Taking all deaths—civilian and military alike—into account, Poland, Yugoslavia, the USSR and Greece were the worst affected. Poland lost about one in five of her pre-war population, including a far higher percentage of the educated population, deliberately targeted for destruction by the Nazis.2 Yugoslavia lost one person in eight of the country’s pre-war population, the USSR one in 11, Greece one in 14. To point up the contrast, Germany suffered a rate of loss of 1/15; France 1/77; Britain 1/125.

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camps—more Russians died in German prisoner-of-war camps in the years 1941-45 than in all of World War One.

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In view of these figures, it is hardly surprising that post-war Europe, especially central and eastern Europe, suffered an acute shortage of men. In the Soviet Union the number of women exceeded men by 20 million, an imbalance that would take more than a generation to correct. The Soviet rural economy now depended heavily on women for labour of every kind: not only were there no men, there were almost no horses. In Yugoslavia—thanks to German reprisal actions in which all males over 15 were shot—there were many villages with no adult men left at all. In Germany itself, two out of every three men born in 1918 did not survive Hitler’s war: in one community for which we have detailed figures—the Berlin suburb of Treptow—in February 1946, among adults aged 19-21 there were just 181 men for 1,105 women.

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For much of 1945 the population of Vienna subsisted on a ration of 800 calories per day; in Budapest in December 1945 the officially provided ration was just 556 calories per day (children in nurseries received 800). During the Dutch ‘hunger winter’ of 1944-45 (when parts of the country had already been liberated) the weekly calorie ration in some regions fell below the daily allocation recommended by the Allied Expeditionary Force for its soldiers; 16,000 Dutch citizens died, mostly old people and children. In Germany, where the average adult intake had been 2,445 calories per day in 1940-41 and was 2,078 calories per day in 1943, it had fallen to 1,412 calories for the year 1945-46. But this was just an average. In June 1945, in the American Zone of occupation, the official daily ration for ‘normal’ German consumers (excluding favoured categories of worker) stood at just 860 calories. These figures gave rueful significance to the wartime German joke: ‘Better enjoy the war—the peace will be terrible.’ But the situation was not much better in most of Italy and somewhat worse in some districts of Yugoslavia and Greece.

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By 1953 a total of five and a half million Sovietnationals had been repatriated. One in five of them ended up shot or dispatched to the Gulag. Many more were sent directly into Siberian exile or else assigned to labour battalions.

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In Germany there was no functioning currency. The black market flourished and cigarettes were the accepted medium of exchange: teachers in DP camps were paid 5 packs a week. The value of a carton of American cigarettes in Berlin ranged from $60-$165, an opportunity for soldiers in the American occupation forces to make serious money converting and re-converting their cigarette allocation: in the first four months of the Allied occupation US troops in Berlin alone sent home $11 million more than they received in wages. In Braunschweig, 600 cigarettes would buy you a bicycle—a necessity in Germany no less than in Italy, as depicted unforgettably in Vittorio de Sica’s 1948 film Bicycle Thieves.

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The Americans and British could guarantee France against a renascent military threat from Germany; and American policy could hold out the promise of economic recovery in Germany. But none of this resolved France’s long-standing dilemma—how to secure privileged French access to the materials and resources located there. If these objectives were not to be obtained by force or by annexation, then an alternative means had to be found. The solution, as it emerged in French thinking in the course of the ensuing months, lay in ‘Europeanising’ the German Problem: as Bidault, once again, expressed it in January 1948: ‘On the economic plane, but also on the political plane one must . . . propose as an objective to the Allies and to the Germans themselves, the integration of Germany into Europe . . . it is . . . the only means to give life and consistency to a politically decentralized, but economically prosperous Germany.’ In short, if you could not destroy Germany, then join her up to a European framework in which she could do no harm militarily but much good economically.

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This newfound Bolshevik appeal was founded on the seduction of power. For the USSR was very powerful indeed: despite their huge losses in the first six months of the German invasion—when the Red Army lost 4 million men, 8,000 aircraft and 17,000 tanks—the Soviet armies had recovered to the point where, in 1945, they constituted the greatest military force Europe had ever seen: in Hungary and Romania alone they maintained, through 1946, a military presence of some 1,600,000 men. Stalin had direct or (in the case of Yugoslavia) indirect control of a huge swathe of eastern and central Europe. His armies had only narrowly been blocked, by the rapid advance of the British under Montgomery, from moving forward through north Germany as far as the Danish border.

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On March 10th, Sokolovsky condemned plans for western Germany as the enforced imposition of capitalist interests upon a German population denied the chance to demonstrate its desire for Socialism, and repeated Soviet assertions that Western powers were abusing their presence in Berlin—which he claimed was part of the Soviet Zone—to interfere in eastern German affairs. Ten days later, at an ACC meeting in Berlin on March 20th, Sokolovsky denounced the ‘unilateral actions’ of the Western Allies, ‘taken in Western Germany and which are against the interests of the peaceful countries and peace-loving Germans who seek the peaceful unity and democratization of their country’. He then swept out of the room, followed by the rest of the Soviet delegation. No date was set for a further meeting. The joint Allied occupation of Germany was over: less than two weeks later, on April 1st, the Soviet military authorities in Berlin began to interfere with surface traffic between western Germany and the Western Allies’ zones of occupation in Berlin. The real Cold War in Europe had begun.

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Looking back, it is somewhat ironic that after fighting a murderous war to reduce the power of an over-mighty Germany at the heart of the European continent, the victors should have proven so unable to agree on post-war arrangements to keep the German colossus down that they ended up dividing it between them in order to benefit separately from its restored strength. It had become clear—first to the British, then to the Americans, belatedly to the French and finally to the Soviets—that the only way to keep Germany from being the problem was to change the terms of the debate and declare it the solution. This was uncomfortable, but it worked. In the words of Noel Annan, a British intelligence officer in occupied Germany, ‘It was odious to find oneself in alliance with people who had been willing to go along with Hitler to keep Communism at bay. But the best hope for the West was to encourage the Germans themselves to create a Western democratic state.

