2 Europes: of the 6 and of the 7.

  • Low-tariff system with loose ties and a maximum access to the world markets, on the contrary to the CEM (common market protected by high tariffs).




a) Were considered as economically less important, with a reduced European population.
b) Were not considered as direct targets for the superpowers → escaped therefore the Cold War logic in a first time.
c) Cost of the colonial presence and the unpopularity of the colonial policies in the United Nations

  • Matter of national prestige + important French population of settlers

  • Economic interests

  • Strategic considerations: the Maghreb was deemed essential for the French security

  • fear of a Soviet expansion or the rise of an antagonist power « at the door of France »

  • fear of a foreign interference, either from the USSR or the USA






ñExistence of a local government and local political elites

ñDiscreet support of the US in favor of independence

ñTried to appear as moderate in the context of the Cold War + gained international support and were debated in the UN

ñWere considered less important than Algeria

ñMarch 1956 independence

  • Absence of a local elite able to establish a national policy after the independence.

  • Ethnical and political heterogeneity before the Independence.

  • Importance of economic issues. Ex.: the Katanga Mining Company in the South. Private company acting as a real government, exploiting the gold and uranium resources

  • 1956-57 rise of social and political tensions

  • January 1959: a revolt forced the King of Belgium to promise the future independence

  • July 1960: independence of the Congo. Coalition governement with P. Lumumba (neutralist) and Kasavubu (pro-West)

  • Immediate rebellion + secession of the Katanga province

  • September 1960: the US backed the coup of the General Mobutu to eliminate Lumumba (seen as a threat for the American interests as neutralist) 

Congolese Crisis

UN action:

  • Supported the US policy

  • in 1963 the secession of Katanga was defeated and the secessionist forces integrated in the fight against Communism

  • Algeria and Egypt began to support left-wing forces in the Congo.

The destabilization of the Congo in the 1990s:

  • Secessionist movement in the East supported by Rwanda and Burundi to control the mining provinces

  • The Congo received help from Namibia and Zimbabwe which asked an access to the mines

In 1998 the conflict involved 7 countries (Congo, Zimbabwe, Angola & Namibia vs Rwanda, Ouganda & Burundi)

  • Rapid exhaustion of the resources

  • Mass of refugees + mass poverty.

  • Benefits monopolized by mining companies, guerilla movements or foreign powers

  • The destruction of the environment and of the whole regional economy.



Africa’s search for political unity and stability


ñK. Nkrumah (Ghana): Pan-African vision

ñF. Houphouet-Boigny (Ivory Coast): for the maintaining of the frontiers inherited from the colonial period

ñL. Sedar Senghor (Senegal): in favour of regional groupings

ñMay 1963: Organization of African Unity. 30 founding states. To favour the liberation of still colonized peoples, to fight against the Apartheid and to respect the territorial integrity of each state

African Union

July 2002


  • In 2003 creation of a African Parliament, an African Commission and an African Peace and Security Council. Declared goals:

  • political and socio-economic integration of the continent

  • to promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples

  • to achieve peace and security

Non-aligned movement
  • September 1961: Official creation of the Non-aligned movement in Belgrade. Main representatives: Nehru (India); Nasser (Egypt); Tito (Yugoslavia)

  • Second Conference in Cairo in 1961: Ideological controversy about whether to refuse all military alliances remained unsolved

  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) established in 1964 → organization of the emerging countries


The first international consequences of the African decolonization:


ñAfrican countries represented now the majority of the non-aligned states.

ñBut the independent Africa lacked of stability and unity.

ñGrowing Cold War interference.

ñSpecific European action: Yaounde trade and economic Convention between the European Community  and 18 African ex-colonies on 20 July 1963. 


Political situation in Palestine at the end of the Second World War

Objectives of:







British forces' Objective: maintaining of the British presence in Palestine to protect the Suez Canal and the oil supplies, and to counter Soviet influence in the Middle East.

Zionist movement lead by Ben-Gurion, including also terrorist groups (Irgun, Stern). Objective: creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. Refusal of a bi-national Palestine.

