Implication of reconstruction, reconciliation and integration of 1945 – 1957 to European countries


Implicationof reconstruction, reconciliation and integration of 1945 – 1957 toEuropean countries

Reconstruction,reconciliation and integration in Europe took place soon after theend of the disastrous Second World War. This came into establishmentas an effort to stabilize Europe after the war. Those involve it itsplanning and implementation include Bretton Woods’s institutions,Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), Marshall Aidand the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The restructuring,reconciliation and integration resulted from the past success andfailures evident in Europe before the war that in regard to resolvingEurope political and economic problems (Dinan,2014).It is notable that this process basically depended on the domesticand international interest of the allies who emerged victorious afterthe Second World War. The leading states include France, GreatBritain and the United States of America. The strategies used by thethree leading states were basically based on the consideration oftheir respective domestic politics and national interests. Althoughthe process majorly aimed to bring peace stability and economicdevelopment not all states involved had commercial interests alone,in the case of French they focused on the pool of steel and coalresources therefore had economic interests with foreign policyconsideration.

Newinstitutions created at the time each of them responding to partialfailures that existed. OEEC and Marshall Aid dealt with the failuresof the International Monetary Fund in regard to post-warreconstruction. EPU was later supplemented OEEC in the efforts ofrestructuring Europe which was facing economic deadlock situationafter the war. ECSC aimed to facilitate restructuring of the Frenchand German reconciliation. IMF, ECSC and OEEC facilitated thesuccessful completion of Western Europe stabilization (IstvánDeák, 2006).Alignment of different states national interest became the centre ofdecision in the established institutions after the war. The Europeanintegration became the first stage of founding European economicintegration (KarlRaimund Popper, 2011).

TheSecond World War notably created division of power between the westand the east this resulted into new struggle for hegemony commonlyreferred to Cold war. During the period of 1945 and 1957 there werehistorical developments and political elites emerging having a quiterevolution of restructuring, reconciling and integrating antinationalidentities which can be viewed as Europeanization. There is notableimplication of the restructuring, reconciliation and integrationprocess to the European countries who were taking part in it. It isduring the post war period that independent sovereign states emergedin Europe. Parliamentary democratic governance was popular and alsonotably the emergence of Social Democracy as a legitimate politicalforces (RichardTilly, 2007).Europe had been transformed into democratic polity and politicalparties with different ideologies emerged.

Post-wardevelopment in Europe

Afterthe end of the war most West European Countries became independentand gained sovereignty and pre-war political regimes took root andwere mainly parliamentary democracy. Christian and social democraticparties emerged to be main political forces formulating plans torebuild their countries. It involved reconstruction of economies,improving the welfare of the state and setting to achieve newinternational order under U.S as the undisputed world super power.These are the major factors that contributed to the need forreconstruction, reconciliation and integration from 1945-1957. Duringthis period NATO was founded as precaution against USSR threats,European Community for Coal and Steel (ECSC) was founded in 1951 tosafeguard French interest in Germany coal and steel resources and1957 launching European Economic Community (EEC) was launched whichmarked an important milestone towards achievement of European unity. This post-war period marked with events, actions, policies andprogress towards achievement of economic recovery, reconciliation andintegration had various implications to various European countriesboth during the period and thereafter. It is notable that post-warintegration attempts aimed to promote economic cooperation amongEuropean countries so as to prevent emergence of Europeaninter-warfare, economic interest among European countries was one ofthe major causes of the just concluded war. In addition Europeancountries were reconstructing their economies to cope with thecurrent situations warrant by the virtue that some lost theircolonies and the Iron Curtain had resulted into closure of EasternEurope (Dinan,2014)

Thereconstruction, reconciliation and integration initiatives andmeasure during this post-war period focused on broadening anddeepening European unity while safeguarding as well as protectingEuropean countries national interests. By the time European EconomicCommunity was launched in 1957 proposal for joining the integrationhad been widely accepted at the national levels of most Europeancountries. The national political elites in most countries in WesternEurope after the war found reconstruction, reconciliation andintegration in their domestic politics as the necessary steps toachieve stability, peaceful coexistence and the future way forwardfor prosperous Europe country states. The notable implications ofrestructuring, reconciliation and integration of Europe duringpost-war 1945-1957 include the following.