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In view of continuing scholarly disagreement over responsibility for the division of Europe, it is perhaps worth emphasizing that neither Stalin nor his local representatives were in any doubt as to their long-term goal. Coalitions were the route to power for Communist parties in a region where they were historically weak; they were only ever a means to this end. As Walter Ulbricht, leader of the East German Communists, explained privately to his followers when they expressed bemusement at Party policy in 1945: ‘It’s quite clear—it’s got to look democratic, but we must have everything in our control.’ Control, in fact, mattered much more than policies. It was not by chance that in every coalition government—‘Fatherland Front’, ‘Unity Government’ or ‘bloc of anti-Fascist parties’—in eastern Europe, Communists sought control of certain key ministries: the Ministry of the Interior, which gave the Party authority over the police and security forces as well as the power to grant or withhold licenses to print newspapers; the Ministry of Justice, with control over purges, tribunals and judges; the Ministry of Agriculture, which administered land reforms and redistribution and was thus in a position to confer favours and buy the loyalty of millions of peasants. Communists also put themselves in key positions on ‘denazification’ committees, district commissions and in the trade unions.

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The Communists’ stated objective in 1945 and 1946 was to ‘complete’ the unfinished bourgeois revolutions of 1848, to re-distribute property, guarantee equality and affirm democratic rights in a part of Europe where all three had always been in short supply. These were plausible goals, at least on the surface, and they appealed to many in the region and in western Europe who wanted to think well of Stalin and his purposes. Their appeal to Communists themselves, however, was sharply diminished in a series of local and national elections in eastern Germany, Austria and Hungary. There it became clear very early (in the Hungarian case at the Budapest municipal elections of November 1945) that however successfully they had inserted themselves into positions of local influence, Communists were never going to achieve public power through the ballot box. Despite every advantage of military occupation and economic patronage, Communist candidates were consistently defeated by representatives of the old Liberal, Social Democratic and Agrarian/Smallholder parties. The result was that Communist parties adopted instead a strategy of covert pressure, followed by open terror and repression. In the course of 1946 and into 1947 electoral opponents were maligned, threatened, beaten up, arrested, tried as ‘Fascists’ or ‘collaborators’ and imprisoned or even shot. ‘Popular’ militias helped create a climate of fear and insecurity which Communist spokesmen then blamed on their political critics. Vulnerable or unpopular politicians from non-Communist parties were targeted for public opprobrium, while their colleagues consented to this mistreatment in the hope it would not be applied to them. Thus in Bulgaria, as early as the summer of 1946, seven out of twenty-two members of the ‘Praesidium’ of the Agrarian Union and thirty-five out of the eighty members of its governing Council were in prison. Typical of the charges was one against the Agrarian journalist Kunev, accusing him of having, in an article, ‘in a truly criminal manner called the Bulgarian government political and economic dreamers’.

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scale of Western rearmament was dramatic indeed. The US defense budget rose from $15.5 billion in August 1950 to $70 billion by December of the following year, following President Truman’s declaration of a National Emergency. By 1952-53 defense expenditure consumed 17.8 percent of the US GNP, compared with just 4.7 percent in 1949.

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economics of comparative advantage. The Soviet model of the thirties, improvised to address uniquely Soviet circumstances of vast distance, abundant raw materials and endless, cheap, unskilled labor, made no sense at all for tiny countries like Hungary or Czechoslovakia, lacking raw materials but with a skilled industrial labor force and long-established international markets for high-value-added products. The Czech case is a particularly striking one. Before World War Two, the Czech regions of Bohemia and Moravia (already the industrial heartland of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before 1914) had a higher per capita output than France, specializing in leather goods, motor vehicles, high-tech arms manufacture and a broad range of luxury goods. Measured by industrial skill levels, productivity, standard of living and share of foreign markets, pre-1938 Czechoslovakia was comparable to Belgium and well ahead of Austria and Italy.

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Shortly before Kostov’s execution the Hungarian Communists had staged a show trial of their would-be ‘Tito’, Communist Interior Minister László Rajk. The text was the same as in Bulgaria—literally so, with only the names changed. Accusations, details, confessions were all identical, which is not surprising

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The advantage of the confession, in addition to its symbolic use as an exercise in guilt-transferal, was that it confirmed Communist doctrine. There were no disagreements in Stalin’s universe, only heresies; no critics, only enemies; no errors, only crimes. The trials served both to illustrate Stalin’s virtues and identify his enemies’ crimes.

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western Europeans were largely indifferent to the disappearance of eastern Europe. Indeed, they soon became so accustomed to it, and were anyway so preoccupied with the remarkable changes taking place in their own countries, that it seemed quite natural that there should be an impermeable armed barrier running from the Baltic to the Adriatic. But for the peoples to the east of that barrier, thrust back as it seemed into a grimy, forgotten corner of their own continent, at the mercy of a semi-alien Great Power no better off than they and parasitic upon their shrinking resources, history itself ground slowly to a halt.

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The result was that, for the first time since the 1840s, when Karl Marx, Heinrich Heine, Adam Mickiewicz, Giuseppe Mazzini and Alexander Herzen all lived in Parisian exile, France was once again the natural European home of the disinherited intellectual, a clearing house for modern European thought and politics. Postwar Parisian intellectual life was thus doubly cosmopolitan: men and women from all over Europe partook of it—and it was the only European stage on which local opinions and disputes were magnified and transmitted to a wide, international audience.

