Heavy-Industry Integration, 1945–1950
This chapter is organized around three questions: Why did the French call for the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) only five years after the bloodiest war in history? Why did the Germans embrace the French proposal? And why did the British refuse to go along? It argues that these events are best understood as the product of balance of power politics. Specifically, the prevailing distribution of power made west European cooperation possible, and the major players embraced or refused integration based on balance of power calculations. The Soviet Union was an overwhelmingly powerful competitor and the European states feared for their survival. Moreover, although not one of them could stand up to Moscow on its own, they calculated that they had the capability to do so collectively. Their efforts would have come to nothing, however, without the U.S. commitment to defend them from the Soviets while they put their coalition into place. They did not believe they could count on U.S. protection forever, hence the imperative of joining forces and establishing an independent power complex.
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