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This series provides sophisticated and authoritative overviews of the scholarship that has shaped our current understanding of the past. Defined by theme, period, and/or region, each volume comprises between twenty-two and forty concise essays written by individual scholars within their area of specialization. The aim of each contribution is to synthesize the current state of scholarship from a variety of historical perspectives and to provide a statement on where the field is heading. The essays are written in a clear, provocative, and lively manner, designed for an international audience of scholars, students, and general readers.

A Companion to International History 1900–2001
Edited by Gordon Martel

A Companion to Western Historical Thought
Edited by Lloyd Kramer and Sarah Maza

A Companion to Gender History
Edited by Teresa A. Meade and Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks


A Companion to Europe 1900–1945
Edited by Gordon Martel

A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Europe
Edited by Peter H. Wilson

A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Europe
Edited by Stefan Berger

A Companion to the Worlds of the Renaissance
Edited by Guido Ruggiero

A Companion to the Reformation World
Edited by R. Po-chia Hsia

A Companion to Europe since 1945
Edited by Klaus Larres

A Companion to the Medieval World
Edited by Carol Lansing and Edward D. English


A Companion to Roman Britain
Edited by Malcolm Todd

A Companion to Britain in the Later Middle Ages
Edited by S. H. Rigby

A Companion to Tudor Britain
Edited by Robert Tittler and Norman Jones

A Companion to Stuart Britain
Edited by Barry Coward

A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Britain
Edited by H. T. Dickinson

A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Britain
Edited by Chris Williams

A Companion to Early Twentieth-Century Britain
Edited by Chris Wrigley

A Companion to Contemporary Britain
Edited by Paul Addison and Harriet Jones

A Companion to the Early Middle Ages: Britain and Ireland
Edited by Pauline Stafford


A Companion to the American Revolution
Edited by Jack P. Greene and J. R. Pole

A Companion to 19th-Century America
Edited by William L. Barney

A Companion to the American South
Edited by John B. Boles

A Companion to American Indian History
Edited by Philip J. Deloria and Neal Salisbury

A Companion to American Women’s History
Edited by Nancy A. Hewitt

A Companion to Post-1945 America
Edited by Jean-Christophe Agnew and Roy Rosenzweig

A Companion to the Vietnam War
Edited by Marilyn B. Young and Robert Buzzanco

A Companion to Colonial America
Edited by Daniel Vickers

A Companion to 20th-Century America
Edited by Stephen J. Whitfi eld

A Companion to the American West
Edited by William Deverell

A Companion to American Foreign Relations
Edited by Robert D. Schulzinger

A Companion to the Civil War and Reconstruction
Edited by Lacy K. Ford

A Companion to American Technology
Edited by Carroll Pursell

A Companion to African-American History
Edited by Alton Hornsby, Jr

A Companion to American Immigration
Edited by Reed Ueda


A Companion to the History of the Middle East
Edited by Youssef M. Choueiri

A Companion to Japanese History
Edited by William M. Tsutsui

A Companion to Latin American History
Edited by Thomas Holloway

A Companion to Russian History
Edited by Abbott Gleason


Klaus Larres

Wiley Logo

In memory of

My brother Norbert Larres (1962–2005)

and my mother Änni Larres (1927–2007)


Ingolfur Blühdorn is reader in politics and political sociology at the University of Bath, England.

David R. Devereux is associate professor in history at Canisius College, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Ralph Dietl is senior lecturer in European Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Desmond Dinan is Jean Monnet professor Public Policy at George Mason University, Arlington, VA, USA.

Laura den Dulk is assistant professor in sociology at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Roger Eatwell is professor in comparative European politics and Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Bath, England.

Alfred E. Eckes is Ohio Eminent Research professor in contemporary history, at Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA, and former commissioner and chairman of the US International Trade Commission.

Christopher Flockton is emeritus university professor of European Economic Studies University of Surrey, England.

Carine Germond is a research fellow of the German Historical Institute in Paris.

Mark Gilbert is associate professor of contemporary international history at the University of Trento, Italy.

Robert Hutchings is diplomat-in-residence at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, NJ, USA. He is the former chair of the US National Intelligence Council and former special adviser to the Secretary of State with the rank of ambassador.

Ian Jackson is a lecturer in politics and international relations at De Montfort University, Leicester, England.

Dianne Kirby is senior lecturer in history and international affairs at University of Ulster, Northern Ireland.

Mark Kramer is director of the Cold War studies program at Harvard University and senior fellow at Harvard’s Gavis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

Klaus Larres is professor in history and international affairs at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland and the former holder of the Herry A. Kissinger chair in foreign policy and international relations at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

Stephen (Steen) Mangen is senior lecturer in European social policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, England.

Panikos Panayi is professor of European history at De Montfort University, Leicester, England.

John Pinder is emeritus professor in politics at the College of Bruges, Belgium, and Chairman, Federal Trust, London.

Claire Sutherland is lecturer in politics at the University of Manchester in England.

