Europe After World War II Historical Development Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Europe After World War II

Historical Development Unification

Historical Development of Unification Ideas in Europe after World War II

Europe was torn to shreds by the ugly forms of national and ethnic hatred after World War II (1939-1945). Europe is geographically situated in middle of such a global power system, where failing of peace means global annihilation. After World War II, the Europeans established such a framework that can allow peace and regional cooperation to be fostered. They wanted to establish a "Common Market," that got established by 1957. The purpose of writing this essay is to highlight the historical development of Unification ideas in Europe after World War II.

Historical Development of Unification Ideas in Europe after World War II

Europe suffered both economical and political crises after World War II. The creation of European Union took place, various treaties were signed and some effective movements came in to being. Functionalism and federalism took place. This essay discusses some of the historical development of unification ideas in Europe after World War II.

Treaty of Paris (1951)

In the year 1950, Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister proposed the placement of production of German coal and steel under common High Authority. He wanted all the European countries to participate in this production that could take place within a framework of an organization. This challenge was accepted by the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, France and Germany. These countries began negotiating a treaty. The simple idea of this development was inspired by Jean Monnet, who was the senior French civil servant. He had given the original proposal in the year 1950. Although his idea was simple but the countries that accepted this challenged wanted a complex whole. The Treaty was for the establishment of European Coal and Steel Community and it was signed on 18th April 1951 in Paris. It had a valid time period of fifty years and it had an expiry date on 23rd July 2002. The Treaty of Paris opened on 10th of February 1953 for iron core, scrap and coal. For steel, it opened on 1st of May 1953. The objective of this treaty was to contribute for steel and coal through the common market. "The treaty was seen as producing diplomatic and economic stability in Western Europe after the Second World War" (Surhone, Tennoe, & Henssonow, 2010, p. 60). It was expected that this treaty will bring economic expansion and the employment rate will increase. Also the standard of living will rise. The working conditions were to improve, the access to sources of production will be equally provided and lowest possible prices were to be established. This Treaty brought a free movement of the products without taxes and custom duties. The Treaty included two important protocols. The overall achievements of this Treaty were very positive. The Community dealt with all the crises and ensured a balance production development as well as the distribution of resources. The steel production increased and it became better and cheaper. This Treaty expired in the year 2002. Later it was amended several times by some other treaties including the Merger Treaty, Treaty on Greenland etc.

David Mitrany and the Functionalism

David Mitrany (1988-1974) spent most of his adult life in United States and Britain. He was born in Romania. He had no interest in becoming a theorist of the European integration. According to him nationalism was the root cause of the war. He wanted all the nations to get tied more closely so that the mistake of the happening of World War II should not repeat again. Mitrany was not in favor of agreement with the idea of federation. In simple words he did not want to use federation as a mean of tying all the nations. He also opposed the regional federation creation. According to him this only reproduces the national rivalries and that on a larger scale. He proposed the unique idea of creation of series of separate international functional agencies. He wanted each international functional agency to have authority over a specific area of the human life. His ultimate goal was to take the authority of individual technical tasks, from the government. He promoted the idea that one day states will become less capable of their independent action if they will continue to surrender the areas of control. He was sure that a day will come when the national governments will discover that they were simple enmeshed in the "spreading web of international activities and agencies" (Mitrany, 1966, p. 35).

He gave the example of several systems of communication and how to organize the railways. He also spread the idea of adopting less nationalistic outlook and attitudes among the general public.

Spinelli and Federalism

"The wave of hope for a better world and a changed future for the human race which had swept across Europe" (Milward, 1984, p. 55). These words better explain about the Spinelli and Federalism. To devise a guarantying peace after World War II, various Resistance movements were made. In Dec 1984, The European Union of Federalists (EUF) was formed. This was very strong in Italy as there was a leading figure Altiero Spinelli. Federalism proposed superseding nationalism and therefore it appealed to all the Resistance Groups. One important thing to clarify here is that in Italy and France, World War II was an ideological war while in Russia and Britain it was a nationalist war. Also Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi produced Ventotene Manifesto in the year 1941. They called for a "European Federation." Also Ventotene was adopted by the EUF and it began agitating for an international conference. EUF wanted to exploit the disruption that was caused by war to existing political structures. They wanted to break from the order of older nations. Later many federalists turned to a gradualist approach and it was successfully embodied in ECSC. The intergovernmental organization had emerged from the Congress and some of the national political systems had re-established.

Monnet and Functional - Federalism

Jean Monnet was basically a planner. The plan for ECSC was called as the Schuman Plan and it was drawn within French Economic Planning Commission. This was headed by Monnet. He had to guide the post war reconstruction and also the modernization of French Economy. He used all his experiences and appreciated the economic inadequacy of European state nation. He knew that he had to create a dynamic and a large common market. He also created some super natural institutions. He intended to use coal and steel as the starting points. He had an idea of pooling Franco-German supplies of steel and coal and that would tie the two states in a perfect mutual economic dependency. Monnet's strategy was described as "federal-functionalism" by Mitrany.


"Neofunctionalism sought to explain 'how and why they (states) voluntarily mingle, merge and mix with their neighbors so as to lose the factual attributes of sovereignty while acquiring new techniques for resolving the problem between themselves" (Haas, 1968, p. 610).

The four basic and key parts to the neo-functionalist argument are as,

i. The concept of the 'state' is more complex than realists suggested.

ii. The activities of interest groups and bureaucratic actors are not confined to the domestic political arena.

iii. Non-state actors are important in international politics.

iv. European integration is advanced through 'spillover' pressures.

"Spillover' refers to a situation in which a given action, related to a specific goal, creates a situation in which the original goal can be assured only by taking further actions, which in turn create a further condition and a need for more action, and so forth" (Lindberg, 1963, p. 10).

Basically the neo-functionalists point towards the activities of several multinational corporations and illustrate their arguments that the non-state actors are very important in the international politics.

For neo-functionalists, the European Commission was the…

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