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The Behistun Inscription c. His student Chandragupta Maurya c. His style of writing history defending the Roman state actions and using propaganda heavily eventually became a defining characteristic of Roman historiography. Propaganda during the Reformation , helped by the spread of the printing press throughout Europe, and in particular within Germany, caused new ideas, thoughts, and doctrine to be made available to the public in ways that had never been seen before the 16th century.

The printing press was invented in approximately and quickly spread to other major cities around Europe; by the time the Reformation was underway in there were printing centres in over of the major European cities. During the era of the American Revolution , the American colonies had a flourishing network of newspapers and printers who specialized in the topic on behalf of the Patriots and to a lesser extent on behalf of the Loyalists.

The most famous single publication was Common Sense , a pamphlet by Tom Paine that played a major role in articulating the demand for independence. In the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars both sides made heavy use of it during military campaigns with media literate. Propaganda as generally understood, is a modern phenomenon that emerged from the creation of literate and politically active societies informed by a mass media , where governments increasingly saw the necessity for swaying public opinion in favour of its policies.

A notable example was perhaps during the Indian Rebellion of , where Indian sepoys rebelled against the British East India Company 's rule in India. Incidents of rape committed by Indian rebels against English women or girls were exaggerated to great effect by the British media to justify continued British colonialism in the Indian subcontinent. It was later found that some of these accounts were false stories created to perpetuate the common stereotypes of the native people of India as savages who need to be civilised by British colonialists, a mission sometimes known as " The White Man's Burden ".

One such account published by The Times , regarding an incident where 48 English girls as young as 10—14 were supposedly raped by the Indian rebels in Delhi , was criticised as a false propaganda story by Karl Marx , who pointed out that the story was reported by a clergyman in Bangalore , far from the events of the rebellion. A Study of the Popular Mind were two of the first codifications of propaganda techniques, which influenced many writers afterward, including Sigmund Freud. Hitler's Mein Kampf is heavily influenced by Le Bon's theories. The first large-scale and organised propagation of government propaganda was occasioned by the outbreak of war in In the war's initial stages, propaganda output was greatly increased by the British and German governments, to persuade their populace in the justness of their cause , to encourage voluntary recruitment, and above all to demonise the enemy.

At the start of the war, Germany expanded its unofficial propaganda machinery, establishing the Central Office for Foreign Services, which among other duties was tasked with propaganda distribution to neutral nations, persuading them to either side with Germany or to maintain their stance of neutrality. After the declaration of war, Britain immediately cut the undersea cables that connected Germany to the outside world, thereby cutting off a major propaganda outlet. The Germans relied instead on the powerful wireless Nauen Transmitter Station to broadcast pro-German news reports to the world.

Among other techniques used to keep up the morale of the troops, mobile cinemas were regularly dispatched to the front line for the entertainment of the troops. Newsreels would portray current events with a pro-German slant. German propaganda techniques heavily relied on emphasising the mythological and martial nature of the Germanic ' Volk ' and the inevitability of its triumph.

Germany published several newspapers and magazines for the occupied areas. The 'Gazette des Ardennes,' was designed for French readers in Belgium and France, Francophone prisoners of war, and generally as a propaganda vehicle in neutral and even enemy countries. Schnitzer had a relatively free hand, and he tried to enhance his credibility by factual information. He realized until the closing days of the war that it was necessary to produce an increasingly optimistic report to hide the weakening position of the Central Powers in the summer and fall of The British made a careful analysis of the German propaganda campaigns.

In terms of content, the official propaganda had multiple themes: B It explained Germany was fighting a war of defence. C Enemy atrocities in were denounced, including its starvation plan for German civilians, use of dum dum bullets, and the use of black soldiers. D The rhetoric exalted Germany's historic mission to promote high culture and true civilization, celebrating the slogan "work, order, duty" over the enemy's "liberty, equality, fraternity. It explained that German victory would benefit all of mankind, freeing the seas for all nations, and enabling the downtrodden colonies of the Allies to liberate themselves.

