Drawing on newly declassified U.S. and Italian documentation, this article as-sesses U.S. policy toward Italy under the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations and uses this test case to draw some general conclusions about the nature of U.S. -Italian relations during the Cold War. The first part of the article focuses on issues that have been neglected or misinterpreted in the existing literature on the subject, and the second part presents some of the lessons that can be learned from the study of U.S. -Italian relations in the 1950s and 1960s. The aim is to cast broader light on the current debate about the role and influence of the United States in Western Europe after World War II.

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