This article challenges long-standing assumptions about Spain’s status in the international system during the first several years of the Cold War, from 1945 to 1950. These assumptions constitute the “isolation paradigm,” which emphasizes Spain’s exclusion from the United Nations (UN), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the various Councils of Foreign Ministers, and other major international institutions, supposedly keeping the country internationally isolated and unable to pursue its interests during the early Cold War. The article debunks the “isolation paradigm” and supplants it with “informal integration.” The United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain embarked on numerous initiatives with Spain despite isolationist rhetoric and policy, and the Spanish authorities sought to counter formal exclusion from international institutions and to engage in other types of diplomatic, economic, and cultural interaction. From this perspective, it becomes clear that 1946—not 1947 or 1950, as other scholars have argued—marked a decisive year for Spain’s efforts in these areas.

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