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France and the Construction of Europe, 1944-2007

France and the Construction of Europe, 1944-2007: The Geopolitical Imperative

Michael Sutton
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 366
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  • Book Info
    France and the Construction of Europe, 1944-2007
    Book Description:

    In the second half of the twentieth century France played the greatest role - even greater than Germany's - in shaping what eventually became the European Union. By the early twenty-first century, however, in a hugely transformed Europe, this era had patently come to an end. This comprehensive history shows how France coupled the pursuit of power and the furtherance of European integration over a sixty-year period, from the close of the Second World War to the hesitation caused by the French electorate's referendum rejection of the European Union's constitutional treaty in 2005.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-292-4
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Abbreviations and Acronyms
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction: De Gaulle’s Shadow
    (pp. 1-14)

    As head of France’s recently installed Provisional Government, Charles de Gaulle passed an entire week in Moscow in December 1944. Buffeted by four wartime years of political sparring with Winston Churchill and disdained by Franklin Roosevelt up to the time of the Normandy landings, he had travelled to the Soviet capital to negotiate with Josef Stalin in the confidence that he now enjoyed some real international authority. One hope behind the visit was to win the Soviet leader’s assent to the principle of French control of the left bank of the Rhine in any post-war German settlement. The Rhine had...

  6. Part I. The Post-war Assertion of Leadership in Continental Western Europe

    • Chapter 1 Before the Schuman Plan
      (pp. 17-42)

      When Schuman, the French foreign minister, proposed in May 1950 that the coal and steel production of Germany and France be placed under a common authority in an organisation whose membership would be open to other European countries, the boldness of the initiative lay partly in its tightly focused nature, namely the linking of the assurance of security in Western Europe to economic integration in the sphere of heavy industry. It was not the first call for European economic or political integration on a Franco-German foundation. Other more lofty or ambitious proposals had long preceded it. Nor did the Schuman...

    • Chapter 2 Pooling Coal and Steel
      (pp. 43-63)

      Notwithstanding its name, the Schuman Plan was conceived primarily by Monnet – rather than the foreign minister – between late March and early May 1950. No one else in France was better suited to the task than the head of the Commissariat Général du Plan. Benefiting from an insider’s knowledge of government in Washington and, in particular, enjoying the friendship of a number of key officials in the Truman administration – notably Acheson, the Secretary of State, and John McCloy, the US High Commissioner for Germany – Monnet was able, with considerable flair, to measure how hitherto conflicting American and French interests could best...

    • Chapter 3 German Rearmament and Military Security
      (pp. 64-84)

      When Schuman went to New York in September 1950 for the Three-Power talks and the NATO Council meeting, his determination to refuse in New York anything resembling the reemergence of a German national army was fortified by the presence at his side of the resolutely anti-German defence minister, Jules Moch. A Socialist, Moch had lost during the war a son, garrotted by the Gestapo for belonging – like himself – to the Resistance. Because of French opposition to Acheson’s request that ten German army divisions be formed, the NATO Council meeting ended without any agreement on the contentious question of an eventual...

    • Chapter 4 The Gaullist Vision of the Atlantic Alliance and European Union
      (pp. 85-114)

      The Fourth Republic came effectively to an end on 29 May 1958 – only five months after the EEC’s inception – when René Coty, the President of the Republic, officially called upon de Gaulle to form a government to save the Republic itself. The immediate background was dramatic: near anarchy in Algiers, where the settler community had raised the French Revolution’s cry ofsalut publicto justify the setting up in Paris of a dictatorial government (Gaullist or otherwise); the virtual rebellion in Algeria of the army general staff, siding with the settlers; the rallying of the army’s paratrooper units in Corsica...