Germany needed to land to expand, as an outlet for its surplus population, talent, organizing ability, financial capital, and manufacturing output. The riches of the world, especially raw materials, controlled by the British and the French, must be disgorged by the enemy to the benefit of Germany. The propaganda designed for the home market included points A through G.

The Germans realized they needed to appeal to vocal supporters in countries allied with the Central Powers, especially Austria, Bulgaria, and Turkey. They put special emphasis on the Muslim world, using Turkey as their leverage. Much of the propaganda was oriented toward minorities in the Allied countries, as they tried to stir up Muslims in India and Russia and ethnic groups in Eastern Europe, especially the Poles.

In prioritizing the goal of destabilizing the enemy, Berlin realized that it was often counterproductive to promote German glories. Other elements that were hostile or indifferent to Germany, especially among the far left and the Muslims, could best be reached through their own spokesman. Hence large sums—upwards of nine tons of gold—were given the Bolsheviks to spread their own anti-tsarist propaganda.

British propaganda during World War I — called "an impressive exercise in improvisation" — was hastily expanded at the beginning of the war and was rapidly brought under government control as the War Propaganda Bureau Wellington House , under the overall leadership of journalist Charles Masterman. The Bureau began its propaganda campaign on 2 September when Masterman invited 25 leading British authors to Wellington House to discuss ways of best promoting Britain's interests during the war. After January the Bureau's activities were subsumed under the office of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

In May Masterman began recruiting artists, including Muirhead Bone , Francis Dodd , Eric Kennington and others, to paint pictures of the war in France and the home front. In early it was decided that a senior government figure should take over responsibility for propaganda and on 4 March Lord Beaverbrook , owner of the Daily Express newspaper, was made Minister of Information. The British effort soon far surpassed the German in its quality and ability to sway the public mood both at home and abroad.

Substitute for Power: Wartime British Propaganda to the Balkans, 1939–44

A variety of propaganda methods were used by the British during the war, with emphasis on the need for credibility. They were targeted at influential individuals, such as journalists and politicians, rather than a mass audience. By , 7 million copies had been circulated by Wellington House in various languages. British propagandists also sought to influence the foreign press, by providing it with information through the Neutral Press Committee and the Foreign Office.

Special telegraph agencies were established in various European cities, including Bucharest , Bilbao and Amsterdam , in order to facilitate the spread of information. Recruitment was a central theme of domestic propaganda until the introduction of conscription in January The most common theme for recruitment posters was patriotism, which evolved into appeals for people to do their 'fair share'.

One major propaganda avenue was the use of atrocity stories. These aimed to mobilise hatred of the German enemy by spreading details of their atrocities, real or alleged, and was used extensively by Britain, reaching a peak in , with much of the atrocities related to Germany's invasion of Belgium. This pamphlet documented atrocities both actual and alleged committed by the German army against Belgian civilians. These had a significant impact both in Britain and in America, making front-page headlines in major newspapers.

Before the United States declared war in , it established a propaganda department along similar lines. Propaganda experts Walter Lippmann and Edward Bernays participated in the Creel Commission , which was to sway popular opinion to support the government policies. The Creel Committee provided themes for speeches by "four-minute men" at public functions, and also encouraged censorship of the American press. Starting after World War I, propaganda had a growing negative connotation. This was due in part to the book "How We Advertised America: The Committee was so unpopular that after the war, Congress closed it down without providing funding to organise and archive its papers.

The war propaganda campaign of the Creel Committee "produced within six months such an intense anti-German hysteria as to permanently impress American business and Adolf Hitler, among others with the potential of large-scale propaganda to control public opinion. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion , a fraudulent anti-Semitic conspiracy text, was first printed in a Black Hundreds newspaper shortly before the Revolution of As the October Revolution unfolded, causing White movement -affiliated Russians to flee to the West, The Protocols was carried along with them and assumed a new purpose.

Until then, The Protocols had remained obscure; [30] it now became an instrument for blaming Jews for the Russian Revolution.

