All this pending a war, which was considered forthcoming, between the United States, Europe and the USSR, and an economic penetration of free Europe by the Soviets.
Oil, some non-oil commodities and various minerals had been used by Russia to enter the West European markets, waiting for reaping the political benefits of those moves.
Hence the first step was the "Anglo-American loan" in London equal to 206 billion pounds, which began in 1946 and was fully repaid in 2006. It was negotiated by John Maynard Keynes and it was such as to transfer every British economic and colonial asset to Wall Street.
Later, the second step was a limitation on the British nuclear weapons, which had to be few and of "last resort"; the final step was a series of trade links which favoured the United States, also in Great Britain.
A historical and linguistic link through which the United States wanted to penetrate the future EU, simplified and relegated to the impossible level of "United States of Europe" and make it economically and strategically subordinate.
Hence the industrial reconstruction fostered by the Marshall Plan and by the European Recovery Program (ERP) was the transfer of North-American second and third technologies to the defeated countries, which produced "mature" goods and services at a low price and repurchased in dollars. The goods that the United States had no longer interest in producing in their country triggered the new European growth off. It is also worth recalling that the ERP had been offered also to the URSS.
This is basically what the United Europe was and still partly is.
A "federation" of nations in which Great Britain controlled Germany and wanted to remain the arbiter of the Mediterranean against Italy and France. A “federation” in which it also intended to manipulate and enlarge its link with the United States, which often took it too seriously.
Germany became an economic power to resume the Third Reich project without waging a war and, as soon as the USSR collapsed, it regained the Slavic and Germanic East in a short lapse of time.
The Cold War was the “family photo” of the winners with the main losers of the Second World War, and the primary glue was the fight against communism, created in World War I, developed in World War II and acting as political intermediary of most European national party tensions.
The Cold War was the final part of the "European civil war" about which the recently deceased Ernst Nolte spoke.
In that context, Great Britain wanted to believe in its old imperial memories and kept a significant military standing, so as to make the United States understand that it was not like South Carolina and to defend itself autonomously from a possible continental Europe partially or totally in the hands of a Communist enemy.
In Cold War Europe, everybody played the game of European unity and of sovereign autonomy, both when the neighbour was conquered by its PC or by the troops of the Warsaw Pact. Only Italy did so weakly and irrationally.
Hence today more than ever in the past, Europe is a paradox in itself. It survives in a rhetoric which, in the future, will manifest itself with its anthem, Ode to Joy, by Schiller and Van Beethoven, but it lives just as constantly intermediating between the Brüder, the "brothers" of the European continent, by also accepting the adverse geopolitics devised by the United States: no serious presence in the Middle East; the Maghreb region left naively at first to the pro-Soviet "liberation movements" and later to the frenzy of "total democracy"; the Balkans given as a guarantee to the dubious "self-managed" socialism of Marshal Tito, already designated heir apparent to Stalin - that cost a lot of money to Italian taxpayers..
A Europe surrounded by wolves that the New World Order was playing precisely with the USSR.
The three subsequent "doctrines" of nuclear use developed by NATO proved it.
From massive retaliation to "flexible response" until the most recent doctrines, all NATO doctrines have proposed Europe as the bone of contention and trigger of war.
Hence everything was planned for a future confrontation, the Mors Aeuropae, to be accomplished in a short lapse of time, while the freezing of equilibria was equally quick, but unexpected.
As André Malraux said, "the United States are the first nation which has become powerful without pursuing this goal".
Two factors have changed this scenario completely: Brexit and China’s new global presence.
It is worth recalling that the United States have never accepted the euro and have considered it an account currency in the EU or, more severely, a global monetary nuisance.
I can remember the old banknotes of the Bank of England when there was speculation that the UK might enter the euro: "We will not enter", they said in Threadneedle Street, "since the Euro means participating in others’ debt without guarantees, because the currency as such is not a guarantee."
Hence, now with Brexit and Prime Minister Theresa May who manages it, the issue is turning irrelevant, but the British Premier has created, with a stroke of geopolitical genius, a new axis for Great Britain, namely China.
China has already had excellent relations with Great Britain: a case in point is Hinkley Point C, a nuclear power plant which is worth 18 billion pounds, of which China holds a 30% stake. The deal was managed by David Cameron and Xi Jinping.
Even the future reactors Sizewell and Bradwell are supposed to have a Chinese share of funding, as well as support towards foreign merchant banks.
Now Prime Minister May has delayed the project, causing some nervousness in China, but she wants some clarifications on the British national security mechanisms for all the plants concerned.
It is worth noting that Chinese investment in the UK is already higher than China’s investment in Germany, France and Italy.
It is also worth recalling that the jobs created thanks to the Chinese investment in Great Britain are as many as 265,000.
China, which knows the history of the euro and of "European federalism" all too well, does not want to be bogged down - except for large, clear and profitable business - in financial mechanisms not yet stabilized but indeed, being deconstructed, as the single European currency, which was created for political purposes, but will soon die for the same reasons.
On the other hand, a currency was "reversed time" and even "signum potestatis" - indeed, precisely the monetary "sign" of the military and political might of the king portrayed on it. Something very different from the "bridges", like those on the euro bank notes - all highways in the void, or rather Roman aqueducts.
However, let us revert to Prime Minister May: China will become Great Britain’s economic bulwark after Brexit, although - due to its complex strategy towards China - as early as 1990, Great Britain has used also the direct channels between the EU and China.
Now Great Britain will use its national channels and, certainly, Prime Minister May will manage the Chinese strategic support to: a) become the pivot of China’s presence towards the EU; b) balance, with China, the possible US mainmort, also strengthening its conventional nuclear and military apparatus; c) become the end point, for Northern Europe, of the major Belt and Road initiative devised by Xi Jinping that, with Great Britain, would arrive easily to the North Atlantic Ocean and would touch the US initial Ocean.