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Furthermore: Members of Parliament were not to appear on radio programs that might be ‘undignified or unsuitable’ for public figures, nor were there to be any jokes or references that might encourage ‘Strikes or industrial disputes. The Black Market, Spivs and drones.’ These terms—‘spivs’ and ‘drones’ for louche types and minor criminals, the ‘black market’ as an all-purpose term for traders and customers circumventing rationing and other restrictions—show how much Britain at least lived for some years in the shadow of the war. Well into the 1950s the BBC could reprimand one producer, Peter Eton of the popular radio comedy The Goon Show, for allowing ‘Major Dennis Bloodnok’ (played by Peter Sellers) to be awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for ‘emptying dustbins in the heat of battle’ (and for permitting an actor to ‘imitate the Queen’s voice trying to shoo away pigeons at Trafalgar Square’). Such strictures, and their accompanying note of high-collared, Edwardian-era reformism, were perhaps distinctive to Britain. But their tone would have been familiar all across the continent. In school, in church, on state-run radio, in the confident, patronizing style of the broadsheet and even the tabloid press, and in the speech and dress of public figures, Europeans were still very much subject to the habits and regulations of an earlier time. We have already noted how many of the political leaders of the age were men of another time—Britain’s Clement Attlee would not have been out of place in a Victorian mission to the industrial slums, and it was altogether fitting that the prime minister who oversaw Britain’s transition to a modern welfare state should have begun his public career performing good works in the East End of pre-World War One London.

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As early as 1927 the UK Parliament had passed a law instituting a quota system, under which 20 percent of all films released in Britain by 1936 had to be British made. After World War Two the British Government’s goal was to set this quota at 30 percent for 1948. The French, Italians and Spanish all pursued similar or even more ambitious objectives (the German film industry, of course, was in no position to demand such protection). But heavy lobbying by Hollywood kept State Department pressure on European negotiators, and agreement to allow entry for US films was part of every major bipartite trade deal or loan agreement reached by the US and its European allies in the first post-war decade.

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Thus, under the terms of the Blum-Byrnes accords of May 1946, the French government very reluctantly reduced its protectionist quota from 55 percent French-made films per annum to 30 percent—with the result that within a year domestic film production was halved. The British Labour Government similarly failed to keep out US imports. Only Franco succeeded in restricting US film imports into Spain (despite an attempted ‘boycott’ of the Spanish market by US producers from 1955 to 1958), in large measure because he had no need to respond to public opinion or anticipate the political fall-out of his decisions. But even in Spain, as we have seen, American movies vastly outnumbered home-grown products.

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The simple ‘verities’ of these films reflect not so much the European world as it then was as that same world passed through the grid of wartime memories and myths. Workers, the undamaged countryside, above all young children (boys especially) stand for something good and uncorrupted and real—even in the midst of urban destruction and destitution—when set against false values of class, wealth, greed, collaboration, luxe et volupté.

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Whereas in the US by the end of the 1940s most industrial equipment was under five years old, in post-war France the average age of machinery was twenty years. A typical French farmer produced food for five fellow Frenchmen; the American farmer was already producing at three times this rate. Forty years of war and economic depression had taken a heavy toll.

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This paradox—that a peaceful European settlement was taking shape even as the two Great Powers of the day were arming themselves to the hilt and preparing for the eventuality of a thermonuclear war—was not so bizarre as it might appear. The growing emphasis in US and Soviet strategic thinking on nuclear weapons, and the intercontinental missiles with which to deliver them, released European states from the need to compete in an arena where they could not hope to match the resources of the superpowers, even though central Europe remained the most likely terrain over which any future war might be fought. For this reason, the Cold War in Western Europe was experienced quite differently in these years from the way it was felt in the United States, or indeed in the USSR.

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The United States’ nuclear arsenal had grown rapidly through the 1950s. From 9 in 1946, 50 in 1948 and 170 at the beginning of the decade, the stockpile of nuclear weapons at the disposal of the US armed forces had reached 841 by 1952 before expanding to around 2,000 by the time of Germany’s entry into NATO (it would reach 28,000 on the eve of the Cuban crisis seven years later). To deliver these bombs the US Air Force had a fleet of forward-based B-29 bombers that grew from around 50 at the onset of the 1948 Berlin blockade to well over 1,000 five years later;

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The journey was not entirely risk free, and refugees could bring only what they could carry; but neither consideration inhibited younger East Germans from undertaking it. Between the spring of 1949 and August 1961 somewhere between 2.8 and 3 million East Germans went through Berlin to the West, around 16 percent of the country’s population. Many of them were educated, professional men and women—East Germany’s future; but the numbers also included thousands of farmers who fled rural collectivization in 1952, and workers who abandoned the regime after the violent repression of June 1953. Berlin’s curious

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The chief victim of the CDU’s success was the Social Democratic Party, the SPD. On the face of things, the SPD ought to have been better placed, even allowing for the loss of traditionally Socialist voters in northern and eastern Germany. Adenauer’s anti-Nazi record was spotty: as late as 1932 he had believed that Hitler could be brought to behave responsibly, and he was perhaps rather fortunate to have been an object of Nazi suspicion both in 1933 (when he was ousted from his post as mayor of Cologne) and again in the last months of the war when he was briefly imprisoned as an opponent of the regime. Without these points to his credit it is doubtful whether the Western Allies would have sponsored his rise to prominence. The Socialist leader Kurt Schumacher, on the other hand, had been a resolute anti-Nazi from the outset. In the Reichstag on February 23rd 1932 he had famously denounced National Socialism as ‘a continuous appeal to the inner swine in human beings’, unique in German history in its success in ‘ceaselessly mobilizing human stupidity.’ Arrested in July 1933 he spent most of the next twelve years in concentration camps, which permanently damaged his health zand shortened his life. Gaunt and stooped, Schumacher, with his personal heroism and his unswerving insistence after the war on Germany’s obligation to acknowledge its crimes, was not just the natural leader of the Socialists but the only national politician in postwar Germany who might have provided his fellow Germans with a clear moral compass.

in December 1951, just 5 percent of West Germans surveyed admitted feeling ‘guilty’ towards Jews. A further 29 percent acknowledged that Germany owed some restitution to the Jewish people. The rest were divided between those (some two-fifths of respondents) who thought that only people ‘who really committed something’ were responsible and should pay, and those (21 percent) who thought ‘that the Jews themselves were partly responsible for what happened to them during the Third Reich.’