1st Edition

It was a directly political weapon, used against the Bolsheviks who were depicted as overwhelmingly Jewish, allegedly executing the Judeo-Bolshevist "plan" embodied in The Protocols. The purpose was to discredit communism, prevent the West from recognizing the Soviet Union , and bring about the downfall of Vladimir Lenin 's regime. Russian revolutionaries of the 19th and 20th centuries distinguished two different aspects covered by the English term propaganda. Their terminology included two terms: Soviet propaganda meant dissemination of revolutionary ideas, teachings of Marxism, and theoretical and practical knowledge of Marxist economics , while agitation meant forming favourable public opinion and stirring up political unrest.

These activities did not carry negative connotations as they usually do in English and were encouraged. Expanding dimensions of state propaganda, the Bolsheviks actively used transportation such as trains, aircraft and other means. Joseph Stalin 's regime built the largest fixed-wing aircraft of the s, Tupolev ANT , exclusively for this purpose. Named after the famous Soviet writer Maxim Gorky who had recently returned from fascist Italy , it was equipped with a powerful radio set called "Voice from the sky", printing and leaflet-dropping machinery, radio stations , photographic laboratory , film projector with sound for showing movies in flight, library, etc.

The aircraft could be disassembled and transported by railroad if needed. The giant aircraft set a number of world records. Bernays, a nephew of Freud, who wrote the book Propaganda early in the 20th century, [32] later coined the terms "group mind" and "engineering consent", important concepts in practical propaganda work.

The Transformative Impact of World War II

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organised. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. The file Century of the Self by Adam Curtis documents the immense influence of these ideas on public relations and politics throughout the last century.

Lippmann, in Public Opinion also worked on the subject, as well as the American advertising pioneer and founder of the field of public relations Edward Bernays , a nephew of Freud, who wrote the book Propaganda early in the 20th century. According to Alex Carey , one distinctive feature of the 20th century was "the professionalising and institutionalising of propaganda", as it became an increasingly prominent, sophisticated, and self-conscious tactic of both government and business.

After the defeat of Germany in the First World War , military officials such as Erich Ludendorff suggested that British propaganda had been instrumental in their defeat. Adolf Hitler came to echo this view, believing that it had been a primary cause of the collapse of morale and the revolts in the German home front and Navy in see also: Later, the Nazis adapted many British propaganda techniques during their time in power.

Joseph Goebbels was placed in charge of this ministry shortly after Hitler took power in All journalists, writers and artists were required to register with one of the Ministry's subordinate chambers for the press, fine arts, music, theatre, film, literature or radio. Hitler met nearly every day with Goebbels to discuss the news, and Goebbels would obtain Hitler's thoughts on the subject.

Goebbels then met with senior Ministry officials to pass down the official Party line on world events. Broadcasters and journalists required prior approval before their works were disseminated. Along with posters, the Nazis produced a number of films and books to spread their beliefs. Goals were to establish external enemies countries that allegedly inflicted the Treaty of Versailles on Germany - by territorial claims and ethnocentrism and internal enemies, such as Jews , Romani , homosexuals , Bolsheviks and topics like degenerate art.

A major political and ideological cornerstone of Nazi policy was the unification of all ethnic Germans living outside of the Reich's borders under one Greater Germany e. He stated that pain and misery were being forced upon ethnic Germans outside of Germany, and that they dream of common fatherland.

He finished by stating they needed to fight for one's nationality. Nazi propaganda used the Heim ins Reich policy for this, which began in For months prior to the beginning of World War II in , German newspapers and leaders had carried out a national and international propaganda campaign accusing Polish authorities of organizing or tolerating violent ethnic cleansing of ethnic Germans living in Poland. Its credibility doesn't matter. The victor will not be asked whether he told the truth. The main part of this propaganda campaign was the false flag project, Operation Himmler , which was designed to create the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany, which was subsequently used to justify the invasion of Poland.

In , racist laws in Nazi Germany were introduced known as the Nuremberg Laws , the laws forbade non-Aryans and political opponents of the Nazis from the civil-service and any sexual relations and marriage between people classified as "Aryan" and "non-Aryan" Jews, Gypsies, blacks was prohibited as Rassenschande or "race defilement".