Paul Wilkinson is emeritus professor of international relations, and chairman of the advisory board, Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

Ruth Wittlinger is senior lecturer in politics at the University of Durham, England.


I am most grateful to the individual authors for their willingness to contribute to this volume. As the completion of this volume was considerably delayed, first due to a year of research in Washington, DC, and then because of two family tragedies which struck rather unexpectedly in short succession, I am most grateful for the understanding and patience of all of the contributors. I am also very grateful for the support and untiring help I received from Wiley-Blackwell. In particular my sincere gratitude goes to Tessa Harvey, Gillian Kane, and Virginia Graham, and also Carole Drummond from The Running Head, without whose support and infinite patience this book would not have seen the light of day.


Map 1 Europe during the Cold War, 1945/46–1990/91, (Source: William R. Keylor, A World of Nations, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003 p. 42).


Map 2 Post-Cold War Europe



When World War II in Europe ended in early May 1945 the crushing defeat of the European continent became obvious. The entire continent lay in ruins, many of its people were homeless, severely wounded (both physically and mentally) or never returned from war service at all. The war provoked by Hitler’s Germany had not only brought misery and death to many millions of people, it also ensured that the once proud nations of the European continent would for years be preoccupied with physical survival, reconstruction, and political and social reconciliation.

Even the victorious British found that they had hugely overstretched their resources and would soon not only face austerity and economic deprivation at home but also witness the collapse of their global influence, economic prowess, and the ever faster disappearance of their empire. In a very short period of time even fewer overseas possessions would remain in the hands of the French, Italians, Portuguese, Dutch, and Belgians. The entire eastern part of the European continent would be swallowed up by the Soviet Union within three years. Once fully sovereign countries such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Romania were forcibly integrated into Moscow’s hugely expanded communist sphere of influence, which soon developed into a new sort of dictatorial and ideologically underpinned empire.

The only country which benefited from World War II, both economically and with regard to its global standing and immense military power, which included possession of the atomic secret, was the United States of America. Contrary to the expectations of many and contrary to America’s decision to withdraw from Europe after World War I, the US made a deliberate effort to learn from history. Not withdrawal but further participation in the affairs of Europe appeared to be the recipe for preventing yet another world war originating on the European continent. Economic reconstruction, democratic re-education in for example Germany, Austria, and Italy, and the creation of a Franco-German rapprochement as part of an overarching process of European integration were deemed vital.

The Truman and subsequent Eisenhower administrations embarked upon an “empire by invitation,” as Geir Lundestad has called it, and used Marshall Plan aid in the economic field and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the security and political areas to impose its will and ideas about the future shape of western Europe on the helpless European governments. Particular attention was paid to Germany, the divided nation, with the divided former capital Berlin at the frontline of the Cold War, to Franco–German relations and the economic revival of Europe to prevent the continent from once again becoming seduced by the promises of radical ideologies. The impetus to overcome the ingrained animosities of the past with the help of a process of European integration mostly came from British, French, and Italian thinkers who had first introduced such schemes in the 1920s and resuscitated and developed them during the most despairing times of World War II.

Within a mere decade most of the continent’s most pressing economic, social, and political problems had been overcome. Both outside help and the enormous energy, imagination, and sheer will for survival of the peoples of western Europe had transformed the continent from a helpless colossus to a democratic, fairly prosperous and well-functioning half-continent. Europe had again become a force to be reckoned with in the world, in particular in economic terms. European integration – though initially only advocated by the Schuman Plan “Six” for a limited number of economic sectors – had played a vital role in overcoming the economic deprivation and the political dislocation which had characterized the initial postwar years.

To a considerable extent this also applied to the years after the end of the Cold War in 1990/1991 and the resulting reunification of the European continent. The Maastricht Treaty, in particular, but also the Nice, Amsterdam, and Lisbon treaties as well as perhaps the Lisbon Reform Treaty of 2008 had a decisive influence on shaping the difficult transition from the Cold War era to the post-Cold War years and indeed to the post-9/11 era. Within Europe the creation of a single European market, the transformation of the European Community into the European Union (EU), the introduction of a common currency a decade later, the insistence on a normative process of democratization and not least the resulting waves of enlargement which led to the incorporation of the former communist states into the EU have dramatically changed the character of the European continent. Despite many difficulties and at times unnecessary complexities and stifling bureaucracies, Europe has certainly become a more coherent and more united continent which projects its influence, even power, increasingly beyond the confines of the European continent.

The enlargement of the EU and the integration of the former eastern European communist states preoccupied the EU to a substantial extent during the first decade and a half after the end of the Cold War. In the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001 and the highly controversial US–British invasion of Iraq in March 2003 (which put an unprecedented strain on transatlantic and intra-European relations), it was above all international terrorism which engaged the EU. The EU countries were forced to respond to that threat and to the American-led “war against terror” with increasing domestic vigilance, that led to ever greater governmental meddling in the private lives of their citizens. They also felt it imperative to become much more involved than hitherto in peacekeeping and indeed peacemaking activities far beyond the borders of Europe. The EU also took the lead in facing up to the climate and energy crises that plague global affairs in the post-Cold War years; Brussels attempted to develop a strategic policy of international sustainability.