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settlement in the East. What the Treaty of 1963 and the new Franco-German condominium really confirmed was France’s decisive turn towards Europe. For Charles de Gaulle, the lesson of the twentieth century was that France could only hope to recover its lost glories by investing in the European project and shaping it into the service of French goals. Algeria was gone.

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Modern agriculture has never been free of politically motivated protections of one kind or another. Even the US, whose external tariffs fell by 90 percent between 1947 and 1967, took care (and still does) to exclude agriculture from this liberalization of trade. And farm products were from an early stage excluded from the deliberations of GATT. The EEC, then, was hardly unique. But the perverse consequences of the Common Agricultural Policy were perhaps distinctive all the same. As European producers became ever more efficient (their guaranteed high incomes allowing them to invest in the best equipment and fertilizer), output vastly exceeded demand, especially in those commodities favored by the policy: the latter was markedly skewed in favor of the cereal and livestock in which big French agri-businesses tended to specialize, while doing little for

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The military outcome was never in question: despite intense resistance, Soviet forces took Budapest within seventy-two hours, and the government of János Kádár was sworn in on November 7th. Some Workers’ Councils survived for another month—Kádár preferring not to attack them directly—and sporadic strikes lasted into 1957: according to a confidential report submitted to the Soviet Central Committee on November 22nd 1956, Hungary’s coalmines had been reduced to working at 10 percent of capacity. But within a month the new authorities felt confident enough to take the initiative. On January 5th, the death penalty was established for ‘provocation to strike’ and repression began in earnest. In addition to around 2,700 Hungarians who died in the course of the fighting a further 341 were tried and executed in the years that followed (the last death sentence was carried out in 1961). Altogether, some 22,000 Hungarians were sentenced to prison (many for five years or more) for their role in the ‘counter revolution’. A further 13,000 were sent to internment camps and many more were dismissed from their jobs or placed under close surveillance until a general amnesty was declared in March 1963. An estimated 200,000 people—over 2 percent of the population—fled Hungary in the aftermath of the Soviet occupation, most of them young and many from the educated professional élite of Budapest and the urbanized west of the country. They settled in the US (which took in some 80,000 Hungarian refugees), Austria, Britain, West Germany, Switzerland, France and many other places. For a while the fate of Nagy and his colleagues remained uncertain. After spending nearly three weeks in the Yugoslav Embassy in Budapest they were tricked into leaving on November 22nd, immediately arrested by the Soviet authorities, and abducted to prison in Romania.

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By the early nineteen-fifties, the countries of western Europe could offer their citizens more than just hope and a social safety net: they also provided an abundance of jobs. Through the course of the 1930s the average unemployment rate in western Europe had been 7.5 percent (11.5 percent in the UK). By the 1950s it had fallen below 3 percent everywhere except Italy. By the mid-1960s the European average was just 1.5 percent. For the first time since records were kept, western Europe was experiencing full employment. In many sectors there were now endemic labor shortages.

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In Italy, between 1955 and 1971, an estimated nine million people moved from one region of their country to another.

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In the years 1950-1970 a quarter of the entire Greek labor force left to find work abroad: at the height of the emigration, in the mid-Sixties, 117,000 Greeks left their country every year.

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Seven million Italians left their country between 1945 and 1970. In the years 1950-1970 a quarter of the entire Greek labor force left to find work abroad: at the height of the emigration, in the mid-Sixties, 117,000 Greeks left their country every year.122 It is estimated that between 1961 and 1974, one and a half million Portugese workers found jobs abroad—the greatest population movement in Portugal’s history, leaving behind in Portugal itself a workforce of just 3.1 million. These were dramatic figures for a country whose total population in 1950 had been only eight and one third million.

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Like everyone else, the new workers not only made things; they bought them. This was something quite new. Throughout recorded history, most people in Europe—as elsewhere in the world—had possessed just four kinds of things: those they inherited from their parents; those they made themselves; those they bartered or exchanged with others; and those few items they had been obliged to purchase for cash, almost always made by someone they knew. Industrialization in the course of the nineteenth century had transformed the world of town- and city-dwellers; but in many parts of rural Europe the traditional economy operated largely unchanged up to and even beyond the Second World War.

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Cinema in Europe declined from a social activity to an art form. Whereas audiences in the 1940s and 1950s had automatically gone to see whatever happened to be showing at the local cinema, they now went only if they were attracted by a particular film. For random entertainment, to see whatever was ‘on’, they turned instead to television.

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Moments of great cultural significance are often appreciated only in retrospect. The Sixties were different: the transcendent importance contemporaries attached to their own times—and their own selves—was one of the special features of the age.

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Until the 1950s, most children in Europe left school after completing their primary education, usually between the ages of 12 and 14. In many places compulsory primary education itself, introduced at the end of the nineteenth century, was only weakly enforced—the children of peasants in Spain, Italy, Ireland and pre-Communist eastern Europe typically dropped out of school during the spring, summer and early fall. Secondary education was still a privilege confined to the middle and upper classes. In post-war Italy, less than 5 percent of the population had completed secondary school.

