Historians of the Cold War, argues William Hitchcock, have toooften overlooked the part that European nations played in shapingthe post-World War II international system. In particular,France, a country beset by economic difficulties and politicalinstability in the aftermath of the war, has been given shortshrift. With this book, Hitchcock restores France to the narrativeof Cold War history and illuminates its central role in thereconstruction of Europe. Drawing on a wide array of evidencefrom French, American, and British archives, he shows that Franceconstructed a coherent national strategy for domestic andinternational recovery and pursued that strategy with tenacityand effectiveness in the first postwar decade. This once-occupiednation played a vital part in the occupation and administrationof Germany, framed the key institutions of the "new" Europe,helped forge the NATO alliance, and engineered an astonishingeconomic recovery. In the process, France successfully contestedAmerican leadership in Europe and used its position as a key ColdWar ally to extract concessions from Washington on a wide rangeof economic and security issues.