Lee Chit Hang 10453738 88-237-02 Question 1 In 1945, at the end of the World War II, European started to have some certain level of cooperation. Different states in Europe began to set up intergovernmental and supranational organization. Such cooperating acts must come up with reasons. No matter what the reasons are, the European states developed rapidly from the 1950s to the 1970s. The historian Mark Mazower has suggested that Europe experienced a ‘miracle of growth’ between the 1950s and 1970s. The growth had contributed even to now, making the European Union one of the great powers on the Earth.
There were many reasons leading the Western Europe to cooperate more closely after 1945. First, one of the main reasons was pressured by the United States (US). Since Europe was the main battlefield of the World War II, many European states laid ruined. Their industries were destroyed, their economical situation were extremely bad. The communism was spreading in Eastern European states such as Poland and Hungary. The United States practiced the Marshall Plan in 1947 in order to stop its European allies turning communist, restore its markets for American goods, and prevent the great depression in 1930s happened again.
The Plan was to give financial aids to the European states for them to recover. To allocate the American aids, the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation was set up, and this was the first major step of European integration. The Second reason is the Western Europeans fear that the world will be dominated by the superpowers, but no longer themselves. After the end of the Second World War, the capitalist United States and the communist Soviet Union became the two domination powers on the Earth. Both of the powers wanted to expend their ideology to the whole world.
As the Western European states were lead by capitalist, stood on the same side with the United States. They tried to prevent the communism invading their territories. In order to gather enough military forces for their defense, the Western European tried a few military integration projects. Although those projects have finally failed, their forces at last were finally integrated into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The third reason was to incorporate Germany in order to prevent a recurrence of another world war.
After the end of the World War II, the Germany at last was divided into Eastern and western part, which controlled by the Soviet Union and the allies accordingly. The allies prevent the Germany to provoke war again by disarmed it, divided it into zones and have continued occupation by station troops on it. However, in the early 1950s, the Germans were allowed to rearm. It was because the The US military force had to be diverted to the Asia for the Korean War, and the Western Europe did not have enough army to against the Red army.
The Western Europe tried to integrate the German military force by integrated it into the proposed European’s own military cooperation. Although those organization had failed, the German army was finally integrated by joined the NATO, and all the military forces in Western Europe were incorporated in the same organization by 1955. The Western European states not only concern about the military power of Germany, but also its economy, natural resources and political status. In 1952, the Economic Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was established under the Treaty of Paris by France.
The purpose of this integration project was to share coal and steel among the member states. Although the Germany has many natural resources, especially rich in coal and steel, the Germany still joined the ECSC. As the Germany wanted the allies to stop penalising it and end their occupations by participating in the supranational organization. Since Germany could raise its political status by cooperating with the Europe. The Benelux states (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg) and Italy also welcomed the plan.
This 6-member organization began the first step of the Economical integration in Europe. Last but not the least, the European also seek for the economic benefit from incorporate in larger economic unit. As the first step of the Economical integration in Europe, the ECSC project was a great success. This project originally expected to have little help on the recovery of member states but exploited the Germany. However, by 1957, the economic performances among the member states were very good, including the Germany. For such economic onder, the members of the ECSC continue to improve their integration project by set up the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957 under the Treaty of Rome. This further integration made the EEC became the world’s largest trading bloc in the 1960s. The further success of the EEC encouraged other European states to cooperate more closely in order to boost up their economy. The Britain, who refused to join the EEC, followed suit together with 6 other countries, formed the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). These economic integrating acts had resulted in the exponential growth of the Western Europe economy in the 1950s to 1970s.
From the 1950s, the Western Europe surely had benefited a lot from integration economically. The participating countries of the ECSC (EEC after 1957) had strong economic growth since the cooperation started till the mid-1970s. They had an average GDP growth of at least 6. 5% annually, and continue for nearly 2 decades. For West Germany, by 1957 (5 years after the establishment of ECSC), its unemployment sank from 10% to 3%, and only 1. 5% in the 1960s. Their exports grew were even more astonishing, the Italy’s rate grew 14. 5% annually, the Germany increased sixfold in 1950s.
Moreover, the European market size became larger by the integration, the firms profited enormously so as the states. As the government got richer, its responsibilities increased and the European government can adapt the idea of welfare states. The economic growth had eventually brought growth on the living standards of the people, and also growth in government moral standards. Furthermore, a good economic performance can lead to growth of cultural and educational development. The statistics is still astonishing even compared with the modern economic marvel, the rising superpower, China.
China’s average GDP growth is around 8% to 10% now, but the growth on average people’s living standard should be still lack behind the Western Europe from 1950s to 1970s. In the period in Europe, not only the economy had growth tremendously, but also the growth of government responsibilities on its citizens. The Europe can be said to be experienced a ‘miracle of growth’ between the 1950s and 1970s. In conclusion, the Western Europe cooperated more closely after 1945 because of four reasons. First, the cooperation was pressured by the US, because US want to prevent the recurrence of crisis happened after the World War I.
Second, it was cause by the fear of world domination by superpowers but not traditionally, the Europeans. Third, the Europe incorporated with the Germany to prevent it provoking another war. Fourth, they set up trading organizations in order to boost up their economy. In addition, the economical integration in Europe in fact was very successful. The strong economic growth was continued for 2 decades. Even comparing it with fast-growing developing countries at present, the Europe can be still considered as experienced a ‘miracle of growth’ between the 1950s and 1970s.