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But it is symptomatic of the fundamentally apolitical mood of May 1968 that the best-selling French books on the subject a generation later are not serious works of historical analysis, much less the earnest doctrinal tracts of the time, but collections of contemporary graffiti and slogans. Culled from the walls, noticeboardsand streets of the city, these witty one-liners encourage young people to make love, have fun, mock those in authority, generally do what feels good—and change the world almost as a by-product. Sous le pavé, as the slogan went, la plage. (‘Under the paving stones—the beach’). What the slogan writers of May 1968 never do is invite their readers to do anyone serious harm. Even the attacks on De Gaulle treat him as a superannuated impediment rather than as a political foe. They bespeak irritation and frustration, but remarkably little anger. This was to be a victimless revolution, which in the end meant that it was no sort of revolution at all.

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The late-Sixties cycle of protests and disruptions in Italy began in Turin in 1968 with student objections to plans to move part of the university (the science faculty) to the suburbs—an echo of the protests taking place in suburban Nanterre at exactly the same time. There was a parallel, too, in the subsequent closure, in March 1968, of the University of Rome following student riots there in protest of a parliamentary bill to reform the universities. But unlike the French student movements, the Italian student organizers’ interest in the reform of academic institutions was always secondary to their identification with the workers’ movement, as the names of their organizations—Avanguardia Operaia or Potere Operaio (‘Workers’ Vanguard’, ‘Workers’ Power’)—suggest. The labor disputes that began in the Pirelli company’s Milan factories in September 1968 and lasted through November 1969 (when the government pressured Pirelli into conceding the strikers’ main demands) furnished an industrial counterpoint and encouragement to the student protesters. The strike movement of 1969 was the largest in Italian history, and had a mobilizing and politicizing impact upon young Italian radicals out of all proportion to France’s brief, month-long protests of the previous year. The ‘hot autumn’ of that year, with its wildcat strikes and spontaneous occupations by small groups of workers demanding a say in the way factories were run, led a generation of Italian student theorists and their followers to conclude that their root and branch rejection of the ‘bourgeois state’ was the right tactic. Workers’ autonomy—as tactic and as objective—was the path of the future. Not only were reforms—in schools and factories alike—unattainable, they were undesirable. Compromise was defeat.

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Among the slogans of the Turin student demonstrations of June 1968 were ‘No to social peace in the factories!’ and ‘Only violence helps where violence reigns.’ In the months that followed, university and factory demonstrations saw an accentuation of the taste for violence, both rhetorical (‘Smash the state, don’t change it!’) and real. The most popular song of the Italian student movement in these months was, appropriately enough, La Violenza. The ironies of all this were not lost on contemporaries. As the film-maker Pier Paolo Pasolini remarked in the wake of student confrontations with the police in Rome’s Villa Borghese gardens, the class roles were now reversed: the privileged children of the bourgeoisie were screaming revolutionary slogans and beating up the underpaid sons of southern sharecroppers charged with preserving civic order. For anyone with an adult memory of the recent Italian past, this turn to violence could only end badly. Whereas French students had played with the idea that public authority might prove vulnerable to disruption from below, a caprice that Gaullism’s firmly-grounded institutions allowed them to indulge with impunity, Italy’s radicals had good reason to believe that they might actually succeed in rending the fabric of the post-Fascist Republic—and they were keen to try.

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The youthful radical intelligentsia of the German Sixties accused the Bonn Republic of covering up the crimes of its founding generation. Many of the men and women born in Germany during the war and immediate post-war years never knew their fathers: who they were, what they had done. In school they were taught nothing about German history post-1933 (and not much more about the Weimar era either). As Peter Schneider and others would later explain, they lived in a vacuum constructed over a void: even at home—indeed, especially at home—no-one would talk about

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the radicals’ hatred for the ‘hypocrisies’ of the Federal Republic made them uniquely susceptible to the claims of East Germany’s Communists to have faced up to German history and purged their Germany of its fascist past. Moreover, the anti-Communism that bound West Germany into the Atlantic Alliance and that constituted its core political doctrine was itself a target for the New Left, particularly in the years of the Vietnam War, and helps account for their anti-anti-Communism. Emphasis upon the crimes of Communism was just a diversion from the crimes of capitalism. Communists, as Daniel Cohn-Bendit had expressed it in Paris, might be ‘Stalinist scoundrels’; but liberal democrats were no better.

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Thus the German Left turned a deaf ear to rumblings of discontent in Warsaw or Prague. The face of the Sixties in West Germany, as in Western Europe at large, was turned resolutely inwards. The cultural revolution of the era was remarkably parochial: if Western youth looked beyond their borders at all, it was to exotic lands whose image floated free of the irritating constraints of familiarity or information. Of alien cultures closer to home, the Western Sixties knew little. When Rudi Dutschke paid a fraternal visit to Prague, at the height of the Czech reform movement in the spring of 1968, local students were taken aback at his insistence that pluralist democracy was the real enemy. For them, it was the goal.

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Under Khrushchev, Stalin-era laws restricting job mobility were abandoned, the official workday was shortened, minimum wages were established and a system of maternity leave introduced, along with a national pension scheme (extended to collective farmers after 1965). In short, the Soviet Union—and its more advanced satellite states—became embryonic welfare states, at least in form.

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by the early sixties, the 3 percent of cultivated soil in private hands was yielding over a third of the Soviet Union’s agricultural output. By 1965, two thirds of the potatoes consumed in the USSR and three quarters of the eggs came from private farmers.

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. On October 31st 1967, a group of students from Prague’s Technical University organized a street demonstration in the district of Strahov to protest electricity cuts at their dormitories: however, their calls for ‘More light!’ were rightly interpreted as extending beyond local housekeeping difficulties.

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And there was the suicide of Jan Palach, a 20-year-old student at Charles University who set fire to himself on the steps of the National Museum in Prague’s Wenceslas Square in protest against the Soviet invasion and its aftermath. Palach lived for three days before dying of his burns on January 19th 1969. His funeral, on January 25th, was an occasion for national mourning: for Palach and for Czechoslovakia’s lost democracy.