Hitler and Nazi propagandists played on the anti-Semitism and resentment present in Germany. The Jews were blamed for things such as robbing the German people of their hard work while themselves avoiding physical labour. Soon after the takeover of power in , Nazi concentration camps were established for political opponents. The first people that were sent to the camps were Communists. France, a democratic society in the s, but the people were kept in the dark about critical issues of foreign policy.

The government tightly controlled all of the media to promulgate propaganda to support the government's foreign policy of appeasement to the aggressions of Italy and especially Nazi Germany. There were daily newspapers, all owned separately. The five major national papers based in Paris were all under the control of special interests, especially right-wing political and business interests that supported appeasement.

They were all venal, taking large secret subsidies to promote the policies of various special interests. Many leading journalists were secretly on the government payroll. The regional and local newspapers were heavily dependent on government advertising and published news and editorials to suit Paris. Most of the international news was distributed through the Havas agency, which was largely controlled by the government.

Radio was a potentially powerful new medium, but France was quite laggard in consumer ownership of radio sets, and the government impose very strict controls. After , stations were allowed only three brief daily bulletins, of seven minutes each, to cover all the day's news.

The Prime Minister's office closely supervised the news items that were to be broadcast. Newsreels were tightly censored; they were told to feature none controversial but glamorous entertainers, film premieres, sporting events, high-fashion, new automobiles, an official ceremonies. Motion pictures likely likewise were censored, and were encouraged to reinforce stereotypes to the effect that the French were always lovers of liberty and justice, contending against cruel and barbarous Germans.

The government-subsidized films that glorified military virtues and the French Empire. The goal was to tranquilize public opinion, to give it little or nothing to work with, so as not to interfere with the policies of the national government. When serious crises emerged such as the Munich crisis of , people were puzzled and mystified by what was going on. When war came in , Frenchman had little understanding of the issues, and little correct information.


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They suspiciously distrusted the government, with the result that French morale in the face of the war with Germany was badly prepared. Within the US, the British Security Coordination activities worked to counter pro-German sentiment, and isolationist opinion. The British broadcast black propaganda through fake German-language radio stations to Europe.

It was disguised to sound like legitimate German radio broadcasts, but it had a negative twist designed to undermine German morale. The Germans undertook a similar program. Both sides used film, television, and radio programming to influence their own citizens, each other, and Third World nations.

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty , which were, in part, supported by the Central Intelligence Agency , provided grey propaganda in news and entertainment programs to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union respectively. The Soviet Union's official government station, Radio Moscow, broadcast white propaganda , while Radio Peace and Freedom broadcast grey propaganda.

On the Ration - British Pathé

Both sides also broadcast black propaganda programs in periods of special crises. In , the United Kingdom 's Foreign Office created the IRD Information Research Department , which took over from wartime and slightly post-war departments such as the Ministry of Information and dispensed propaganda via various media such as the BBC and publishing. Its main targets were in the Third World. As well as supplying material to the BBC World Service , secret lists were compiled of approved journalists and trade unionists to whom material was offered, if not always accepted.

Possibly its most notorious "project" was the joint operation with the CIA to set up Encounter magazine, edited by Stephen Spender from to Spender resigned after it emerged that the Congress for Cultural Freedom , which published the magazine, was being covertly funded by the CIA. Music in the Context of Propaganda 2. Morale on the Home Front: Live Classical Performance 3.

Cultural Propaganda and the British Council 4. Handel, Beethoven and Humphrey Jennings: The Use of 'German' Music in Film 7. A British Magic Mountain: Original Music in Feature Film Propaganda 8. Nielsen Book Data Publisher's Summary The wartime period in Britain is now seen as an extremely fertile period of British creativity in music, film and art. The relentless advance of Allied forces in and achieved a victory, so complete as to prevent any revival of the defeated regimes.