Overviewof the implications

Theimplications surrounding reconstruction, reconciliation andintegration of Europe to a greater extent are attributed to theEuropean integration established immediately after the war, solvingthe German question and the rapprochement of France towards Germany.In addition to this is the implication of the steps and actions takenin mid 1950s towards the stabilization of Europe and its developmentin achieving sustainable economic and political stability. Theimplications attributed to this post-war period as stated had itsimpacts felt by the regimes, governments, parliaments, individualcountries foreign policies regarding national interests and theEuropean quest to achieving full integration. The following entailsdiscussions on the identifiable implications of the Europeanreconstruction, reconciliation and integration from 1945-1957.

Solvingthe German problem

Duringthe Second World War Germany was completely defeated and itsterritories were completely occupied by the allies who were thevictors of the war. Restructuring, reconciliation and integration ofEurope aimed to rehabilitate Germany and create a system that willsafeguard peace and economic prosperity of Germany (KonradH. Jarausch, 2009).Key implication underlying this is the introduction and establishmentof liberalism in Germany based on Bretton Wood’s institutions. Theevents during this period of 1945-1957 intensified cold war. This wastriggered by Soviet Union preventing satellite states from benefitingfrom the Marshall plan while United States focused on consolidatingeconomic reconstruction in European countries bringing togetherAmerica and Europe in many aspects. Germany was significantlyaffected by the division of Europe thus West and East Germanyemerging. The German problem surrounded the consolidation ofdemocracy in the west forming the new Federal Republic. Themanagement of both West and East German economic recovery was allaligned to the strategic economic concerns of Western European Statesand the Soviet Union respectively.

Competitionbetween West and East Germany intensified with U.S accelerating westGermany Economic growth in so as to reduce it costs of militaryoccupation and focus of trans-Atlantic economic growth. Creating astrong West Germany implied that western European states were strongand so was the rationale ascribed by the Marshall Plan aiding EastGermany economic recovery. Another implication that emerged duringthis period is the German coal production held under the control ofthe allied states including France, U.S and Great Britain. Frenchnoticed the strategic interest of the U.S in Germany and need toaccess Germany’s coal in Ruhr valley to modernize its industries.France agreement to establish Federal Republic came along with thecondition of accessing Germany’s coking coal. It can be argued thatFrance wanted to take advantage of the reconstruction, reconciliationand integration of post war Europe.

U.Shad to intervene for France to relax its foreign policy towardsGermany to facilitate full economic recovery of the new FederalRepublic (Donaldson,2005).This resulted into France establishing a national organization thatmanaged coal and steel resource in both France and the New FederalRepublic. This came to be as French struggled to satisfy theirreconcilable economic interests with Germany. This implied that theestablished Coal and Steel Community was obligated to protect Frenchfrom accessing Germany coal and steel resources through cooperation.With the participation of U.S in Europe reconstruction,reconciliation and integration process influenced the reversal ofFrench Foreign policy on Germany which is argued by IstvánDeák (2006) thatit could have served as a limiting factor towards full economicrecovery of Germany. The Coal and Steel Community led to theestablishment of common market in coal and steel. It is notable thatthe French Plan had the implication of reconciling European andnational interest. The French Plan was a milestone in achievingreconciliation and set a new representation in Europe and the stateof German and French affairs.

Participationin reconstruction, reconciliation and integration of Europe was opento all interested European countries. With the French Plan takingover the process and the intensifying Cold war most Eastern andCentral Europe countries excluded themselves. It is also notable thatScandinavian countries and United Kingdom were not willing to jointhe Coal and Steel community (Lindseth,2010).With the process of reconstruction, reconciliation and reconstructiontaking root in Europe states under dictatorial leadership such asPortugal and Spain were denounced and excluded in handling Europeanaffairs. European countries such as Belgium, Netherlands and Italywere members of the Coal and Steel Community simply because they hadstrong economic ties with French and saw integration as meansrestoring international legitimacy and countering emergence ofcommunism in their states (RoyH. Ginsberg, 2012).The significant implications of Coal and Steel Community in thecontext of German recovery was more of political than economic. Thisestablishment led to establishment of common market for steel andcoal products and promoting rights of the workers. However, it didnot mark a significant milestone during the reconstruction andreconciliation period in regard to Europe economic development afterthe World War Two (Donaldson,2005).In political point of view the Coal and Steel Community became asymbol of France and Germany reconciliation after the war by sharingnational governance of the resources thus suppressing the possibilityof war because of Franco-German rapprochement.