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In the waning years of the Franco era, ETA’s activities were restricted by the very repression that had led to its emergence: by the end of the dictatorship, in the early 1970s, one quarter of Spain’s armed police were stationed in the Basque country alone.

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—ETA stepped up its campaigns of bombing and assassination. In 1979-80 the organization killed 181 people; in the course of the next decade its murder rate averaged 34 a year.

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Less than a year after the fall of the colonels, in June 1975, the government in Athens formally applied to join the EEC. On January 1st 1981, in what many in Brussels would come to regard as a regrettable triumph of hope over wisdom, Greece became a full member of the Community.

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The general standard of living in Salazar’s Portugal was more characteristic of contemporary Africa than continental Europe: per capita annual income in 1960 was just $160 (compared with e.g. $219 in Turkey, or $1,453 in the US). The rich were very rich indeed, infant mortality was the highest in Europe, and 32 percent of the population was illiterate. Salazar, an economist who had for some years lectured at the University of Coimbra, was not only unperturbed at Portugal’s backwardness, but saw it instead as the key to stability—upon being informed that oil had been discovered in Portugal’s Angolan territories he commented merely that this was ‘a pity’.

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Like the Romanian dictator Ceauşescu, Salazar was obsessed with the avoidance of debt, and conscientiously balanced every annual budget. Fanatically mercantilist, he built up unusually high gold reserves which he took care not to spend on either investment or imports. As a result, his country was locked into poverty, most of the population working on small family farms in the north of the country and latifundia further south. With no local capital available to finance domestic industry and foreign investors distinctly unwelcome, Portugal was largely dependent upon the export or re-export of primary commodities, including its own people.

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The impulse behind Franco-German moves in the Seventies was economic anxiety. The European economy was growing slowly if at all, inflation was endemic and the uncertainty resulting from the collapse of the Bretton Woods system meant that exchange rates were volatile and unpredictable. The Snake, the EMS and the écu were a sort of second-best—because regional rather than international—response to the problem, serially substituting the Deutschmark for the dollar as the stable currency of reference for European bankers and markets. A few years later the replacement of national currencies by the euro, for all its disruptive symbolic implications, was the logical next step. The ultimate emergence of a single European currency was thus the outcome of pragmatic responses to economic problems, not a calculated strategic move on the road to a pre-determined European goal.

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If—as Mrs. Thatcher asserted—there is ‘no such thing as Society’, then in due course people must lose respect for socially-defined goods. And so they did, as late-Thatcherite Britain began to take on some of the more unappealing characteristics of the American model that the Iron Lady so admired. Services that remainedin public hands were starved of resources, while significant wealth accumulated in the ‘emancipated’ sectors of the economy—notably the City of London, where investment bankers and stockbrokers benefited greatly from the ‘Big Bang’ of 1986, when Britain’s financial markets were deregulated and opened to international competition. Public spaces fell into neglect. Petty crime and delinquency rose in line with the growing share of the population caught in permanent poverty. Private affluence was accompanied, as so often, by public squalor.

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Riding on Thatcher’s coat-tails, Tony Blair shared many of her prejudices, albeit in a less abrasive key. Like her, he intensely disliked the old political vocabulary. In his case this meant avoiding all talk of ‘class’, an antiquated social category displaced in New Labour’s rhetorical boilerplate by ‘race’ or ‘gender’. Like Mrs. Thatcher, Blair showed very little tolerance for decentralized decision-making or internal dissent. Like her, he preferred to surround himself with private-sector businessmen. 249 And although New Labour remained vaguely committed to ‘society’, its Blairite leadership group was as viscerally suspicious of ‘the state’ as the most doctrinaire of Thatcherites.

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Ironically, privatization and increased competition also had little immediate impact upon the size of the state sector itself. We have already seen that in Thatcher’s Britain the scope of the state actually expanded. So it was elsewhere. Between 1974 and 1990 (thanks in some measure to endemic private-sector unemployment) the share of the employed workforce in public service actually grew: from 13 percent to 15.1 percent in Germany; from 13.4 percent to 15.5 percent in Italy; from 22.2 percent to 30.5 percent in Denmark. Most of these government employees, however, were now in the tertiary sector rather than in manufacturing: providing and administering services (financial, educational, medical and transportation) rather than making things.

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Romanians, however, paid a terrible price for Ceauşescu’s privileged status. In 1966, to increase the population—a traditional ‘Romanianist’ obsession—he prohibited abortion for women under forty with fewer than four children (in 1986 the age barrier was raised to forty-five). In 1984 the minimum marriage age for women was reduced to fifteen. Compulsory monthly medical examinations for all women of childbearing age were introduced to prevent abortions, which were permitted, if at all, only in the presence of a Party representative. Doctors in districts with a declining birth rate had their salaries cut.

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Romanians, however, paid a terrible price for Ceauşescu’s privileged status. In 1966, to increase the population—a traditional ‘Romanianist’ obsession—he prohibited abortion for women under forty with fewer than four children (in 1986 the age barrier was raised to forty-five). In 1984 the minimum marriage age for women was reduced to fifteen. Compulsory monthly medical examinations for all women of childbearing age were introduced to prevent abortions, which were permitted, if at all, only in the presence of a Party representative. Doctors in districts with a declining birth rate had their salaries cut. The population did not increase, but the death rate from abortions far exceeded that of any other European country: as the only available form of birth control, illegal abortions were widely performed, often under the most appalling and dangerous conditions. Over the ensuing twenty-three years the 1966 law resulted in the death of at least ten thousand women. The real infant mortality rate was so high that after 1985 births were not officially recorded until a child had survived to its fourth week—the apotheosis of Communist control of knowledge. By the time Ceauşescu was overthrown the death rate of new-born babies was twenty-five per thousand and there