Although celebrated with justice by the victors, it was gained at an enormous cost to all of Europe. The excesses of the Soviet forces, which raped and looted their way through eastern Germany are now well known, 4 but for many years this went unrecognised by western writers. If the conduct of the western Allies was far superior, total war cannot be waged without leaving desolation and a huge loss of civilian life in its wake and, what one author has called, "collective amnesia", 5 has obscured the costs of liberation as armies fought their way through France, Belgium and Holland.

Europe in offered a picture of desolation and ruin. Parts of the Soviet Union had been fought over three times, while Poland had suffered aggression from both Germany and Russia in and the Soviet advance in had paused only to allow the German army to destroy Warsaw. Central Europe has been described as a "lunar landscape dotted with enormous heaps of rubble and bomb craters", 6 while, in Berlin, "Ninety-five per cent of its urban area lay in ruins".

Victorious but battered, Britain was, a threadbare and austere country with an exhausted economy, now that American aid was withdrawn, and the French economy was dislocated: Two European civil wars or one punctuated by a lengthy armistice had not only resulted in the problems of reconstruction, but had substantially reduced the power and influence of the major European states with the exception of Russia, long perceived in western and central Europe as largely an extra-European power, but one whose armies had penetrated deep into Central Europe in much as they had done in As the Cold War developed, it became clear that only two powers in the world had emerged from the war with enhanced strength and that these two "super powers" were the USA and the Soviet Union or USSR.

A further weakening of the position of Europe came with the diminuendo of the colonial empires of Britain, France and the Netherlands. The stress and expense of war and of humiliation at the hands of Japan had already impacted severely upon the positions of the imperial powers, while the opposition of the USA and of the emergent United Nations to colonial possessions was a further factor. Winston Churchill — [ ] had, perhaps, failed to realise or had ignored the anti-colonial implications of the Atlantic Charter, which he and Franklin D.

Roosevelt — [ ] had signed in , or the strength of American opposition to empires. US policy was, nevertheless, ambiguous as anti-imperialism could conflict with its Cold War interests; having refused to back Britain during the Suez crisis in , it proceeded to press her to retain bases of strategic importance, as with Cyprus and Diego Garcia. The process of decolonisation set in, sometimes "with astonishing — and in some cases excessive speed", as with the British Empire, 9 at a single blow with the Dutch Empire, collapse and precipitate withdrawal as with the Belgian Empire, or accompanied by a hard and lengthy struggle as with France's wars in Vietnam and Algeria , 10 but it was practically complete by the early s.

Essentially the imperial powers lost the appetite and will to hold on to empires, which were no longer seen as worthwhile by their home electorates.

The Transformative Impact of World War II — EGO

As Mark Mazower born has commented, "imperial powers were rarely forced to retreat as a direct result of military insurrection — Algeria was the exception rather than the rule". Britain, at first sought a substitute for Empire in the Commonwealth, but was then to waver between Atlanticism and Europe, while France, hastily, turned its attention towards Europe and followed a policy of forming a close relationship with West Germany.

The physical and economic recovery of Europe was, despite the enormous damage done to the infrastructure, industry, agriculture and commerce, to be quicker than most observers expected and that of Western Europe was spectacular after the bleak and austere immediate post-war years. It has been argued that it was the depths to which Germany had sunk in , the near-starvation, disorder and hopelessness that inspired a West German recovery that prioritised economic recovery stability, and order, 12 while another view is that it was a determined effort to erase the past.


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These developments were underpinned by different economic and social systems and, if in part the result of the war and differing national traditions, were also consequent on America's aid to the West via the Marshall Plan. A salient feature of the recovering Europe has been identified as the increased role of the state as director of economies and, via increased taxation and state welfare, of civil societies and the organisation and direction of states for the war effort has been held to be a major influence on these developments.

A little disputed effect of total war is that it vastly increases the power of governments and both governments and peoples had become accustomed to, respectively, positions of command and dependency. Whether these post-war developments represented a continuation of war-time systems of government, had already been evident in pre-war Europe, or were largely a response to the problems of a ravaged Europe can be debated.