Amin al-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, compromised with the Nazis during the war. Objective: creation of an Arab state in Palestine, including also the Jewish populations. 

Abdullah, King of Jordan. Objective: expansion of the Jordan kingdom to form a “Grand Syria” including part of Palestine. 


American interference: Objective: preserve the alliance with the Arab countries but in the same time favour the creation of a Jewish state according to the Zionist proposal. 







Paris Treaty






- Bandung Conference

- Khrushev leader of USSR

- West Germany in NATO

- Warsaw Pact Created

- USSR trip in Asia-finaid

- Open sky proposal made by US


Truman Doctrine

Berlin Blockade by USSR; US Airlift

Atlantic Pact

Czech coup

Burma independent of GB

Treaty of Brussels

Creation of OEEC

Hague Congress

Founding of Israel


Ba’ath party
  • Secularist and nationalist Arab party influenced by socialism. Founded in 1940 in Syria and Lebanon

  • Came to power in Syria  and Iraq 1963.

  • Deposed by the Iraqi military, re-gained the power through a coup in July 1968



Factors of destabilization of the Middle East (1948-1961)


1) The Israeli factor:

  • Crisis of confidence in the Arab armies, loss of legitimacy of the traditional elites

  • Rise of a generation of young officers intervening in the political life

2) The expansionist factor: competition for the leadership of the Arab World:

  • Jordan project of Grand Syria

  • Project of union between Syria and Iraq in 1949

  • Experience of the United Arab Republic (merging of Egypt with Syria,1958-1961)

    3) The Cold War, European and anti-colonial factors:

  • Anglo-Egyptian crisis (1954-1956)

  • American support in favour of authoritarian and pro-Western regimes (Syria 1949, Lebanon 1958)

  • Military anti-Soviet alliance with Britain through the Baghdad Pact

    4) The nationalist factor:

    • Rise of the Ba’ath Party in Syria and Iraq; Nasserism in Egypt; Pan-Arabism in the public opinion

      • Competition between the religious traditionalists and Arab nationalists

  • Religious and ethnic tensions (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq)

    5) Social factors

    • Tensions between the traditional elites and the growing middle and low classes

  • Difficulties of integration for the Palestinian refugees


  • Consequence: increasing role of the military in the societies. 




The great destabilization of the Arab world in the Middle East:


In Syria:
Series of coup (March 1949; then August 1949 and November 1949)

ñShishakli dictatorship from 1951 to 1958 with the support of the USA and France

In Egypt:

ñJanuary 1952: anti-British riots in Cairo

ñJuly 23, 1952: coup by the « Free officiers movement » → abolition of the Monarchy and proclamation of a Republic

ñNov. 1953: after the ousting of Naguib, Gamal Abdel Nasser took the power


1954: Anglo-Egyptian agreement for the reduction of the British troops

Eisenhower doctrine

The US would provide military and economic aid to the nations who were prepared to fight communism in the Middle East.

  • Growing US involvement in the region


US in the Middle East 

US « vital interests »:

  • Protection of the holy places against any atheist power

  • US military presence against any Soviet expansion

  • Protection and control of the oil supplies

Only Syria and Egypt refused to join the US doctrine

Misleading US perception:

  • The perception of the Middle East only in terms of Cold War did not permit a real understanding of the different issues

  • The Soviet had neither the capacity nor the will to expand in the region

  • The US appeared as the successor of the colonial powers

Soviet Response to crisis in Middle East

The Soviet response: the Chapilov Plan

  • Proposed the neutralization of the whole area by the suppression of all military alliances

  • Rejected by the US

  • Soviet military help to Syria to contrast the Baghdad Pact + technical and economic cooperation with Syria

July 14, 1958: pro-nasserist coup in Iraq

July 1958: US military intervention in Lebanon


6 Day War:


June 1967: « 6 Day War ». Israel occupies the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Golan Heights → came in possession of land containing 750 000 Arabs

ñ UN Resolution 242 in November 1967 asking Israel to withdraw from the new occupied territories

