The United States, Italy and the Origins of Cold War: Waging Political Warfare, 1945–1950

The United States, Italy and the Origins of Cold War: Waging Political Warfare, 1945–1950

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Kaeten Mistry
Cambridge University Press, 5/15/2014
EAN 9781107035089, ISBN10: 1107035082

Hardcover, 308 pages, 22.8 x 15.2 x 2 cm
Language: English

This international history of the origins and nature of 'cold war' offers the first systematic examination of the complex relationship between the United States and Italy, and of American debates about warfare in the years between World War II and the Korean War. Kaeten Mistry reveals how the defeat of the Marxist left in the 1948 Italian election was perceived as a victory for the United States amidst a 'war short of war', as defined by influential planner George Kennan, becoming an allegory for cold war in American minds. The book analyses how political warfare sought to employ covert operations, overt tactics and propaganda in a co-ordinated offensive against international communism. Charting the critical contribution of a broad network of local, religious, civic, labour, and business groups, Mistry reveals how the notion of a specific American success paved the way for a problematic future for US-Italian relations and American political warfare.

1. Uncertain bonds (1945–6)
2. Catalysts of convergence (1946–7)
3. Italy in American visions (1947)
4. The consolidation of DC-centrists (1947)
5. Means short of war (1946–8)
6. The 1948 election campaign
7. Rocky relationships (1948–50)
8. Organising political warfare (1948–50)

'An indispensable guide to the crucial Italian episode in early Cold War history and America's first experiment in peacetime political warfare.' David Ellwood, Johns Hopkins University

'Kaeten Mistry has managed two important feats in this book. He has carefully examined the bundle of diplomatic, economic, strategic, and political problems that beset Italian-US relations during the early Cold War and ably traced Washington's evolving European policy in the late 1940s centered on measures short of outright warfare. His thoughtful treatment of this vital subject will repay close attention by specialist scholars and general readers alike.' David Mayers, Boston University

'Kaeten Mistry offers a new and innovative interpretation of US intervention in early Cold War Italy. He highlights the ambitions, successes and contradictions of US policies in Italy and the lasting impact they had on Washington's Cold War strategy.' Mario Del Pero, SciencesPo, Paris

'A skilful investigation of the intricacies of political warfare at a crucial moment in the making of the early Cold War (and of trans-Atlantic relations), Mistry's book explores the composite set of actors and interactions that made the 'West', and unveils the intellectual fallacies and self-serving myths that would later sustain US interventions abroad.' Federico Romero, European University Institute, Florence, Italy

'A highly sophisticated analysis of American policies towards Italy at the start of the Cold War. By concentrating on US capabilities of political warfare, Mistry sets the stage for a half-century of American political interventions abroad.' Arne Westad, London School of Economics and Political Science

'Mistry is especially adept at analyzing how key American policymakers, such as George Kennan, Allen Dulles, and Harry Truman, sorted and carried out their plans. Readers will certainly be interested to know more about what happened after the 1948 election in Italy and Mistry has opened this question for other scholars. His bibliography is rich and of tremendous use to anyone researching the Cold War or the immediate postwar period in Italy. Mistry has incorporated an impressive number of archival documents from both Italian and American sources … a solid and very detailed study of US political warfare in the early Cold War that also offers a clear and effective account of the reaction of a small, yet critical, country and its related non-state actors.' Wendy Pojmann, H-Diplo

'In The United States, Italy and the Origins of Cold War: Waging Political Warfare, 1945–1950, Kaeten Mistry sets out to complicate the writing of American diplomatic history, challenging the simplistic notion that foreign policy emanates entirely from the upper echelons of the government … this is a fine book both in its detailed explication of the conduct of America's political warfare in postwar Italy and, perhaps more importantly, in its entirely convincing challenge to traditional assumptions of top-down policymaking.' Andy Buchanan, H-Socialisms