The failure of the “war on terror” in both Iraq and Afghanistan and the uneasy stalemate of Washington’s relations with important countries such as China, Russia, and Iran resulted in a deep political and – under the influence of the global “credit crunch” and other recessionary economic factors – financial crisis in the USA. Consequently there was increasing pressure on the EU to become a more active international player. The partial replacement of the dollar as the global reserve currency by the euro was not just of symbolic importance.

Towards the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century the EU appears to be on the threshold of becoming a global power and a crucially important international mediator. However, it is still an open question if the EU will accept this challenge and continue with the development of a streamlined institutional set-up, including the creation of an effective common foreign, security, and defense policy. Perhaps the EU will lose courage again and shrink away from the global responsibilities of the future; instead it may once again focus on intra-European squabbles, navelgazing and confine itself to largely dealing with common market and trade questions. Only the developments in the second decade of the twenty-first century can tell.

A Companion to Europe since 1945 has a two-fold objective. The many authors who have contributed to this volume look back and analyze the developments which took place on the European continent during the Cold War. They also consider present-day Europe, the Europe which has taken shape since the end of the Cold War in 1990/1991, and analyze current developments from a plethora of angles.

The book is divided into four major parts. Part I considers the transition from war to cold war. In the first chapter Mark Gilbert analyzes the political and military developments, in particular, the origins of the Cold War in Europe. In the following chapter John Pinder considers the roots of the ideas for European integration and how these ideas spread and developed into a proposal for the establishment of a federalist and united European state.

The seven chapters of Part II analyze developments in Europe during the Cold War. Ian Jackson considers the western European perspective while Mark Kramer views the developments from the Soviet and eastern European angle. In chapter three Ian Jackson compares the different economic developments and experiences in western and eastern Europe between 1945 and 1990. David Devereux considers the process of decolonization, that affected in particular Britain and France but also some other European countries, and looks at the impact huge-scale migration from the former colonies had on the home countries. Desmond Dinan then follows the development and execution of the European idea from the Schuman Plan of 1950 through to the establishment of the single market in the early 1990s. Klaus Larres looks at the role the United States played in shaping the process of European integration. The American insistence on their continued hegemony in transatlantic relations which in particular the Nixon and Reagan administrations pursued gave a decisive impetus to the European efforts in the 1970s and above all in the 1980s to create more coherent and effective federal European institutions. Subsequently Dianne Kirby analyzes the role of religion and the main churches in shaping the Cold War world, a theme which has been recognized only recently as a crucial factor of influence. Last but not least Carine Germond considers the impact of the sudden and entirely un-expected end of the Cold War on the newly reunified European continent.

Parts III and IV of this book deal with the developments from 1990 to the present, the former with the political and economic developments and the latter with social and cultural developments since 1990.

Part III begins with a chapter by Robert Hutchings who analyzes the state of transatlantic relations since 1990 and considers whether or not the transatlantic alliance will survive in the post-Cold War world. Alfred E. Eckes investigates the impact the strong European economic performance has had on the forces of globalization. Subsequently Christopher Flockton analyzes in detail the economic developments within the EU since the Maastricht Treaty of 1991. Roger Eatwell then compares the political parties and the respective party systems in a large number of European countries. Ralph Dietl looks at the origins and current developments of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and Paul Wilkinson considers the impact of domestic and international terrorism in the major European countries since 1945.

Part IV, the final section of this book, considers social and cultural developments in Europe since the end of the Cold War. Ruth Wittlinger questions in her chapter whether or not something approximating a European identity has been able to develop during the past five decades and in particular since 1990. Claire Sutherland looks at the development and rising popularity of post-Cold War nationalism not only in the liberated countries of eastern Europe but also in the countries of the western part of the continent. Ingolfur Blühdorn analyzes the development of new social and political movements, such as the Green Party, in present-day Europe and the impact this has had on European civil society. Panikos Panayi analyzes the politics of the EU and the various European countries towards migrants who wish to settle in the EU. Laura den Dulk considers the changing roles and norms in gender relations and family structures in both western and eastern Europe. Finally, Steen Mangen analyzes the crisis of the present-day welfare state affecting almost all European countries and traces its developments.

On the whole the book offers the reader an attempt at evaluating some of the most important aspects which have infl uenced the political, economic, and social and cultural nature and character of the European continent. All of the chapters have been written by experts on the themes discussed and they introduce the reader to the most crucial aspects of the topics under discussion and guide him/her through the rich literature and lively scholarly debates. Taken together, the 22 chapters enable the reader to obtain a comprehensive picture of some of the crucial developments that have shaped Europe in the aftermath of both World War II and the Cold War.

Klaus Larres

Belfast, November 2008

Europe in Transition: From War to Cold War