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Transatlantic Networks since World War II


Transatlantic relations since the second World War have been mostly studied at an intergovernmental and international level. In the proposed project we wish to concentrate on the formal and informal private groups which emerged in the 1950s and structured several transatlantic networks between N. American and Western European elites. The goal is to identify their role and follow their evolution after the the 1950s and 60s to see how they could cope with the new generation of Atlantic leaders of the 70s and the new transatlantic divergences in a more contemporary period. Understanding their interaction with American cultural diplomacy, with the intellectual and cultural Cold War context, with the business circles and with official diplomacy will help have a c learer picture of the texture of the transatlantic relationship during the Cold War period. For this we will use a classical, historical method based on public and private archival collections in Europe and in the US, and oral history interviews. In that context, the archives of the big American Foundations, who played a major role in creating or supporting those transatlantic networks, are especially important, as well as those of the major think tanks that were working in a loose network of policy-orien ted analysts who circulated between Europe and the US. The archival resources available in and around New York, and the expertise in the history of philanthropy and transatlantic relations of Professor Berghahn, at Columbia University, are therefore essent ial to the project.We will also draw on the works by sociologists or political scientists on such concepts as social and political networks or elites to enrich our approach. In addition, the project fits into a transatlantic research programme presently be ing developed, and would result in a book and a conference that could crystallize an informal network of scholars on this new topic, thereby contributing to the transfer of expertise to European researchers.

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