20 02 2012

Coca-Cola Plant, West Germany, 1953. Image Courtesy the Bundesarchiv.

I’m currently teaching a class on the history of globalisation. It’s designed to introduce first-year history, politics, and IR students to economic history, business history, and global history. Right now, my students are researching their essays. One of the available topics  is: How did people in Western Europe react to “Coca-colonization” after 1945?

This essay question will allow them to explore issues related to the Americanisation of Western Europe after 1945. As I’ve explained to the students, Coca-Cola was really just a symbol of an ongoing struggle over Americanisation more generally. However, anti-American Europeans did try to ban the actual product in the early 1950s, as Richard F. Kuisel showed in “Coca-Cola and the Cold War: The French Face Americanization”, 1948-1953, French Historical Studies 17 (1) (Spring, 1991), pp. 96-116.


Here is the list of sources I gave to my students to get them started on their library research.

Sources: Judt, Tony. Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. London: William Heinemann, 2005; Berghahn, Volker R. 2010. “The debate on ‘Americanization’ among economic and cultural historians.” In Cold War History, 107-130; Schroter, Harm G. 2008. “Economic culture and its transfer: an overview of the Americanisation of the European economy, 1900-2005.” European Review of History 15, no. 4: 331-344;  Duignan, Peter, and Lewis H. Gann. The Rebirth of the West: The Americanization of the Democratic World, 1945-1958. Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell, 1992; Lundestad, Geir. Empire by Integration: The United States and European Integration, 1945-1997. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998; Nixon, Sean. “Apostles of Americanization? J. Walter Thompson Company Ltd, Advertising and Anglo-American Relations 1945-67.” Contemporary British History 22, no. 4 (December 2008): 477-499; Hilger, Susanne. 2008. “‘Globalisation by Americanisation’: American companies and the internationalisation of German industry after the Second World War.” European Review of History 15, no. 4: 375-401; Gassert, Philipp. “The Anti-American as Americanizer: Revisiting the Anti-American Century in Germany.” German Politics & Society 27, no. 1 (April 30, 2009): 24-38.




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