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Following the Second World War, Europe was basically destructed both structurally and economically. The Eastern part of the continent was under the grip of different governments. This went on to show that the countries were having a hard time dealing with their present, thus the future itself looked very dull and unpromising. Europe basically appeared like the shattered continent that was never going to emerge out of the darkness. Even though the prospect of war had been gone from the nation, there were still on and off bombings and medieval crusades in the region. Despite the conditions that Europe was in, it had recovered to quite an extent. After the Second World War, the Soviet Union and the United States got in a cold war, this ultimately led to the destruction of the entire Soviet bloc. What is interesting to note is that while America and Soviet Union were busy in their arguments, Europe was gaining power, increasing its economy, its structure and basically trying to revive itself. Seeing how along with being a continent, Europe was an amalgamation of different nations and different languages. Having a bunch of different people go along with one major goal is not an easy task. We will look at how exactly Europe got into the powerful position that it is in today. It should be noted that apart from the revival and rebuilding of the continent, the unification of the continent played quite a crucial rule in its enhancement.
Even though it might have been the first big step for the revival of the continent, it should be noted that the United States had given a lot of funds and loans to Europe. Despite the grants and funds, the European market was still not stable enough to serve American goods. A major reason why America was in favor of helping the content was so it would not fall into anarchy, fascism, communism or starvation. (Gottleib) The major aid given by America in the early days was merely aid like disaster relief and no long-term construction.
The major goal of the Marshal plan was to revive the economy of Europe once again. It was going to do that by removing the trade barriers and by modernizing the industry. The Marshall Plan basically was going to be operational for about four years. There was assistance given to Europe either through technical route or though economic route. In total, there was about thirteen billion U.S. dollars given as aid to the country. As mentioned before, the plan basically worked to modernize the business practices that were taking place in Europe.
With the Marshall plan, unemployment started to decrease and more money was spent on goods and services. The ultimate results were that the nations that owed money to the United States were able to pay the country back. Due to this reason, trade within Europe and from Europe to other countries was established yet again. It appears that the end result of the country was sure successful because by 1952, the economy of ever participating country had passed the pre-war levels. Thus it was quite apparent that Europe was influenced and aided by the American patterns of Consumption. (Gottleib)
Formation of the Steel committee
Wim Kok, who is the former prime minster of Netherlands, stated regarding the economy of Europe that it is better to hang together and survive rather than hang separately. These words and these ideologies basically constituted the first ideology of the European Nations solidifying in order to improve all their conditions. In response to this initiative, the governments of France, Italy, Benelux States and the Federal Republic of Germany basically went on to create the European Coal and Steel community. Another thing to be noted was that this committee was basically created to resolve the political differences between France and Germany. (Dinan 1) Again this highlights the fact that the European Nations knew that they could not prosper if they against each other. This community set down the starting plan for a market with common services, capital goods and people.
Creation of more communities
Following the first committee that was created, the European nations started on the journey of unification. Following the Coal and Steel community, the European Defense community was made by the French National Assembly in 1954. After the creation of this community, a major pattern of the formation of a common market was beginning to be seen. As it was stated earlier, Europe was especially hit hard because of the economy crisis. Negotiation on this topic kept on continuing and eventually a European Economic Community was formed. It should be noted that this was the major step towards going for a common market. The European Economic Community was basically combined with the European Atomic Energy Community. The entire Europe deemed this important following the attacks that the United States carried out in Japan. With the cold war taking place and the satellite race, the European countries felt the need to be proactive concerning their atomic weapons as well. Even though they still had their differences, these communities attracted more and more European countries.
Creation of European monetary System
With the communities growing and with more countries joining, it wasn't until long that the European political cooperation came into being. The Franco-German initiative basically led to the creation of a European monetary System. This system which came into being on January 1st 1979 had the same exchange rate. The basic aim of this system was for economic and monetary union.
Fall of Berlin Wall
Germany always remained the dividing factor in majority of Europe's history. If one looks closely, then in World War II, there were countries that sides with Germany and then countries that sides with American or Britain. Even after the Holocaust and the Second World War was over, the country remains divided into two regions. Even though there was no chaos as such, it remained division and a further reason for people to detest each other. Along with maintaining peace, the iron country was slowing down growth for not only Germany but also for Europe as well. The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9th November 1989 and the breakdown of Communist role in the Eastern and Central Europe basically stimulated the European unification projects. Seeing how the communist threat was just out of the picture, the countries could now all work on the same page to attain a better Europe.
Creation of the EU
With the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, the European Union was established in 1992. This was basically the closest and most significant union in the peoples of Europe. Along with other measures that this treaty included, the economic and monetary amalgamation of the countries was the one that took the longest. These final stages basically begin in 1999 and ended in 2002 when the Euro was introduced as a single European currency. The Euro was by far one of the most significant successes in stabilizing and powering the European economy. Today, around 330 million EU citizens use this currency and enjoy the benefits of it as well. It has been basically seen to enhance the stability due to make the public finances more sound and also by lowering the inflation. It not only compliments a single market but also makes the exchange and trade within the market more efficient. It is seen that the Euro is quite a strong currency and has been increasing in value ever since it came out.
Growth EU has seen
It has been noted that from 1973 to 2004, the European Union grew from six to twenty five states. (Dinan 4) Even though not all the countries are conforming to a political integration, there addition is still a big support to the continent.…[continue]
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