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Romanian Conducator set about exporting every available domestically-produced commodity. Romanians were forced to use 40-watt bulbs at home (when electricity was available) so that energy could be exported to Italy and Germany. Meat, sugar, flour, butter, eggs, and much more were strictly rationed. To ratchet up productivity, fixed quotas were introduced for obligatory public labour on Sundays and holidays (the corvée, as it was known in ancien régime France). Petrol usage was cut to the minimum: in 1986 a program of horse-breeding to substitute for motorized vehicles was introduced. Horse-drawn carts became the main means of transport and the harvest was brought in by scythe and sickle. This was something truly new: all socialist systems depended upon the centralized control of systemically induced shortages, but in Romania an economy based on overinvestment in unwanted industrial hardware was successfully switched into

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Romanian Conducator set about exporting every available domestically-produced commodity. Romanians were forced to use 40-watt bulbs at home (when electricity was available) so that energy could be exported to Italy and Germany. Meat, sugar, flour, butter, eggs, and much more were strictly rationed. To ratchet up productivity, fixed quotas were introduced for obligatory public labour on Sundays and holidays (the corvée, as it was known in ancien régime France). Petrol usage was cut to the minimum: in 1986 a program of horse-breeding to substitute for motorized vehicles was introduced. Horse-drawn carts became the main means of transport and the harvest was brought in by scythe and sickle. This was something truly new: all socialist systems depended upon the centralized control of systemically induced shortages, but in Romania an economy based on overinvestment in unwanted industrial hardware was successfully switched into one based on pre-industrial agrarian subsistence.

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A short list of the epithets officially-approved by Ceauşescu for use in accounts of his achievements would include: The Architect; The Creed-shaper; The Wise Helmsman; The Tallest Mast; The Nimbus of Victory; The Visionary; The Titan; The Son of the Sun; A Danube of Thought; and The Genius of the Carpathians.

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Communism, liberation by no means implied a yearning for untrammeled economic competition, much less the loss of free social services, guaranteed employment, cheap rents or any of Communism’s other attendant benefits. It was, after all, one of the attractions of ‘Europe’, as imagined from the East, that it held out the prospect of affluence and security, liberty and protection. You could have your socialist cake and eat it in freedom.

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As in the 19th century, German unification was in the first instance to be achieved by a currency union; but political union inevitably followed.

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More than anyone else, the French were truly disturbed by the collapse of the stable and familiar arrangements in Germany and in the Communist bloc as a whole.306 The first reaction from Paris was to try and block any move to German unification—Mitterrand even going so far as to visit the GDR in December 1989 in a show of support for its sovereignty. He declined Helmut Kohl’s invitation to attend a ceremony to mark the re-opening of the Brandenburg Gate, and tried to convince Soviet leaders that, as traditional allies, France and Russia had a common interest in blocking German ambitions. Indeed, the French were banking on Gorbachev to veto German unity—as Mitterrand explained to his advisers on November 28th 1989, ‘I don’t have to do anything to stop it, the Soviets will do it for me. They will never allow this greater Germany just opposite them.’

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But once it became clear that this was not so—and following Kohl’s decisive victory in the East German elections—the French President adopted a different tack. The Germans could have their unity, but at a price. There must be no question of an enhanced Germany taking an independent path, much less reverting to its old middle-European priorities. Kohl must commit himself to pursuing the European project under a Franco-German condominium, and Germany was to be bound into an ‘ever-closer’ union—whose terms, notably a common European currency, would be enshrined in a new treaty (to be negotiated the following year in the Dutch city of Maastricht)

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The elections in all three republics were a marked victory for independent candidates and triggered a growing awareness of a common Baltic trajectory. This was symbolically re-confirmed on August 23rd 1989 by the forging of a human chain (‘Hands across the Baltic’) 650 kilometers in length, reaching from Vilnius through Riga to Tallinn, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. An estimated 1.8 million people—one quarter of the entire population of the region— took part.

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The disappearance of the Soviet Union was a remarkable affair, unparalleled in modern history. There was no foreign war, no bloody revolution, no natural catastrophe. A large industrial state—a military superpower—simply collapsed: its authority drained away, its institutions evaporated. The unraveling of the USSR was not altogether free of violence, as we have seen in Lithuania and the Caucasus; and there would be more fighting in some of the independent republics in the coming years. But for the most part the world’s largest country departed the stage almost without protest. To describe this as a bloodless retreat from Empire is surely accurate; but it hardly begins to capture the unanticipated ease of the whole process.

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The peaceful fragmentation of Czechoslovakia contrasts dramatically with the catastrophe that befell Yugoslavia in the same years. Between 1991 and 1999 hundreds of thousands of Bosnians, Croats, Serbs and Albanians were killed, raped or tortured by their fellow citizens; millions more were forced out of their homes and into exile.

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six republics, five nations, four languages, three religions and two alphabets, all held together by a single party. What happened after 1989 was simple: the lid having been removed, the cauldron exploded.

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But Yugoslavia was different. Just because its various populations were so very intermingled (and had not undergone the genocides and population transfers that had re-arranged places like Poland or Hungary in earlier decades), the country offered fertile opportunities for demagogues like Milošević, or Franjo Tudjman, his Croat counterpart.

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This ‘ethnic cleansing’—a new term for a very old practice—was engaged in by all sides, but Serb forces were far and away the worst offenders. In addition to those who were killed (an estimated 300,000 by the end of the Bosnian war), millions were forced into exile. Applications to the European Community for asylum more than tripled between 1988 and 1992: in 1991 Germany alone faced requests for asylum from 256,000 refugees. In the first year of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia there were 3 million people from Yugoslavia (one in eight of the pre-war population) seeking refuge abroad.