Evolutionfrom Coal and Steel Community to the European Economic Community

Duringthe reconstruction, reconciliation and integration period, the firstnotable development was the French Plan initiative of Coal and Steelcommunity and scholars have argued that the Plan had spillovereffect. According to KonradH. and Jarausch, (2009) he provide that the neo-functionalist such as manufacturers,suppliers and interest groups across the European Coal and SteelCommunity countries had extensive interactions in the Supranationalinstitutions of the Community notably High Authority. The implicationwas the notable pressure that these stakeholders mounted on the stategovernments to delegate responsibility on their related interestpolicy areas. This highlighted the importance of expanding the scopeof European governance at the time. Spill over effect had theimplication that resulted into establishment of the European EconomicCommunity (“EEC”) which was launched in 1958.

Thecommunity’s goals were to create a common market for Europeanindustrial products and goods and promoting free circulation ofcapital and movement in Europe. Reconstruction, reconciliation andintegration measures adopted in Europe after the war playedsignificant role in solving German problems and economic recovery. By1954 German problem had been solved and Coal and Steel Communitystarted to collapse since that was a key factor justifying itsexistence. The Germans were opposed military initiative fronted byFrance but Franco-German cooperation continued until 1958. Theestablishment of European Economic Community resulted from theperceived importance of European integration which had successfullysolved the German problem which was on the road to full economicrecovery. This can be argued that European integration was relevantand important for the future of European countries this influencedlaunching of European Economic Community whose main focus was topromote international tradeDinan, 2014).

EuropeanEconomic Cooperation (OEEC) efforts of restructuring Europe by 1957had successfully implemented liberalization measures. Also it isnotable that by mid 1950s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade(&quotGATT&quot) was actively functioning in Europe and thisincreased intra-Europe trade and cross-border trade. Therestructuring of European state economies from 1945 to 1957 in Europeopened up Europe in all aspects thus prompting countries to makedecisions on how to handle liberalization. Great Britain preferredcutting of tariff through OEEC and GATT considering that it did notaffect Germany under economic recovery. With liberalization takingover European countries’ markets, France was in favour ofprotectionist with a lot of pressure to adopt openness. Dutch on theother hand opted for full liberalization welcoming fasterimplementation of both GAAT and OEEC measures for full liberalization(Wolfram,2013).

Economiesrestructuring and the European integration by 1958 led to propositionof common market across all the European industrial sectors thuscombining all the customs union phasing abolition of tariffs amongthe member states and establishment of external common tariff to dealwith other countries allied to the East. Germany seeing the successin their economic recovery through its Chancellor deeply rooted forEuropean integration. They continued to adopt the foreign policy ofworking together with European Economic Community member states thusintegrating to the European institutions. In summary, the Coal andSteel Community had the impact of revolutionizing Franco-Germanrelations and the launching of European Economic Community. EECpotentially continued to restructure both political and economicrelations among the European member states.

Emergenceof National political systems and push towards European countriesunity

Duringthis period European countries in the struggle to achieve regionalintegration resulted into emphasis and consideration of theintegration is a political system different from national politicalsystem. There was increased pressure on the governments to deliverthe needs of the people thus led to emergence of democracyarticulation with various political parties expressing varyingideologies within the boundaries of democracy. This had theimplication of establishing a densely integrated political andeconomic scenario witnessed in the current European Union (EU).Reconstruction and integration during post-war period up to 1957formed the basis of intense transnational activity characterized withtransformations in European general economic and political landscape(Stone,2012).National political systems underwent a new level of governance withelaborative and innovative institutional design. The Europeanintegration and cooperation after the war emphasizing on rebuildingGermany provided a positive impact in the context of Europeancountries political and economic affairs involving highest level ofpolitical discussion requiring consensus among different statesbearing in mind that each country has it own national interestpriorities. It can be argued that early European post-war integrations, reconstruction and reconciliation notable betweenFrance and Germany is credited for the impressive governance of EUinstitutions as well as the relationship with the respective nationalgovernments of its members.

