Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 184–194 | Cite as

France and NATO, 1949–1991

  • Marc TrachtenbergEmail author


What role, in the French view, was the United States to play in the defence of Europe? From the very outset, the feeling was that the NATO allies could not be totally dependent on the United States for their security. Even during the Fourth Republic, the French were interested in building a European counterweight to American power within the Western alliance, and during the Gaullist period the whole idea of an independent Europe seemed to play an even more prominent role in French policy. But an independent Europe would have to include a strong, and therefore nuclearised, West German state, something the French throughout the ColdWar era could scarcely bring themselves to accept. That meant that there was no alternative to a continuing American military presence in Europe, and thus to a degree of political dependence upon the United States — a conclusion the French, with great difficulty, came to at the end of the Cold War.


France NATO defence of Europe US–European relations Franco–American relations 


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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of California at Los AngelesUSA

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