For more than forty years the security alliance of the North Atlantic Treaty symbolised the common interests of Western Europe and the United States, and provided the context for all transatlantic political and economic relations. Yet the loss of a common enemy in the Soviet Union forced a reconsideration of the purpose of NATO and the mutual interests that still existed between Europe and the United States. This project aims to build on this post-Cold War reframing of transatlantic relations by putting together a multi-faceted study of the values, purposes, milieus and networks that underlay the Atlantic Community after 1945. For a long time the notion of ‘Atlantic Community’ was a widely used phrase denoting a taken-for-granted state of affairs—the organization of the West in front of the Soviet threat—, with very little conceptual clarity behind it. It is now an opportune moment to focus on and problematise this concept from a historical perspective. In particular, to consider what it meant, how the transatlantic intellectual and policy-making elites sought to convey it to their national publics, which circles supported it, and what the effects were in social life as a whole. The focus here is neither on the process of Americanisation nor on purely cultural aspects, but on the political content of the Atlantic Community concept.
This project is defined by several fundamental questions:
A) Ideas and Values
Was the notion of an Atlantic Community, indicating common strategic interests, shared values, and a common destiny, simply a product of Cold War rhetoric? Was it no more than a useful euphemism for for the ‘Americanisation’ of Europe and the unwelcome fact of American hegemony within the alliance? Or did it justifiably represent a new development in Western civilisation, based on a common political and economic model and defined around a genuine consensus on key issues between Europe and North America? What were the 'common Atlantic values' so frequently found in the documents of the time? How did the Atlantic Community notion — and close variations such as ‘Atlantic commonwealth’, ‘Atlantic Partnership’ or ‘Atlantic alliance’ (in a non-institutional sense) —combine with existing understandings of ‘The West’, ‘The Free World’, ‘The Occident’, or ‘the construction of Europe’?
B) Policies and Personalities
How was this Atlantic Community concept put forward in political and economic elite circles at the time of the Marshall Plan and the Atlantic Treaty? How does the notion evolve in the postwar period, when European organizations were discussed and created (the Council of Europe, the OEEC, the ECSC, the EDC project, the European Free Trade Area, the EEC…)? How did these new European institutions fit into a larger Atlantic Community framework, in the view of their American or European promoters? What is the British conception of the Atlantic Community, and its nuances as compared to the American or the Canadian conceptions? Through which channels was it publicized in Western Europe and North America, and how was it perceived by public opinion?
That initiative comes within the framework of a common project in two parts entitled "Deconstructing the Atlantic Community, from the 1940s to the 1970s", and prepared by the University of Cergy-Pontoise (France) and the Roosevelt Study Center (The Netherlands). A first international conference at Cergy-Pontoise, bringing together junior and confirmed researchers, will consider the ‘Golden Years’ of the Atlantic Community idea and its relation with the nascent European Community, in the 1940s-1950s period. A second conference, to be held at the Roosevelt Study Center in the summer of 2007, will examine the ‘European challenge’ to the Atlantic Community idea in the 1960s-1970s.
Call for Papers
For the first colloquium, covering the 1940s-1950s, we invite papers which will illuminate the different conceptions and uses of the Atlantic Community, through case studies on specific countries, regions, or media, based on private or official archives and along the following axes:
1) Analysis of the vision of the Atlantic Community (what it was and what is should be according to them) among key actors of transatlantic relations at the time : influential individuals, or institutions, such as the High Authority of the ECSC, the two European Commissions and the European Parliamentary Assembly, the European Economic Commission of the United Nations in Geneva, and of course NATO, etc.
2) Analysis of the vision of the Atlantic Community within organizations that were vectors and channels for publicizing this idea: public institutions such as the Information Services and Public Diplomacy Divisions of governments in North America and Europe or international organizations (e.g. USIA, NATO's Information Service, etc.) and the Information Bureaus of the EC delegations, or the private sector (Monnet’s Action Committee for the United States of Europe, the Atlantic Treaty Association, various non-governmental gtoups, national or international trade union organisations or business associations, think tanks, foundations, academic research centers, the medias, etc.)
Please send all proposals to the 3 following e-mail addresses:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, in French or in English.
Deadline for proposals: 30 October 2005.
Each proposal should include a provisional title, an abstract (max. 1 page), and a brief CV and bibliography of the author. Travel and accomodation expenses for speakers will be covered by the conference organisers.
Contact: Prof. Gerard Bossuat (firstname.lastname@example.org )or Valerie Aubourg (email@example.com)
University of Cergy-Pontoise
UFR de Lettres et Sciences Humaines Filičre Histoire
Les Chęnes 2
33 bd du Port
95011 Cergy-Pontoise Cedex France
Tel: +33 134 25 64 12 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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