END OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR
EUROPE IS IN RUINS
BEGINNING IN MARCH 1945...
With her industries running in slow motion, her influence on the international stage was diminished. Distrust set in amongst the great world powers. The bloody, violent conflict of 1939-45 soon made way for a new type of warfare, the “Cold War.” As early as 1946, Winston Churchill spoke of an “iron curtain” dividing Europe into two rival zones and creating two Germanys. In 1961, the building of the Berlin Wall made this a physical reality.
Two views regarding the terms of unification clashed and diverged. The federalists were advocating a European government and the bringing together of national sovereignties. The other group preferred a straightforward coalition between States. Inspired by the British, this mode of intergovernmental operation was established in 1949, with the creation in London of the first international parliamentary assembly in history: the Council of Europe. The European Court of Human Rights was also founded. Their permanent seat was set in Strasbourg, the city that symbolized reconciliation between France and Germany.
The federal project began to take shape with Robert Schuman’s declaration on 9 May 1950 that called for placing the coal and steel markets under a “joint high authority,” the European Coal and Steel Community. The signing of the Treaties of Rome would follow in 1957, setting up the European Economic Community between six countries. A Parliamentary Assembly was established in Strasbourg, as well as the European Atomic Energy Community.