In This Review

Empire By Integration: The United States and European Integration, 1945-1997
Empire By Integration: The United States and European Integration, 1945-1997
By Geir Lundestad
Oxford University Press, 1998, 200 pp

A concise survey, intelligently executed, of the motives and consequences behind American support for European integration since the Second World War. Lundestad, a historian at the University of Oslo, argues that the United States strongly supported the integration of Western Europe until the mid-1960s, "somewhat less strongly later." Such support was anomalous compared with other great powers in similar circumstances, whose classic maxim of divide and rule was repudiated by the United States. In view of this well-considered policy, the author concedes that "empire" might not be the right word for the trans-Atlantic relationship, but he uses it because the partnership between America and Europe was never fully equal and because Washington did seek control over its allies. Lundestad sees the United States more as a facilitator than a hindrance to European union, though in all likelihood American policy worked paradoxically in both directions. It facilitated European unity by providing a shield against the Soviet Union and the indispensable framework within which Germany might be integrated into the West, but the very success of containment meant that Europeans no longer faced the imperious necessity to build a full-fledged political and military union.