Susan McCall PerlmanJun 16, 2023
Intelligence and US Foreign Policy in the Early Cold War
Cambridge University Press 2023
With the defeat of France in 1940 by the Germans during World War II,
its status as a world power was deeply shaken. It wasn't until the
liberation by the Allies in 1944 that France was able to rebuild itself
but faced many challenges both external and internal. Externally, the
war against Germany still waged until May 1945. At the same time, the
emerging Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union meant
France would be forced to pick sides. Internally, the legacy of
polarized politics of the 1930s remained with the supporters of Charles
de Gaulle on one side and the French Communist Party (PCF) on the other side.
the midst of this volatile mix were the American administrations of
Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman trying to determine on how
best American foreign policy towards France should proceed in the
post-liberation era. A common perception promoted by American diplomats
in France was that the country was deeply weakened by the German wartime
occupation and was on the verge of not only civil war but a Communist
takeover as well. This perception would be a major driving force in
American foreign policy in the first years of the Cold War. It also
marked the beginning of a complex dynamic between diplomacy and
intelligence within the U.S. government. This gripping story is the
subject of Susan McCall Perlman's Contesting France: Intelligence and US Foreign Policy in the Early Cold War (Cambridge University Press, 2023).
Susan McCall Perlman is Professor of History and Intelligence Studies at the National Intelligence University. She has published widely on US foreign relations and intelligence and is the 2020 recipient of the Robert Beland Excellence in Teaching Award.
Stephen Satkiewicz is an independent scholar whose research areas are related to Civilizational Analysis, Social Complexity, Big History, Historical Sociology, military history, War studies, International Relations, Geopolitics, as well as Russian and East European history.