Post-war and European Integration
Europe in the period after 1945 has seen a significant, if progressively, shift towards cooperation over conflict. by the way in the wake of the Second World War, nations lay in tatters and the area was soon to be sectioned altogether in half with spheres of US and Soviet influence. Beginning with those nations to the west of the ‘Iron Curtain’, a new environment emerged in which leaders vowed never to allow such widespread destruction as occurred in the two ‘Great Wars’. From that stage a shooting sense of loyalty to one another has evolved; from ‘The Six’ head delegates into a foundation with a vast remit for control of mainly economic but ever progressively social and defence policies throughout its membership of 27 states. In the modern time the European Union is seems a world leader in terms of supra-national governance and integration (Kegley Jr. ’09, p177); with its single market and multilateral currency and with a growing sense of the prospects of the whole circle being entwisted. It is a model for other inter-governmental organisations in the East and South America (ASEAN, USAN etc.). In Europe post -1945 there remained a tension between the traditionally opposing Allied and Axis powers as well as the new issue of Russian dominance in the East. The Red Army had marched in to Berlin, which was now divided in to four spheres of impact ; US, British, French and Soviet. The nations of Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia and East Germany amongst others had all fallen over the control of the Western Powers and the continent was more subdivided than ever. The idea of the all-powerful nation state had been downfallen and the main actors of the mainland; namely France and Germany, were keen to build closer relations (Pinder 1998, p3). For France this was as much to limit the power of the German state as for progress of their own. The idea of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was invented by Jean Monnet as a starting point; a lowest common denominator for these two nations to agree, with the aim of expanding cooperation at a later time (Ross 2009, p479). Six nations agreed to join this poultry (France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries) and from that seed has emerged over half a century of ever broadening central governance in Europe. This essay will seek to identify the key reasons for this shift from conflict to international cooperation in the period post-1945, and I want to explain the reasons for their occurrence and the motives of the main players. One of the key factors in the changing attitudes of powerful actors after World War Two was the kind of absolute devastation and loss caused by the conflict. Totally 60 million people had died worldwide, including 37 million civilians and 6 million Jews. This was loss unexampled even by the First World War and it leads the main actors in Europe to question the methods of peacemakers at Versailles alongside the traditional power of the ‘nation-state’ itself. Versailles, and more specifically the compensation and ‘War Guilt Clause’, had almost naturally played a part in Hitler’s impact to power and the burning resentment within the German state. It would certainly not have been make sense have ignored this lesson and again sought to punish the aggressors. Nationalism and the ”Fascist glorification of the nation-state” was a stark lesson on the problems caused by a lack of coordination between European governments and many discussed the possibility of Federalist system and close cooperation (Pinder 1998, p4). The French still had reservations about rebuilding Germany and integration was viewed by some like a way of taking some control of German policy. If they could make Germany commit to supra-national control and inter-governmental cooperation while she was in a emaciated state then future governments would struggle to withdraw from these arrangements later on. Jean Monnet picked up on coal and steel as an initial...
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