The article “Coca-Cola and the Cold War: The French Face Americanization, 1948-1953”, is a great resource for those studying political conflict between America and France using the Coca-Cola company as a case study. Richard F. Kuisel’s talks about the conflict between France and America over domination. The French thought that by introducing Coca-Cola to France, America would gain political dominance in the country. Therefore, the French officials wanted the government to ban the selling of Coca-Cola to the French people. The article has provided an in-depth analysis of why the fight against Coca-Cola was a symbolic fight expressing political interests.
The article explains how Coca-Cola was famous in America that it was a symbol for America. Therefore, selling it in France in large amounts would increase America’s presence in France. Quality examples have been used to show how Coca-Cola was used as a cold war practice in other countries. For example, Coca-Cola’s arrival in Europe provoked the opposition as they thought the ruling party was introducing American power to their country. Countries such as Belgium and Switzerland politicized the drink and said it contained a dangerous amount of caffeine, which led to it being banned (Kuisel 100). Therefore, many countries were politically challenged with the introduction of Coca-Cola. Kuisel states that the chairman of Coca-Cola by then, James Farley, was a political activist supporting President Roosevelt (Kuisel 99). He was a significant person in American politics and used his political background to promote America’s presence in France. Thus, according to the author, this was a cold war strategy aimed at introducing America to the French people at the expense of their own political power.
Moreover, the article outlines how the French communists reacted to the introduction of Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola was supposed to spend $ 4 million on publicity, and they planned to sell forty bottles of Coca-Cola to a single person annually. The French referred to this tactic as ‘coca-colonisation’ (Kuisel 101). French is known for manufacturing wine; according to the government, Coca-Cola would depress the sales of wine, which was already being affected by tariff reductions demanded by the Americans. This shows that the French government was afraid that America was sabotaging their wine business. The article deeply explains how the introduction of Coca-Cola to France was not only a business deal, but a plan to weaken their political power and increase the political presence of America in the country.
This article is educative for anyone who wants to learn about the political history between France and America. However, the article has some limitations which if addressed, it would fully serve its purpose. The article has used many French names without translating them. It would have been appropriate if the French names or titles of politicians would have been followed by their respective English translations in brackets. Also, this is a historical article; thus, events should flow chronologically. The article contains important information, but they are mixed up. For example, 1945 information has been written above 1919 information.
Other than these two limitations, the article is a good reference to use for studies and knowledge purposes. Information on how Coca-Cola was thought as a cold war tactic has been abundantly provided. The article contained all the data that was thought to prove Coca-Cola’s introduction to other countries had political interests and domination (Kuisel 116). Moreover, the author also gave examples of other countries where the same problem was being faced other than France. These countries also had political fights towards Coca-Cola. Therefore, enough historical research was conducted before writing the article.