Question 5
Quick revise

Why was it possible to form the European Economic Community but not a European Defence Community?

Paragraph One

  • Time not right in early 50s to pool sovereignty in Western Europe
  • No West German state before this time
  • Bitter memories of war
  • Late 50s reassertion of national consciousness e.g. France under De Gaulle
  • 1950 French initiatives:
    • Schuman Plan led to European Coal and Steel Community and later to EEC
    • Pleven Plan for European Defence Community (failed) – defence closer to national sovereignty

Paragraph Two

  • These French plans were attempts to offset the dangers of German recovery:
    • Economic: ECSC to secure supplies of German coking coal and to keep international control over the Ruhr
    • Military: EDC an alternative to US plan to create West German armed forces by setting up a European force with German units in it and a multinational command
  • EDC treaty signed 1952 but defeated 1954 by French Parliament

Paragraph Three

  • Reasons for rejection of treaty:
    • French premier Mendes-France lukewarm
    • Stalin died 1953 – reduced tension
    • Great Britain reluctant to participate
  • October 1954 Paris accords provided for a West German army to be balanced by Great Britain’s commitment to station an army on the continent indefinitely
  • This settlement of defence matters made further integration easier

Paragraph Four

  • ECSC ‘six’ accepted principle of EEC at Messina (June 1955) 4 reasons for success of this:
    • The project was presented as a broadening of ECSC not leading on to political unity and thus infringing on national sovereignty
    • The Hungarian Revolt (1956) revived the Cold War
    • Great Britain’s absence less serious than for EDC – negotiations simpler too
    • Struck successful balance between French interests and German need for bigger export markets – French got:
  • European help for French civil nuclear programme (Euratom)
  • European aid for French colonies
  • Special transitional arrangements to protect French industry


  • EDC a more ambitious project than EEC – latter built on success of ECSC
  • Vital factor – France’s attitude; they had satisfactory assurances over EEC but not EDC
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