Creationof Single common market

Reconstruction,reconciliation and integration in Europe during post-war in 1945-1957had the impact of establishing of single and common market forindustrial goods and products. Following the establishment of Coaland Steel community this marked the beginning of creating singlecommon market as coal and steel products was traded freely within theEuropean member countries. It is notable that European integrationwidened and deepened following the launch of European EconomicCommunity. With the prior reconciliations promoting good relationsbetween states notably France and Germany integration was highlywelcomed in many parts of Europe. This deepened competence in poliesformulated and membership increased significantly. Europeanintegration developments from 1945 to 1957 impacted European stategovernments to embrace single market creation even to countries suchas Britain who from the start had declined to join Coal and SteelCommunity. Britain argued that such integrations suited countriesthat lost in the war this Britain stance was short-lived because ofthe impact that integration was creating in Europe especially theEuropean Economic Community policy of creating a single commonmarket.

Byearly 1960s European Economic Community had become a strong and wellestablished regional integration thanks to post war reconstruction,reconciliation and integration measures and mechanism. Britain andother countries such as Ireland and Denmark applied for membershipafter their exporters were subjected to common European EconomicCommunity external tariff. French was notably a major participant inthe establishment of Coal and Steel Community as well asrestructuring, reconciliation and integration initiatives. Inaddition to being a key player launching the European EconomicCommunity (EEC) France by early 1960s had already completed customsunion and developing a common commercial policy.

Democraticgovernance and fall of dictatorial regimes

Reconstruction,reconciliation and integration initiatives, underlying benefits,achievements, surpassed milestone successes, economic development,increased international trade and economic recovery in its member’sstates became a political concern other non-member states. Theimportance and relevance of joining regional integration blocs becamea subject of consideration in many parts of the world. Countries inEurope such as Portugal, Greece and Spain were governed bydictatorial regimes. It is argued that the difficulties in tradeattributed to common external tariffs imposed by European EconomicCommunity led to pressure from the public in these countries to applyfor membership. Countries in Europe under dictatorial regimes suchlike Portugal, Greece and Spain pressed for democratic governance andemerged from the rule and applied for Membership in European EconomicCommunity.

Dictatorialregimes were experiencing troubled economies and by the virtue ofjoining EEC were welcomed because this European integration assistedthem in rehabilitating their economies. European Economic Communityconsolidated the newly introduced democracies offering assistance tofacilitate economic recovery. It is also argued that reconstructionand integration in European countries triggered Euro-sclerosis thusprompting many European countries who were non-member begin courtingthe community to become members. It also establishes a platform wherethe member countries could throw itself into international politicsand affairs as a group with same interests(Bill Nasson, 2014).The European Economic Community presented their views and proposalsas a group of democratic states articulating promotion of fundamentalrights and protection. Post war economic restructuring andintegrations notable had the impact of creating dynamism, opennessand liberalization in its member states and member state countries ofthe community were able to embed same customs union and commoncommercial policies within short period of time. The community itselfcould conduct global trade and other global matters on behalf of itsmember countries. Key among them is the conclusion and signing of aidagreements and preferential trade agreements with member states’former colonies, African developing countries, pacific(&quotACP&quot)and the Caribbean countries.

Promotionof integrative opportunities and individual state initiative

Accordingto DavidJensen (2013)reflecting at the tremendous success of European restructuring,reconciliation and integration which hade been achieved by 1957notable German recovery not a pressing matter anymore and thelaunching of European Economic Community it became an obligation forEuropean state to explore more opportunities which can be potentiallyrealized by integration as well as having individual stateinitiatives. The implication was a strong perception that Europecould not function well and to stabilize fully after the war withouta regional integration. A lot of questions were raised on whetherEuropean countries could have realized such success without theintegrated institutions.

