The medium term: transitions
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The medium term: transitions book
The critical word is the qualifier "immediately". This points up the essential difference between British and French experience. In the former case, one can speak of a prewar consensus yielding to a postwar consensus, with the wartime coalition paving the way for this transition. The postwar renewal of France and of Western Europe was only possible because these other "lessons of 1940" proved misguided. After 1945, the spell of authoritarian government was broken, the deathwatch at the bed of liberal capitalism was lifted, the empires rapidly declined, and new forms of freely consented international cooperation, both among Europeans and between Europe and the United States, emerged. Much of what 1940 had seemed to mean at the time turned out to be profoundly irrelevant to the transformations of the later twentieth century.