1977: beginning of the establishment of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories

1973: Yum Kippur War.  First (small) Arab victory

1977: Egyptian president Anuar al-Sadat visited Israel and spoke before the Knesset (Israeli Parliament

1978: Camp David negociatons between Israel and Egypt

1979: Peace treaty between Israel and Egypt

1982: Israeli invasion of Lebanon

Impact of the Palestinian exodus
  • Half of the Palestinian population exiled after 1948 (950 000 people in 1950)

  • Refugees camps in the West Bank and in Gaza, overpopulation

  • Destabilization of the Jordan and Lebanese societies

  • 1964 founding of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), since 1974 the Representative of the Palestinian population in the UN.

  • September 1970: Palestinian forces expulsed from Jordan

→ April 1975 beginning of  the Lebanese civil war after street fights between the Christian Phalanges and the Palestinians

1982: Israeli intervention in Lebanon to root out the PLO headquarters in Beyrouth, Sabra and Shatila massacres and establishment of a pro-Israeli force in the South Lebanon




The detente era: DEFINE


The « Detente » was the result of the emergence of new protagonists on the international stage, which interfered in the former Soviet-Amercian antagonism

ñMultiforme aspects and contradictory movement:

ñUS-Chinese rapprochement in order to weaken Moscow

ñFrench and German rapprochment in order to gain independence from the US

ñBut in the same time Sino-American conflict through the Vietnam War

3 different stages of Detente Era

3 different stages:

  • The European Détente in the 1960’s

  • The Vietnam War from 1964-1965 to 1972.

  • After the Vietnam War, the attempt to create the new basis for the global East-West relations. 

Vietnam in 1956

According to the Geneva Treaty of 1954, nationwide free elections should take place in 1956.

In 1956 the U.S. and South-Vietnamese governments refused to go along with the promised elections because of the probable victory of the Vietminh



Domino's Theory


Domination of the “Domino’s theory” and the Roll-Back strategy → conviction that the resistance was manipulated by China or the Soviet Union and could be easily smashed

ñMisunderstanding of the real nature of the opposition

ñThe war was now presented as an international conflict and not a simple South-Vietnamese civil war

South Vietnam

- Immediate US involvement after the decolonization war in Indochina

  • Conservative dictatorship

  • Religions tensions between the Catholic ruling elite (10% of the population) and the Buddhist majority

  • Social tensions after the abolition of the land reforms

  • Nationalist claims against the US presence

  • At first internal civil conflict without the involvement of the North Vietnam

Dec. 1960: creation of the National Liberation Front, labeled as Communist by the USA, but actually a coalition of different movements
→ Known as the “Vietcong” in the West

The US growing involvement in South Vietnam:

January 1962: Vietcong inflicted severe losses to the South-Vietnam army

November 1963: considering now Ngo Dinh Diem as unreliable, the US backed a coup in South Vietnam, without eliminating the dictatorial nature of the power

During the Kennedy administration, the US presence had grown already until 16 000 special forces.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy on November 1963, expanded the US presence to 22 000 troops.

Vietnam War

In January 1965, Johnson ordered aerial bombings of North Vietnam

  • In November 1965 the Marines directly engaged the North Vietnamese army

In the same time underestimation of the Southern National front liberation forces as well as the forces of North Vietnam.

  • Rise of US dead (16 400 at the end of 1967)

“Têt” offensive in 1968: the Vietcong succeeded in storming 36 of the 44 provincial capitals of South Vietnam

  • Use of massive bombing by the US, which shocked the international public opinion

  • Increasing mobilization of troops in the US

  • increasing cost on the US economy

Vietnam War end

January 1973: peace agreement

Economic consequence: 1971 = end of the Bretton Woods system → End of the US guarantee for the stability of the international currency exchanges

The first consequences of the war:

For the US: death of 58 000 soldiers, more than 300 000 injured + economic crisis

For the Vietnam: 3,4 million dead. Almost complete destruction of the country

In the regional context:

  • Vietnam economy was now reliant to the Soviet assistance

  • New antagonism between the USSR and China 






ñ1964 De Gaulle visited China, establishing diplomatic relations → affirmation of French independency toward Washington

ñEarly 1970 secret relations between the US and China (« Ping pong diplomacy »)

ñ February 1972: Nixon visits China

Chinese paradox: while China considered the USA in the 1960 as the « public enemy #1 » and accused Moscow of weakness, the Sino-Soviet dissensions permitted a reapprochment with the US

The reasons for the China-US reapprochment

For China:

  • China needed to put an end to its diplomatic isolation.