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on July 11th Bosnian Serb forces under Mladić brazenly marched into one of the so-called UN ‘Safe Areas’, the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, by then overflowing with terrified Muslim refugees. Srebrenica was officially ‘protected’ not just by UN mandate but by a 400-strong peacekeeping contingent of armed Dutch soldiers. But when Mladić’s men arrived the Dutch battalion laid down its arms and offered no resistance whatsoever as Serbian troops combed the Muslim community, systematically separating men and boys from the rest. The next day, after Mladić had given his ‘word of honor as an officer’ that the men would not be harmed, his soldiers marched the Muslim males, including boys as young as thirteen, out into the fields around Srebrenica. In the course of the next four days nearly all of them—7,400—were killed. The Dutch soldiers returned safely home to Holland.

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the British treatment of Yugoslav refugees was shameful: in November 1992, as the flow of desperate, homeless Bosnians built to its peak, London announced that no Bosnian could travel to the UK without a visa. This was perfidious Albion at its most cynical. Since there was no British embassy in Sarajevo to issue such visas, the only way a Bosnian family could secure them was by making its way to a British embassy in a third country . . . at which point the UK government would and did claim that since they had found asylum somewhere else, Britain need not admit them. Thus whereas Germany, Austria and the Scandinavian countries played generous host to hundreds of thousands of Yugoslav refugees between 1992 and 1995, the UK actually saw a decline in the number of asylum seekers in these same years.

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The much-anticipated passage from capitalism to socialism had been theorized ad nauseam in academies, universities and coffee bars from Belgrade to Berkeley; but no-one had thought to offer a blueprint for the transition from socialism to capitalism.

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Capitalism, in the gospel that spread across post-Communist Europe, is about markets. And markets mean privatization. The fire-sale of publicly owned commodities in post-1989 eastern Europe had no historical precedent. The cult of privatization in western Europe that had gathered pace from the late Seventies (see Chapter 16) offered a template for the helter-skelter retreat from state ownership in the East; but otherwise they had very little in common. Capitalism, as it had emerged in the Atlantic world and Western Europe over the course of four centuries, was accompanied by laws, institutions, regulations and practices upon which it was critically dependent for its operation and its legitimacy. In many post-Communist countries such laws and institutions were quite unknown—and dangerously underestimated by neophyte free-marketers there. The result was privatization as kleptocracy. At its most shameless, in Russia under the rule of Boris Yeltsin and his friends, the post-transition economy passed into the hands of a small number of men who became quite extraordinarily rich—by the year 2004 thirty-six Russian billionaires (‘oligarchs’) had corralled an estimated $110 billion, one quarter of the country’s entire domestic product. The distinction between privatization, graft and simple theft all but disappeared: there was so much—oil, gas, minerals, precious metals, pipelines—to steal and no-one and nothing to prevent its theft.

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In the late Eighties, before the revolutions, East Europeans were avid cinemagoers. By 1997 cinema attendance in Latvia had fallen by 90 percent. The same was true everywhere—in Bulgaria it was down 93 percent, in Romania it was down by 94 percent, in Russia it had fallen 96 percent. Interestingly, cinema attendance in Poland in the same years was only down by 77 percent, in the Czech Republic by 71 percent, in Hungary by 51 percent. In Slovenia it had hardly fallen at all. These data suggest a direct relationship between prosperity and film-going and confirm the explanation offered in one Bulgarian poll for the decline in local cinema attendance:since the fall of Communism there was a better choice of films . . . but people could no longer afford the tickets.

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At Bonn’s behest, Europe’s finance ministers would thus be bound, Ulysses-like, to the euro-mast: unable to respond to the Siren-calls of voters and politicians for easier money and increased public spending. These terms, designed to insure that the new euro would be as inflation-proof as the Deutschmark itself, were not universally popular—in the poorer member states it was widely and rightly feared that they would constrain public policy and perhaps even prevent growth. And so, in order to make the Maastricht conditions more palatable, cash bonuses were made available to recalcitrant governments: Jacques Delors, the Commission President, all but bribed the finance ministers of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, promising large increases in EU structural funds in return for their signatures on the Treaty.

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Uncontentious decisions were typically made in Brussels by experts and civil servants. Policies likely to affect significant electoral constituencies or national interests were hammered out in the Council of Ministers and produced complicated compromises or else expensive deals. Whatever could not be resolved or agreed was simply left in abeyance. The dominant member states—Britain, Germany and above all France—could not always count on getting what they wanted; but whatever they truly did not want did not come to pass. This was a unique set of arrangements. It bore no relation to the condition of the separate states of North America in 1776, all of which had emerged as satellites of a single country—Britain—whose language, culture and legal system they shared. Nor was it really comparable to the Swiss Confederation, although that analogy was occasionally suggested: in their centuries-old web of overlapping sovereignties, administrative enclaves and local rights and privileges the cantons of Switzerland more closely resemble old-regime France without the king.355

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By 2004, then, the European Union had—to the surprise of many observers—seemingly overcome, or at least alleviated, the practical difficulties of governing an unwieldy and inchoate community of twenty-five separate states. But what it had not done—what neither Giscard’s Convention, nor the various Treaties, nor the European Commission and its multifarious reports and programmes, nor the expensive publications and websites designed to educate the European public about the Union and its workings had even begun to do—was to address the chronic absence of interest on the part of the European public.

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Why were Europeans, ‘old’ and ‘new’ alike, so profoundly indifferent to the affairs of the European Union? In large part because of a widespread belief that they had no influence over them. Most European governments had never held a vote to determine whether or not they should join the EU or the euro-zone—not least because in those countries where the issue had been put to a national referendum it was rejected, or else passed by the narrowest of margins. So the Union was not ‘owned’ by its citizens—it seemed somehow to stand apart from the usual instruments of democracy.

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What really united Europe was football.

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