The concept of Europe has changed dramatically during the twentieth century. It moved from a collection of imperial systems engaged in a balance of power, through internal division and catastrophic wars, to a more integrated Western Europe. The United States played a huge role in this transformation, since they had become the leading power in the world after the Second World War. Two kinds of American influence on European integration can be defined: a political influence to integration, for war and security concerns, in order to cooperate with the increasingly unified Western Europe against USSR. And an economical influence, to gain support through financial aid. Moreover, the United States was indirectly an incentive to increase European economic co-operation, by challenging the economies of western countries. The West-Europeans retracted from their empires, rescued their 'nation-states' and enhanced competition with the US through integration and negotiating. But to what extent did the United States influence European unification?
[...] Then, the beginning of the Cold War in 1947 starts a new era of cooperation and influence of the United States on European Union, under the Truman doctrine. With the Marshall Plan (financial aid to rebuild Europe), the United States incite Europe to reinforce integration by creating the OEEC (Organisation for European Economic Cooperation) to deal with the Marshall aid (1948). Accept the money means also accept to support the United States against USSR (economic counterpart to the Truman doctrine). [...]
[...] A united Europe could slow the decline of the former great powers and maintain the influence of some key European leaders. To conclude, Washington, after the war, intended to seize the initiative, exert its leadership and integrate politically, economically and through shared systems of security with Western Europe. That is why it played a huge role in European integration in the 1950s. But today both continents have an ambivalent relationship, between conflict and cooperation. Is EU today subordinated to the US or seen by them as an equal? [...]
[...] Assess the influence the United States has had on the European integration in the 1950s The concept of Europe has changed dramatically during the twentieth century. It moved from a collection of imperial systems engaged in a balance of power, through internal division and catastrophic wars, to a more integrated Western Europe. The United States played a huge role in this transformation, since they had become the leading power in the world after the Second World War. In 1945, Europe was devastated and the United States were placed at the heart of planning the post-war European order. [...]
[...] CoCom regulated the trade of the NATO members, and to some extent even of the neutral European states. Starting with the Marshall plan, American influences were to change European economies in many ways. The emphasis on growth, productivity, stability and consumption was certainly strengthened, in great part at the expense of traditional class aspects. America was seen as an economic competitor for Europe that challenged its will to integrate further to be competitive. The OEEC was gradually transformed into the OECD. [...]
[...] But this was not to be since the United States was fiercely opposed to anything that meant a reduction in America's sovereignty. Both the United States and Europe agreed that the emphasis was to be on Europe's integration, too strong an insistence on Atlantic integration would harm, possibly even kill these efforts entirely. The United States was obviously opposed to the integration of Europe if this took place under the leadership of a hostile power. Therefore, the American support for European integration was clearly premised o certain conditions being fulfilled, by far a most important of which was that a more united Europe should remain friendly to the United States. [...]
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