octombrie 05, 2011

tourism & fashion

Hindsight suggests that the best characterization of Germany's approach to occupied France was "Give me your watch and I'll tell you the time." But if the Germans looted with all the enthusiasm once shown by Napoleon's armies, they also struck deals that could serve both sides. The new order was European. With French and German bankers, industrialists, and other businessmen meeting regularly, the idea of a United States of Europe was making its way, along with visions of a single customs zone and a single European currency. The European Union, its attendant bureaucracy, even the euro, all appear to stem from the Berlin-Vichy collaboration. Bureaucratic controls proliferated, administrative and business elites interpenetrated, postwar economic planning took shape—as did that greater Europe in which France's Hitler-allotted role would be one of a bigger Switzerland, "a country of tourism ... and fashion."

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