European integration - Franco-German interests in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2006

12 Pages, Grade: 1,8


Anti German Politics between 1945 and 1949

1. Introduction

With the 18.04.1951 ratified Schuman-Plan, one of the most important Contracts in European Integration has become valid. The European coal and steel community (ECSC) is overall seen as the first Milestone for the today known European Union (EU). This community was the first step towards the present European parliament, European commission, and the European court of justice.

But there is the question, seen from the present point of view, if the Schuman-Plan was the birth of the European supranational community. Was this contract signed by the six nations out of idealistic goals, without any self-interest reasons to create a peaceful Europe? This question is admittedly very hard on the six nations that officially had idealistic reasons when they signed the ECSC Contract. But i will show that this project of a unified Europe was not Jean Monnet’s only goal as it is stated in some present perspectives.

On the next pages i will focus on the reasons why the war opponents Germany, France and the other nations were willing the take on this project together.

Quoting Kipping’s Work on the Schuman-Plan it is not certain if the plan was motivated more by economic or political reasons. Also it is disputed who the plan was developed by. On one side it is believed that all this was pressured by Jean Monnet and France. A different scenario states that the USA Interest was the empowerment of Germany, and that this was the real pressure behind the Schumann-Plan. A third one is a mix between the first two which states that the USA pressured the nations, but never directly intervened.[1]

Along with the controversy above, it is still unsure if peace or economic interests were the reasons for the teamwork of the six nations.[2] At the beginning researchers believed that the main reasons were political and indirectly economical.

At the beginning Schumann underlined the great security-political importance of the ECSC, as it stands for a unified Europe and reduced the risk of Germany going its own way in an unknown future. The economic interests by the nations developed later according to Kippings.

1.1 Jean Monnet

When European interests started to meet national interests, most plans before the Schuman plan were not very successful. Examples for that are the Organisation of European Economic Co-Operation (OEEC, 6.4.1948) or the Council of Europe (5.5.1950). One could say that it is because of Jean Monnet the failing of European co-operation did not continue. With the ratification of the Schumann plan Monnet is connected to the history of Europe like no other politician.

1.2 French Interests and the “German Question”

The “German Question” was the core of all French interest in the ECSC. It was the aim to find a way to stop the possible threat of war created by Germany for all times. The second aim was to strengthen France at the same time, that it would not have to fear Germany in the future as it would be an equal opponent. It was also not just a national interest. France tried to be the “Grande Nation” in Europe, but still suffered of the defeat in 1940. Already in the 19th century the relationship between France and Germany was quite tense. Therefore to create a bond between the two countries the ECSC was the best solution to prevent Germany to develop to a Monarchy in the future. France was the most interested of the Nations to find a solution to the “German Question”.

The geographic position in the middle of Europe and the direct neighbourhood to Germany was a great potential threat to France compared to the other allies, like the Soviet Union, the USA which were all far away. Britain was even on its own island. France was the only country of the Allies that was orientated on the continental-European culture, while Britain preferred the commonwealth, and the USA and Soviet Union weren’t really bothered as they were no direct neighbours of Germany.

After 1945 the allies tried to solve the “Germany Question” by the use of Anti-German policies. This would work by cutting down Germany in many territories to weaken the economy and Germany itself as a European great power. The next step would have been restrictions on Germany’s sovereignty as a nation, and the supervision by the winning nations of the 2nd world war. Also Germany was pressured to give up its control over the Ruhr. At the same time France had plans for financial and economic growth to take Germany’s place in Europe as a great power. France did not give up trying to stop Germany’s industrial growth till 1949.[3]


[1] Kipping Page 18

[2] Kipping Page 17

[3] Brunn Page 72

Excerpt out of 12 pages


European integration - Franco-German interests in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)
The University of Sydney
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ISBN (Book)
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European, Franco-German, European, Coal, Steel, Community
Quote paper
BSc Daniel Döring (Author), 2006, European integration - Franco-German interests in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) , Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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