The more extreme forms of state control of economic and social life experienced by the states of Eastern and Central Europe may be seen as imported from, or imposed by, the Soviet Union, though many of these states had formerly been used to a high degree of government direction and were experiencing some of the worst problems of post-war dislocation and poverty. Central to the recovery of Western Europe was a balance or synthesis between liberal capitalism and socialism, though in France and Italy this was challenged by powerful Communist Parties, strengthened by the Resistance movements which had developed late in the war.

The general direction of governments' policies was contested between social democratic and moderate conservative parties, but moved steadily towards the latter from the early s. Whether the Cold War divide, the formation of the Soviet Bloc and the imposition of socialist one party economic and political systems of government on much of East Central Europe was planned by Joseph Stalin — from the beginning has been much debated.

Unity and Conflict identified a similar process. Anne Applebaum born , Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe has, more recently, provided support for this thesis. Certainly the take-over of the Baltic States had already provided a taste of what was to come, while Communist parties in states overrun by Russian forces clearly expected full support for their seizure of power. Against this interpretation, there is Stalin's apparent flexibility in making his "back of an envelope" Percentage Agreement with Churchill, while Mark Mazower has queried whether over Italy and Poland there was not, "at the highest levels, a tacit quid pro quo?

Blueprint or not, the fact remains that, one by one, socialist states, closely allied to the Soviet Union or "people's democracies" emerged: Bulgaria , where from a Communist-dominated Fatherland Front was the only legal political group; Poland and Romania, where a strong parallel state was dominated by Communists; and Hungary and Czechoslovakia, where, until , a limited degree of democracy was permitted. Some have argued that the timetable of the Soviet takeover was dependent on Stalin's reactions to US policies - the ending of aid to the Soviet Union, the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan -but there are good reasons for believing that whatever flexibility he demonstrated elsewhere, as in Greece , Stalin was determined to place sympathetic governments and economic systems in the countries "liberated" by the Soviet forces.

As he said to Milovan Djilas — , the Yugoslavian partisan, who eventually fell out with Marshal Josip Broz Tito — , "This war is not as in the past: That the USSR would reject the aid proffered by the Marshall Plan of to it and its satellites had been foreshadowed by its refusal to be bound by the conclusions of the Bretton Woods Conference of July or to join the two economic organisations set up by it, the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and development, considering, correctly, that the new economic order they represented gave a considerable advantage to the USA and to the US dollar which became the lynchpin of the world's financial system.

Essentially the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan represented the policy of the containment of Soviet power and influence and they and the Soviet reaction reinforced the emerging division of Europe. The most striking post-war development was the division of Germany into two states by the "Iron Curtain", a term first used by Joseph Goebbels — and later, in different circumstances, by Churchill. By no means planned by the Allies though the Morgenthau Plan had toyed with idea of dismembering Germany, just as Ferdinand Foch — and Georges Clemenceau — , had done in , the division of Germany proceeded in step with the development of the Cold War; the defeat of Germany provided the opportunity and the Cold War the rationale.

As with Europe as a whole, troops on the ground in largely dictated the character and loyalties of the two Germany's, but, even after the establishment of the two republics in , a unification of Germany remained a theoretical possibility until the rejection by the new Federal Republic's first chancellor, Konrad Adenauer — [ ] , of the "Stalin note" of March , which offered the possibility of unification at the price of the Federal Republic of Germany not entering into an alliance with the western powers.

What followed was the German "economic miracle", the transformation of the bleak and battered landscape of post war Western Germany into a thriving industrial economy that quickly became the power house of Western Europe, although when the two German Republics were formed in , neither appeared destined for economic success. Both owed their existence to the Second World War, but in the Anglo-American Bizone, anti-Nazism had quickly been replaced by anti-Communism, a process made seamless as it had Germany's experience of to build on, whereas in the Soviet zone which became the GDR or German Democratic Republic , anti-fascism and the idea that German anti-fascist forces had played a great role in freeing the country of the National Socialist regime became what has been described as the GDR's "congenital myth".

European economic development was on the cusp of the end of industrialisation and the beginning of the post-industrialisation era. This was not yet apparent to most observers, for the very name of the major step towards the European unity, the European Coal and Steel Community, demonstrates that the economic common sense of the time prioritised coal and heavy industry. Both western and Soviet Bloc states were able to make advances within the bounds of an economic outlook that was about to become moribund.