  • Growing mistrust between China and the Soviet Union → To involve the US was seen now as a guarantee in case of conflict with the Soviet Union.

  • Hope to gain entry in the US diplomacy and finally solve the Taiwan question.

  • Need for trade opportunities

For the USA:
- Hope to obtain Beijing’s assistance to negotiate the end of the Vietnam War on US terms.

  • To gain greater leverage in the negotiations with Moscow. At least, it would maybe permit to end the Cold War.

  • To benefit of the immense Chinese market would give a breath to the US economy and resolve the economic crisis.

  • US “grand design”  for a new global balance of power:

postulated the emergence of a multipolar world with 5 major power centres: the US and the USSR, Western Europe, China and Japan

  • Oct. 1971 the PRC replaced Taiwan in the UNO and the UNSC

  • Full normalization in 1979 after Nixon dismissal (1974) and Mao’s death (1976)

The German Ostpolitik

Willy Brandt, German Foreign minister from 1966 to 1969, then Chancellor.

  • Diplomatic relations with Romania in 1967 and with Yugoslavia in 1968, the most independent states in Eastern Europe.

  • In 1968 compromise on the issue of Germany’s borders, opening the way to territorial deals with Poland, Czechoslovakia and the USSR.

  • Signature of the Non-proliferation in 1969.

  • 12 August 1970, Moscow treaty: renunciation of the use of force; establishment of financial and commercial ties; recognition of the inviolability of existing European borders

  • December 1970, West Germany and Poland concluded a treaty confirming the German-Polish border

  • Dec. 1971 and May 1972: agreements  between the two Germany




De Gaulle's Policy


De Gaulle’s independence policy:

ñ1962: France refused the entry of Great Britain in the EEC

ñIncreasing critics against the US policy in Vietnam.

ñEstablishment of diplomatic relations between France and China in January 1964

ñJanuary 1964, De Gaulle signed an agreement on economic, cultural and scientific exchanges with the USSR.

ñFebruary 1965: De Gaulle spoke of the restoration of the unity of Europe “from Atlantic to Ural”, marking the will of an independent Europe which would eventually include the Soviet Union.

→ The re-establishment of direct relations between Paris and Moscow was not only a way to underline French independence, but also a way to demonstrate the possibility of pan-European links. 






April 1989: Gorbachev refused to react and even promised to pull out of Hungary


May 1989: The Austria-Hungarian border was opened. Important role: a flood of thousands of people heading to Hungary from Austria. Same case in Eastern Germany, huge blow to the Eastern bloc. 

Eastern Germany was the last country to adopt Gorbachev's reforms so he forced them to do so. He hope that political reform in Eastern Germany would finally save the communist regime. The contrary happened.


October 1989: the Communist Party turned into a socialist party.



Summer 1989: beginning of a massive exodus through Hungary

September 1989: Massive Demonstrations

November 9, 1989: fall of the Berlin Wall


May 4, 1989: beginning of student protests in Beijing


May 1989: occupation of Tienanmen Square in Beijing, Visit of Gorbachev in China.


End of May 1989-June: Deng Xiaoping declared martial law, violent reppression and flights around the square


Abandonment of any political reforms


The End of the Soviet Union


Gorbachev seen as a traitor


August 1991: Military Coup, the Red Army refused the disenlement of the USSR, lasted 3 days, failed completely. 2 consequences: Gorbachev out of the process, lost power as Head of State and Boris Yeltsin became the leader of the country


Instead of reestablishing the regime, the coup accelerated the end of the regime


1981-1982: Gorbachev had allowed for states who wanted to become independent to do so


1990-1991: 90% of the population was living under official subsistence levels


Yeltsin hoped to reestablish the situation by asking the USA and Germany (USA refused, already engaged in the Gulf, had no means to help Russia, preferred to wait and see).


