About the French, I did a quick check on the internet, since this has been nagging in my head since the early 90s and since many French really do work under the assumption that the Americans ruined their society with Coca-cola and consumerism…
The most apparent ‘strings’ of the Marshall Plan particular to France had to do with the requirement to transport goods on American ships, not re-export American goods to Eastern Europe, and no commerce with Russia without prior American consent.
About the cinema, it’s really an ideological debate more than something that would be easy to establish factually (et d’ailleurs tres branche’ actuellement).
According to the center right journal Le Monde, http://www.transnationale.org/sources/information/culture__gatt.html, it comes down to this:
–prior to WWII there was a restriction on importation of American movies into France
–May 1946, in the climate of the eventual Marshall Plan, France agrees to the following terms in the Blum-Byrnes Agreement
No limits on importation of American movies and (I think) no tarriffs
Requirement that equivalent of 4 weeks out of every trimester, French national cinemas show French movies alone (this is later upped to 5 weeks).
So if you look at the facts, it sounds like the culture strings were in place to favor the preservation of French culture. The French look at it as if the Americans bullied them into lifting the quota so that we could flood the market with our product.
The French intellectual big gun writing on this is Francois BEDARIDA and there is also Stanley HOFFMAN and Irwin WALL (whom I was remembering from back in the early 90s).
I suppose that the French predilection for Jerry Lewis is the best revenge
About COKE, they were mad at us for tempting them with expensive brown bubbles when they were strapped for cash. Then, look what DIOR did to skirts at the same time…
Additional random trivia: the most popular French-made sweet fizzy water of the fifties was a product called PSCHITT!(it’s the sound of the CO2 being released) Consider the viability of such a brandname in the U.S.