|Ausgabe 3/15: Die Verhandlung des Westens. Wissenseliten und die Heterogenität Westeuropas nach 1945|
Die Verhandlung des Westens. Wissenseliten und die Heterogenität Westeuropas nach 1945
Patricia Hertel / Martin Baumeister / Roberto Sala
Since the so-called “spatial turn”, historians have been intensively dealing with concepts of space and macro-regions. While Eastern Europe has received considerable attention, fewer studies have examined Western Europe and its heterogeneities during the Cold War era, especially beyond the examples of Great Britain, France, or Germany. The current issue analyses the internal differences in Western Europe from the 1940s until the end of the 1970s. It explores in particular the contrast between the geopolitical discourse of a homogeneous “Western bloc” and competing concepts that stressed the internal differences between the countries and regions considered to belong to the geopolitical “West”, such as the idea of industrialized “Northern” and agrarian “Southern” countries and regions. By focusing on the role of experts in national and transnational spheres, their discourses, as well as approaches to economic, political, and cultural differences, it demonstrates, via implicit and explicit concepts of a “North” and a “South”, how the idea of the “West” was negotiated and discussed.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and its predecessor, the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), are widely regarded as paradigmatic “Western” international organizations, essentially defining what it means to be a modern capitalist state. Focusing on transnational debates about development aid within the OEEC and OECD in the 1950s and 1960s, this article analyses, in the context of Cold War and decolonization, how the “West” was constructed among experts, how they managed intra-European discrepancies between the richer “Northern” European and the poorer “Southern” European countries, and how these were conceptualized in relation to non-member countries from the global “South”. It shows how development aid within the OEEC emerged simultaneously from the apparatus of its colonial powers and from the need to handle an intra-European “North-South” divide. The article further argues that within this economic organization the rift between richer and poorer countries running through Western Europe was primarily couched in a technical and economic language in which the categories “developed” and “underdeveloped” were central concepts. The expert debates defined a region with specific characteristics – economically backwards, poor, and structurally lagging behind the richer OECD countries – thereby establishing a discourse that, from the 1970s onwards, powerfully shaped the explicitly geographic social scientific concept of “Southern” Europe.
Recent historiography has struggled to determine the place Spain had under the rule of Franco within post-war European history. Most authors have positioned Spain outside of a new liberal Western European order while highlighting the differences between authoritarianism and democracy. In examining influential groups of urban planners and architects, this essay however argues that the ties between expert groups in Franco’s Spain and Western Europe were much closer than has often been suggested. Not only were the urban planners part of a transnational expert community, they also propagated a Europeanization of Spain that would foster economic development, bring about social peace, and a happier way of life. In their view, Western European modernity essentially meant a rationalization of society and everyday life. Their utopian project of authoritarian Europeanization, however, clashed with capitalist interests of building companies and was in itself highly contradictory, which led to a new debate about urban reform in the 1960s.
Turkey’s place in an economic network of European nations underwent dramatic changes over the 20th century. This reached from semi-colonial experiences in the late Ottoman times to a very extensive integration into a European political and economic system. In the very early days of the Cold War, Turkey was an essential cornerstone of an American geostrategic vision of “Western Europe”. Also, the expected increase of productivity made Turkey’s agriculture an important element in a scheme for feeding Europe, which severely lacked provisions in the first years after the war. Looking at agricultural and economic experts’ perspectives on Turkey’s place in Europe, this article links this post-war way of defining economic spaces to broader, semicolonial discourses about Turkish resources that go back to the 1930s and before. It further analyses how agricultural experts also shaped economic structures through the Marshall Plan, designed to integrate Turkey into a Western European economic space. By doing so, the article sheds light on Europe’s fragile spatial concepts in the Cold War period that relied more often on temporary political arrangements than on a real attempt to define a constant Southern European space.
The mass tourism of millions of Europeans towards the Mediterranean in the post-war era was made possible through the efforts of both private and governmental actors. This article explores how, why, and to what extent these experts promoted ideas of a “South” within Western Europe during the Cold War era. Evaluating different groups of tourism experts – such as tour operators, travel writers, tourism scholars, economists in international organizations, politicians, and journalists – this article identifies several discourses that expressed internal differences within Western Europe via the idea of a European “South” that belonged to Western Europe, but which was considered to be “different” at the same time. The article argues that tourism experts fostered quite contradictory ideas: on the one hand, tourism was a central field to promote the idea of a “Southern difference” and, on the other hand, tourism was used to bridge economic gaps and political conflicts within Western Europe.
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|Letzte Aktualisierung ( Tuesday, 31. January 2017 )|