Germany was much more worried about the situation in USSR:


The USSR became the second largest nuclear arsenal holder in the world: Rise of Nationalist Parties along with political instability scared Germany


Lost Decade: Russia remained in a state of economic and political chaos for almost a decade.


Putin elected in 2000, was seen as the man who would rescue and redeem Russia.


1989: Reaffirmation of the power of the Communist Party in China


The Northern Enlargement


January 1963: France refused the entry of the UK in the EEC; Elysee Treaties between France and Germany establishing a political and cultural cooperation between them. German parliament reaffirmed its connection with the USA.


1965-66: “Empty Chair” crisis


1967: France rejected the entry of the UK in the EEC because the UK was seen as a trojan horse of the US, De Gaulle wanted UK to make a choice. Keep either that “special relationship” with USA or join the EEC.


Federalist proposal: creation of a a supranational body, lower state sovereignty; Benelux and Italy supported this. Italy wanted to limit German and French political leadership, faced deep social problems and hoped that a federalist approach would help it solve its problems.


Free Trade Area created by GB in 1958


1969: Hague Conference calling for the enlargement and the deepening of the European Community


1973: entry of the Uk, Denmark and Ireland into the EEC


1974: Creation of the European Council, regular meeting between different heads of state


End of 60s lead to end of the Bretton Woods System ( set up General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade-GATT- and the IMF)


1979: first election with universal suffrage, had to respond to inflation ----> creation of the Exchange rate mechanism and the ECU (European Currency Unit), compensate for the high variability of the dollar and other currencies/limit inflation. 




The Economic Success of the EEC




1st stage of trade liberalization of 10% in January 1959 led to a jump of the exchanges of 20%



1962 : lowering of 50% of the customs duties, 3 years before the planned date. Inter-community exchanges rose 4-fold.


 In the same time, reinforcement of the exchanges with the USA.  Negotiations for a common lowering of the custom duties led to a cut of 35 to 40% between 1968 & 1972




The Extension to the South


The end of the authoritarian regimes in the south and the second enlargement of the EEC:


1974: end of the colonel's dictatorship n Greece after the Cyprus crisis, “Carnation Revolution” in Portugal


The EEC meant political and economic stability, prevented the return of dictatorships


1975: Death of Franco in Spain ----> establishment of democratic regimes in 1974 in Greece and Portugal, progressive democratization of Spain between 1975 and 1977.


1981: Greece joined the EEC


1985:  “Integrated Mediterranean Programme”


1986: entry of Spain and Portugal in the European  community.


The different positions in Europe concerning the German Reunification Process:



France hoped to contain the risk of a German leadership I Europe by reinforcing the EC


Britain feared a strong Germany also but on the contrary to France was always keen to undermine the role of the EC (Thatcher)


The USSR Feared that the reunification of Germany would imply an extension of NATO to the East and therefore a further dislocation of the Soviet bloc and the calling into question the validity of the German-Polish border, in violation of the commitments of the Ostpolitik.


The US on the contrary saw German reunification as an unexpected opportunity to extend NATO to the East and consolidate their influence in Europe.



The Security Issue


SALT I and II: reduced the role of NATO


With the end of the Cold war and the dismemberment of the Eastern bloc, NATO had no reason to exist


March 1989: NATO and Warsaw Pact members discussed in Vienna the reduction of conventional forces


February 1990: Integration of East Germany in NATO decided at a conference at Camp Davvid, completed in 1994


July 1991: Warsaw Pact dismembered after German reunification in 1991, b/c of will expressed by Baltic States to be part of NATO, wanted protection against Russia


July 1990: London Summit


1991: North Atlantic Cooperation Council was created


Main Stakes: The Nuclear Arsenal and the new sharing of spheres of influence between Russia and Western Europe


What security system for Europe?


