The U.S. among Us: Assessing the Impact of American Military Bases in Europe, 1954-1994

Dr. Dario Fazzi



Outposts of empire or ultimate beacons of freedom? Scholars have interpreted the American military bases overseas both ways. In Europe in particular, the American military deployment has been rather exceptional; since the end of WWII, U.S. bases have mushroomed and grown steadily all over the continent. Originally meant to keep Western Europe from totalitarianism, embed it in a system of collective security, and tie it firmly to the free market and capitalism, U.S. bases in Europe have effectively projected American hegemony, substantiated the American empire, and embodied the so-called American century.

This project, by focusing on the persistence of American bases in Western Europe, complements these analyses through a perspective that uncovers how American installations overseas have acted as multifaceted agents of public diplomacy. More specifically, this project aims to provide an assessment of the cultural, economic and environmental impact that these bases had had. How have these military outposts affected the local economy? What kind of cross-cultural encounters have they favored and generated? How have they interacted with the surrounding environment?