  7. Part II. The Common Market and the International Economy

    • Chapter 5 The Benelux Initiative and the Formation of the Common Market
      (pp. 117-140)

      De Gaulle, of course, inherited the ‘common market’, which, unlike the ECSC and the EDC, had not been launched as part of France’s design for mid-twentieth-century Europe. This launching effectively took place in June 1955, when the foreign ministers of the ECSC’s member states met in the Sicilian town of Messina to appoint a successor to Monnet at the head of the High Authority and to consider, after the previous year’s EDC fiasco, new approaches to European integration. Neither France nor West Germany expected that the meeting would be of watershed importance. Adenauer – still foreign minister as well as Chancellor...

    • Chapter 6 Moving from Dirigisme to Qualified Economic Liberalism
      (pp. 141-174)

      The framers of the EEC Treaty, when they carried out their negotiations in 1956–57, did not have an economic ’fortress Europe’ in mind – even if, in the case of agriculture, the CAP turned out in the 1960s to be built on fortress lines. Under the rules of the GATT (specifically its Article XXIV treating of customs unions and free trade areas), it was incumbent upon EEC member states to ensure that the trade barriers facing third countries, after the transitional period, were not ’on the whole’ higher than those previously in effect. And the treaty’s signatories averred, in the...

  8. Part III. Preserving Power and Security after de Gaulle

    • Chapter 7 European Political Integration up to the Cold War’s Close
      (pp. 177-208)

      After the half-century story of France and the common market, a return is now necessary to the 1970s and 1980s, and indeed the end of the 1960s. From the end of de Gaulle’s presidency in 1969 to Europe’s geopolitical upheaval at the close of the 1980s, France played an innovative role in the high politics of European integration. But it was not a straightforward one. The early 1970s, under Pompidou’s presidency, were marked by a return to much of the spirit of the Fouchet proposals. The ambition was European union in the shape of a confederation, without any privileged Franco-German...

    • Chapter 8 Opposition to German Monetary Hegemony
      (pp. 209-236)

      The post-war international monetary system was founded on a dollar-based gold exchange standard. Although its design had been agreed in July 1944 at the Bretton Woods international conference, it started to function normally in Western Europe only at the end of 1958 under the European Monetary Agreement (EMA). Then the currencies of the EC member states and the UK became externally convertible for current-account transactions. Subsequently, in 1961, the same European countries, together with Sweden and Ireland, joined the US, Canada, and a number of Latin American countries in accepting the obligations of Article VIII of the IMF Agreement signed...

    • Chapter 9 Geopolitical Upheaval and the Maastricht Treaty
      (pp. 237-277)

      At the time of the setting up of the Franco-German Defence Council in 1987–88, French concerns about the future of the two countries and their privileged partnership were far from exclusively concerned with security and defence. As had been the case five years earlier, at the time of the Euromissile crisis and Mitterrand’s Bundestag address, much anxiety existed about France’s weakness in the face of German monetary power as exercised in the ERM framework. Tellingly, when the idea of the Defence Council was proposed by Bonn in July 1987, the French reaction had been to make acceptance of it...

    • Chapter 10 Post-Yalta and Post-Maastricht Europe
      (pp. 278-326)

      In keeping with Mitterrand’s successful resolve in 1989–91 to win German agreement to a binding timetable for implementing EMU by the end of the century, successive French governments holding office after the signing in Maastricht of the Treaty on European Union gave ample proof of their firmness of purpose – first under Mitterrand himself and then under Chirac, elected president in 1995 – and the goal of monetary union was eventually achieved in 1999–2002. The move to EMU’s third and final stage in the framework of the Maastricht Treaty benefited from an ongoing powerful in political impetus. To speak of...

  9. Epilogue
    (pp. 327-330)

    A historical narrative extending forward virtually to the present at the time of its writing might be cheekily compared to Musil’s epic novelThe Man without Qualities, inasmuch as both come to an abrupt and unfinished end. Very recent events may well be too fluid or open-ended to assume any secure or assured meaning. This fluidity may be greatly to the advantage of the novel, but for the quite different, prosaic work of contemporary history it cannot but be a source of imperfection.

    Still, in this historical narrative, substance has been lent to the continuities announced at the outset: the...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 331-342)
  11. Index
    (pp. 343-366)