Restructuring,reconciliation and integration of Europe from 1945-1957 clearlyfacilitated in the identification of political and economicstrategies which could be successfully implemented as a community asopposed to independent states and also set up momentum for maximumutilization of the launched European Economic Community institutionsand policies. According to DavidJensen (2013)post war reconstruction paved way for the onset of the Cold war whichinfluences the establishment of community integration such as Coaland Steel Community. The launch of EEC according to came as a resultof slow pace of reconstruction in mid1950s in the promotion ofinternational trade and global liberalization. The measures,policies, plans, initiatives and the impressive outcome in assistingGermany economy to recover attributed to post war restructuring andintegration influenced the approach that EEC institutions took whilehandling the member countries’ mixed economic records during therecession of 1970s(Fontaine, 2006).EEC member countries were committed to facilitate its adverselyaffected member states to recover from the economic recession.European Economic Community member states during the recession gotincentives from its single common market. The incentive was largelyattributed to EEC member countries having restructured economies thushaving mixed economic records and its well established governinginstitutions able to compete with other global competing integrations(Arvanitopoulos, 2010).European leaders taking over after the reconstruction, reconciliationand integration period from 1945-1957 became powerful actors not onlyin political affairs but also matters concerning their respectivecountries’ economies, foreign policies and relations.

Thisimplication became significant in pushing forward and emergence oofEuropean integration to being a well established functioning regionalintegration bloc during 1960s and onwards. It became a key priorityfor the heads of various EEC member states to promote their nationalinterest from the positive perspective rather than negativeperspective which could cause political tension and destabilizeEurope. This is evident where despite political differences andadoption of different foreign policies, EEC after the collapse ofCommunity defense in 1957 was able to agree on trade customs andcommon commercial policies with each member state country having itsnational interest remain not interfered. European countries leaderscould now clearly dismiss idealism of post war European integrationwhere post war leaders in 1945 experienced difficulty to prioritizetheir countries national interests with the desire to unite Europeancountries. The post war environment was characterized withsuspicions, tensions and mistrust attributed to what was witnessedduring the war. Therefore the introduction of Coal and SteelCommunity was really ideal accommodating both French nationalinterest and the European ideal to for German recovery. This post warintegration failures and successes impacted on how the EuropeanEconomic Community handled national interest and the integrationpolicies ensuring there is no conflict.

Accordingto(Fontaine, 2006)the reconstruction, reconciliation and integration of Europeancountries can be attributed to a greater extent to French initiativesfrom 1945-1957 beginning from the formation of Coal and SteelCommunity, defensive community and finally launching of EuropeanEconomic Community in 1958. The implication of the France initiativesis the perceived economic benefits to France and the foundation of alikelihood of intergovernmental political union such as theunification of West and East Germany 1990s.


BrettonWoods’s institutions, Organization for European EconomicCooperation (OEEC), Marshall Aid and the European Coal and SteelCommunity (ECSC) were equally important in the reconstruction,reconciliation and integration of European countries majorly ensuringGermany recovery. The 1947 economic crisis was the beginning ofspeeding economic reconstruction though it has been argued thatMarshall Aid mainly initiated in Eastern Europe had less significanceto the overall economic reconstruction and integration in post-warEurope. The success of reconstruction, reconciliation and integrationnotably laid on the specific countries national interests andstrategies. France became the centre of initiating and implementingpolicies and strategies of promoting European unity. The outcome ofthe reconstruction, reconciliation and integration of Europeancountries from 1945 to 1957, notable influenced and had implicationsto both political and economic landscape of post-war Europe. Europeancountries notably with the established measures and initiativesachieved speedy economic recovery. It the beginning of thereconstruction, reconciliation and integration period most Europeancountries did not fully ascribe to the integration provisions. Likein the case of Coal and Steel Community countries such as Britain wasreluctant to integrate because it conflicted with its nationalinterests. The discussion on various identified implications ofreconstruction, reconciliation and integration in Europe from1945-1957, the conclusion can be summarized that it was the corefoundation to establishment of a strong European integration bloc,emphasis on democracy and good governance in most European countries,opening up of global international markets, promote internationaltrade and finally promoting globalization and market liberalizationthat the world is currently enjoying.


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