The Soviet Union and its satellites were as good at building steel works and giant shipyards as their western competitors, but the former failed to satisfy the emerging demands of consumers, just as they failed to provide political choice. Inevitably the first stage of European recovery had to be along the old lines - coal, steel and the rebuilding of the infrastructure - and here the Eastern European economies were able to compete. But, and here the two Germanys can be taken as representative, a gulf opened when it came to the consumer revolution in the production of automobiles, refrigerators and other "white goods" to satisfy the aspirations of consumers, it was West Germany and Western Europe which made progress.

A famous Italian film of , directed by Vittorio de Sica — , was Bicycle Thieves , a title and plot that would have been puzzling in Western Europe a decade later.

Devastation and Recovery

The success of the Western European economies in recovering from the nadir of was infinitely superior to the much more limited progress made by the Soviet Bloc, but it is easy from an early twenty-first perspective to underestimate the limited but real achievements of the Eastern European economies in the first post-war decades.

When the wave of what was virtually the looting of defeated and overrun states by the Soviet Union was over, towns and cities were rebuilt, if brutally and insensitively, while new industrial towns were established. Central planning saw employment and basic security implemented and was effective in the production of coal, iron and steel, though poor at encouraging agricultural production. Statistics were, of course, massaged for five-year plans could not be seen to have failed, but the success of Soviet science was seen as phenomenal in the West and was symbolised by the launch of Sputnik in , while higher education was a priority in most Eastern European states, to an extent which contradicts the widely held belief that education and economic prosperity necessarily go hand in hand.

East Germany may have lagged behind its western neighbour, but itself became by far the most economically successful state amongst the People's Democracies, even though the uprising of June , crushed by the Red Army and followed by the mass exodus of professionals and skilled workers to the West, demonstrated that without Russian intervention the GDR could have collapsed. The Hungarian revolt of again demonstrated the internal contradictions of the Eastern European economies and its suppression demonstrated that even post-Stalin, no significant deviations from Marxist-Leninism would be permitted.

The war had brought the USA, as well as the USSR, into the heart of Europe, though it was essentially the disintegration of the wartime Grand Alliance that made it stay there, and American aid via the Marshall Plan undoubtedly played a major role in assisting the recovery of Western Europe and determining its political complexion; the results of the Italian election of were important here in that they resulted in a resounding victory for the Christian Democrats as was Adenauer's narrow victory in the first elections to the Bundestag in August Parallel, however, to the close association in defence and politics with the United States was a movement towards European unity.

A Congress of Europe met in The Hague in May to discuss various plans for closer integration and this led to the formation of the Council of Europe the following year, which in turn set up a parliamentary assembly and then, in succession, to the Schuman Plan, the subsequent formation of the Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community EEC. Whether these twin developments were complementary or whether the latter involved a degree of anti-Americanism is arguable, especially in the case of France.

Although Ludwig Erhard, often seen as the pioneer of West German recovery, claimed that the recovery owed nothing to American economic support, the FDR was in general more sympathetic towards US policies. As with so many aspects of post-war Europe, it is difficult to see the moves towards what was to become the European Union as a direct result of the Second World War, if only because of the pre-war antecedents, such as Aristide Briand's — "Memorandum on a European Federal Union" and Jean Monnet's — collection of essays, entitled The United States of Europe ; indeed most of the best known proponents of European unity in the post war period had been promulgating it before the war.

Nevertheless, the war and its immediate aftermath, undoubtedly, gave a great fillip to the movement in that two of the motivations behind it, that a divided Europe inevitably seemed to lead to war and that individual national states could not compete in economic and political power with the USA, seemed clearly evident.

Yet, paradoxically, it was the threat from one super power and the protection of the other that provided the context for the post-war success of European supra-nationalism and the most important reason for it, the rapprochement of France and Germany. Ever since and even more earnestly from , France's main diplomatic aim had been the containment of what was, if only potentially, the major continental power.