Cold War in the Mediterranean: Connecting the Fronts


Date: Nov 14, 2008

The Cold War was especially disruptive in the vast, diverse region encircling the Mediterranean Sea. The one-time European colonial powers withdrew or were expelled from the eastern and southern coasts, reorganizing themselves in the European Community with a North-Western and Trans-Atlantic orientation. American analysts remapped the area in terms of “security regions,” and Soviet experts, in terms of the USSR’s quest for strategic partners. The newly emancipated countries stretching across North African and eastern Mediterranean coasts were essentially prevented from forming cross-Mediterranean solidarities by Superpower interference and by local national, religious, and development conflicts aggravated by appealing to outside powers. To understand the Cold War’s impact in the region, we need a substantial effort to bridge areas of study-Southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East-that have come to be analyzed separately. Our Workshop’s main purpose was to explore the imprint left on the region as the two Superpowers stepped into European imperial shoes in the course of World War II and struggled to mark out their areas of hegemony thereafter, playing on local national, religious, and political conflicts, mainly in the period from the Greek Civil War and Italian elections of 1948 to the 1970s proxy wars in the Middle East.

Date: Nov 14, 2008

The Cold War was especially disruptive in the vast, diverse region encircling the Mediterranean Sea. The one-time European colonial powers withdrew or were expelled from the eastern and southern coasts, reorganizing themselves in the European Community with a North-Western and Trans-Atlantic orientation. American analysts remapped the area in terms of “security regions,” and Soviet experts, in terms of the USSR’s quest for strategic partners. The newly emancipated countries stretching across North African and eastern Mediterranean coasts were essentially prevented from forming cross-Mediterranean solidarities by Superpower interference and by local national, religious, and development conflicts aggravated by appealing to outside powers. To understand the Cold War’s impact in the region, we need a substantial effort to bridge areas of study-Southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East-that have come to be analyzed separately. Our Workshop’s main purpose was to explore the imprint left on the region as the two Superpowers stepped into European imperial shoes in the course of World War II and struggled to mark out their areas of hegemony thereafter, playing on local national, religious, and political conflicts, mainly in the period from the Greek Civil War and Italian elections of 1948 to the 1970s proxy wars in the Middle East.

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