Divided we stand: The French and Italian political parties and the rearmament of West Germany, 1949-1955

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9781847183644: Divided we stand: The French and Italian political parties and the rearmament of West Germany, 1949-1955
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The history of German rearmament and the launch of the European integration process are fascinating as well as challenging. In the early Fifties, the fears about the rise of a new Wehrmacht and the need to defend the nation-state clashed with the ambition to build an effective Western European defence system and the desire to achieve economic and political integration. These were deeply divisive issues and produced one of the most passionate political debates in post-WWII European history. There were fierce clashes in the various parliaments and in the streets of the main European towns rallies and demonstrations often degenerated into street fights with the police. Going beyond the traditional history of diplomatic relations, Risso s book offers a comparative examination of the role of non-state actors, such as pressure groups and political parties, and of political actors, such as the military, in France and Italy. Risso s detailed study of how the main political groupings responded to the question of German rearmament, and of their frequent internal debates is based on a wide range of new primary sources from numerous European archives. This book therefore offers an innovative and stimulating examination of the impact that such debates had on society and on the French and Italian political systems as a whole.

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About the Author:

Linda Risso is Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Reading. Her research interests focus on post-war French and Italian history and on the history of European integration. Her most recent publications include: 'Similar, yet so different: Why the European Defence Community was not a forerunner of the ESDP', in Deighton A., Bossuat G. (eds.), L'Union européenne, acteur de la sécurité mondiale, Paris: Soleb, 2007; ''Enlightening Public Opinion': A study of NATO's information policies between 1949 and 1959 based on recently declassified documents', Cold War History, 7/1 (February 2007).

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