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Cold War Holidays: American Tourism in France

de Christopher Endy

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Moving beyond traditional state-centered conceptions of foreign relations, Christopher Endy approaches the Cold War era relationship between France and the United States from the original perspective of tourism. Focusing on American travel in France after World War II, Cold War Holidays shows how both the U.S. and French governments actively cultivated and shaped leisure travel to advance their foreign policy agendas. From the U.S. government's campaign to encourage American vacations in Western Europe as part of the Marshall Plan, to Charles de Gaulle's aggressive promotion of American tourism to France in the 1960s, Endy reveals how consumerism and globalization played a major role in transatlantic affairs. Yet contrary to analyses of globalization that emphasize the decline of the nation-state, Endy argues that an era notable for the rise of informal transnational exchanges was also a time of entrenched national identity and persistent state power. A lively array of voices informs Endy's analysis: Parisian hoteliers and cafe waiters, American and French diplomats, advertising and airline executives, travel writers, and tourists themselves. The resulting portrait reveals tourism as a colorful and consequential illustration of the changing nature of international relations in an age of globalization.… (més)
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A useful case study of one effort to use mass tourism as an instrument of national policy, and the limitations thereoff. While the hopes of early Cold War administrations that mass American tourism might assist French recovery and build Franco-American unity look almost comical now, ironies do abound. This is particularly when French governments of the Fifth Republic began sounding like Truman and Eisenhower era officials in their call for a more consumer-friendly tourist industry in France. One can also snicker at how both American and French governments of the period implored their citizens to rise above their respective stereotypes. ( )
  Shrike58 | Dec 19, 2007 |
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Moving beyond traditional state-centered conceptions of foreign relations, Christopher Endy approaches the Cold War era relationship between France and the United States from the original perspective of tourism. Focusing on American travel in France after World War II, Cold War Holidays shows how both the U.S. and French governments actively cultivated and shaped leisure travel to advance their foreign policy agendas. From the U.S. government's campaign to encourage American vacations in Western Europe as part of the Marshall Plan, to Charles de Gaulle's aggressive promotion of American tourism to France in the 1960s, Endy reveals how consumerism and globalization played a major role in transatlantic affairs. Yet contrary to analyses of globalization that emphasize the decline of the nation-state, Endy argues that an era notable for the rise of informal transnational exchanges was also a time of entrenched national identity and persistent state power. A lively array of voices informs Endy's analysis: Parisian hoteliers and cafe waiters, American and French diplomats, advertising and airline executives, travel writers, and tourists themselves. The resulting portrait reveals tourism as a colorful and consequential illustration of the changing nature of international relations in an age of globalization.

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