- 2 options:

- Extension of the NATO → maintaining of a US domination

- Creation of a specific European military cooperation through the CSCE




London Summit




1990: definition of a new strategy for the NATO (strengthening of the relationship with the CSCE and better cooperation with Russia) →   Creation of the North Atlantic Council





North Atlantic council = with annual meetings of Foreign Ministers, two-yearly summits and a “conflict prevention centre” based in Vienna


February 1992: Maastricht treaty creating the European Union  called for the establishment of a Common Foreign and Security Policy in the UE (CFSC)


July 1992: creation of a permanent Parliamentary Assembly in the CSCE


January 1995: CSCE renamed as the OSCE (Organization for security and cooperation in Europe)


But: confronted with new challenges (Break down of Yugoslavia, War in Chechnya) the Vienna permanent council of the CSCE proved unable to impose enduring solutions. 


« Partnership for peace » programme: 




Warsaw Pact members and ex-Soviet Republics could enter into military agreements with NATO


May 1994: special partnership between Russia and the USA


NATO-Russian founding act of May 1997: creation of a permanent joint command to discuss security problems, but giving the real power of decision to the NATO (Russia had no veto)


July 1997: enlargement of the NATO to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.


1999: the entry of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic was completed

1984: Mitterrand and Kohl worked together to support the establishment of an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on Community reform


“Single European Act”. 




1985: Codified and institutionalized the already existing biannual summits between the heads of government.  Greater power for the European parliament

 Expanded the use of “qualified majority voting” rather than unanimity in the Council of Ministers.

 Included a commitment to Economic and Monetary Union.

 Planned the establishment by January 1993 of a single market in goods, service, capital and people


Toward the Breakdown of Serbia


May 1989: Slobodan Milosevic président of Serbia

May 1990: election of nationalist leaders in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina

September 1990: suppression of the autonomy of the Kosovo province by Milosevic

1990: « economic war» between the Yugoslavian Republics


The EC policy after 1985 consisted in:


 Preparing the Single Market, which was achieved in 1993 in a new context, since the economic boom of the 80s was already over.

 Promoting a European Monetary Union (EMU).

 Elaborating a “Social Charter”, published in June 1989, guaranteeing a minimum social welfare standard. 

Maastricht Treaty and EU

ebruary 1992: Maastricht Treaty


The UK suspended the ratification of the Treaty

in Sept. 1992 the Exchanges rate mechanism faced new difficulties

Multi-speed Europe”

1st January 1993: creation of the European Union

In January 1995 the EU was joined by Austria, Sweden and Finland

War in Croatia and Bosnia

June 1991: Croatie and Slovenia declare their independence from Yugoslavia

eptember 1991: Macedonia referendum in favor of the independence

October 1991: war in Croatia.

December 1991: Germany recognized the independence of Croatia and Slovenia January 1992: the recognized the independence of Croatia and SloveniaFeb. 1992: UN protection force (UNPROFOR) displayed in Croatia

April 1992: the recognized the independence of Bosnia but proved unable to prevent the extension of the conflict in Bosnia

May 1992: embargo against Serbia. Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia entered the UNO

Feb. 1993: creation of the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia)

1995, the turning year

July: Serbian offensive serbe against the « Security zones » under the control of the UNO. Massacre of Srebrenica


August : Croatian offensive in Bosnia (Krajina)


August 29: beginning of the NATO bombings against the Serbian positions


November 21: Dayton Accords between Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia


December : deployement of an Implementation Force (IFOR). NATO replaces the UNO.



The case of former Yugoslavia 


- The NATO intervention was decided without the approval of the UN and was therefore contrary to the international law

- End of the principle of non-intervention in domestic affairs. NATO and the UE placed the principle of humanitarian interference above the principle of non-interference

To what extent the international community could accept and recognize any declaration of independence?

From 1999 to 2008, the status of Kosovo remained de facto undetermined, an exceptional situation in the international law. Today, the EU remains divided about the recognition of Kosovo


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